USDA & Food Truth — Craig Morris, Ag Marketing Service

Consumers may wonder if what is said about their food and how it is produced, is truthful. The Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA has oversight and certification programs that verify specific claims, such as “antibiotic free”, cage free or country of origin. AMS Deputy Administrtor Dr. Craig Morris explains “checkoff” programs fund farmer/rancher promotion to consumers. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is still in effect for all commodities, except for beef and pork. Future areas of attention may relate to false claims on menus or farmers market about farm sources.

A Healthier (FNV) America — Drew Nannis, Partnership for a Healthier America

Solving the childhood obesity crisis is being tackled by a public/private partnership that finally brings true marketing power to the effort. From the honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama to celebrities like MVP Steph Curry, important goals have a better chance to deliver than ever before. The Chief Marketing Officer of the Partnership for America, Drew Nannis, explains the FNV campaign (Fruits and Vegetables)and why a rock solid marketing effort will lead to a Healthier America!

Food Progress — Michael Jacobson, CSPI

Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest has not been bashful about criticizing the food industry when change is needed, but he also speaks up when he sees progress. Today he sees results and areas where progress is being made on the big three issues of trans fat, sugar and salt. Successful changes have featured cooperation and engagement of all levels of the food chain, from farmers to manufacturers and brands.

Banning Hot Dogs — Carrie Clyne, Physicians Committee

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine believes that you should not eat hot dogs, or any processed meats. To make that point, Carrie Clyne and her colleagues offered Banana Hot Dogs to visitors at their booth at the Partnership for A Healthier America. Carrie explains why this organization of 150,000 physicians, scientists and concerned citizens feel strongly about that hot dogs are to be avoided.

Food Trends — Kelly Weikel, Technomic

Food Trends are not always what we think they are. No company watches true food trends in Restaurants better than Chicago-based Tecnhomic. Kelly Weikel, their Director of Consumer Insights on what consumers want to eat from food trucks to ‘mash-ups’ and identified sources. This year what we spend in restaurants for the first time passed what we spend to eat at home and of course, Millennials are leading the way. Kelly shared the insights at the Partnership for Healthier America Conference in WDC.

Agrarian Elder — Anne Schwartz, Blue Heron Farm

Where did today’s farm to table movement start moving and where is it moving to next? The Esalen Institute on Big Sur asked these questions of “agrarian elders”, including wise organic pioneers, like Anne Schwartz. Anne has farmed and worked tirelessly to connect evolving systems of farming with consumer expectations. Her story includes success and setbacks, from a tractor burning up in the barn successes to Wendell Berry sparking the movement by sharing his passion with 2,000 farmers interested in a better way of farming.

Consumer (Food) Reports — Urvashi Rangan, Consumer Reports

“Trust” is the biggest issue in Food today and Consumer Reports assures consumers that “Trust Lives Here”. The leader of the Consumer Union’s Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group, Dr. Urvashi Rangan, joins the Farm To Table Talk conversation to share the state of food trust, issues and perspectives that informed consumers care about.

New Farmers — Ruthie King, Grange Adaptive Agriculture School

The desire to farm is not limited to farm kids. In fact a large number of new farmers have started non ag careers after college and grew up in the city without the benefit of family traditions, 4-H or FFA. One of the programs created to help them get started is the Grange School of Adaptive Agriculture. Ruthie King took a break from her Farm School responsibilities to to join our Farm To Table Talk conversation about helping new farmers become successful farmers.

Food Media Today — Russ Parsons, LA Author

Newspapers have suffered as the Internet of Social Media, Blogs and Search engines is our source for information about everything, including food. Russ Parsons, author and former Food Editor for the LA Times has experienced it all and shares how consumers today need to be curious and a little skeptical. He also praises journalism such as the Farm To Fable articles in the Tampa Bay Times by Laura Reiley. (Also on our podcast.)

An Angry Chef Responds to Farm to Fables — Greg Baker, Refinery

The Farm To Fables stories in the Tampa Bay Times exposed dishonesty and misrepresentation in many restaurants about the providence of their food. It has created a stir all over the country and also right in Tampa where Chef/Owner Greg Baker of the well regarded Refinery restaurant sharply criticized the dishonest practices in a Food Republic article and in this Farm To Table Talk podcast.

Read his article on Food Republic