We are happy to announce that the application is now open for the Wagner Food Policy Alliance 2013-2014 board. Applications are due by midnight on Friday April 12. For general questions please contact us at email@example.com. To ask questions of the current board, go ahead and contact us at our email addresses below. Descriptions for the open board positions below.
Chair | Alisa Ahmadian
Events Chair | Lauren Bush
Treasurer | Monique Marez
Community Outreach Chair | Noah Isaacs
Communications Chair | Rachel Hannon
First Year Board Member | Chandan Sharma
Apply to the 2013-2014 WFPA board using this link:
This role represents the WFPA and its mission to the Wagner community, and individuals both inside and out of the greater NYU community. This person is the initial point of contact for alumni, current students, and student groups within and outside of Wagner, as well as within the greater NYC Student Food Collaborative – FoodEDU, and grow relationships with other NYC schools and universities. With the help of fellow board members, this individual sets all the agendas for leadership meetings with the WFPA board and oversees the planning and implementation of WFPA events, ensuring a broad connection and cohesive trajectory among many themes. The emphasis of these efforts is to foster face to face connections and ongoing working relationships among WFPA networks. This board member will have the responsibility of sending regular newsletters to the WFPA listserv.
The person serving in this capacity has the primary responsibility of creating strategic communications through online forums and coordinating outreach to WFPA group members, the greater Wagner community, and the graduate food studies program at NYU Steinhardt. Outreach consists of, but is not limited to, sharing in the responsibility of updating the Facebook page, twitter feed and group calendar, as well as organizing WFPA blog and blog writers. Especially related to the WFPA listserv communications, this position will work in close collaboration with the chair focused on developing external relationships. The emphasis of this role is to best utilize WFPA online resources to build the momentum and presence of the group through strategically employing these tools and building more specialized audience and readership bases. Additional responsibilities may include graphic and web design, and any other activities undertaken to promote a cohesive WFPA brand.
The Treasurer oversees and manages the WFPA budget proposal, while working closely with the WSA board. As budgets for the upcoming academic year are proposed in the spring semester before the newly elected WFPA Board assumes full leadership the following fall, this process begins in the spring semester, usually mid-April. The person serving in this capacity is also responsible for managing WFPA event business payments and student reimbursements. The Treasurer also directs WFPA Board and sub-group contingency fund requests throughout the year.
The person in this role serves as the logistical coordinator for all publicly sponsored WFPA events that take place within the NYU and FoodEDU Student Collaborative settings. Responsibilities include securing location, ordering any necessary materials and food, and maintaining coordination of publicity and supporting functions. This role will also work closely with the Community Outreach Chair to establish sustainable and slow food options for events with locally sourced vendors and farms.
Thank you–we are excited to work with the oncoming board to help continue shaping progressive discussions about food policy, justice and security for the next year!
-The Wagner Food Policy Alliance Board
The WFPA had our first public debut last weekend at the Just Food Conference. This year’s theme was “Break New Ground” and the workshop categories focused on Food Justice, CSAs, Education, Urban Agriculture, Farming, Engaging Local Communities, the Restaurant & Food Industry, Communications, Entrepreneurship and School Food. There were also Farmer and Food Policy panels, as well as a keynote address by Byron Hurt, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who made the critically acclaimed Soul Food Junkies.
The WFPA led a workshop on the USDA’s online Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass and Map. Our goal was to help attendees navigate online resources in order to find local food in their communities. At last year’s Just Food Conference Kathleen Merrigan, the US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture (who announced she is is stepping down), gave the keynote address and spoke about the impending launch of the KYF Compass website. So, it is a new tool and we were excited to share its many capabilities through a live demo of the site.
EXAMPLE: Food Hubs in the NY Region from the KYF2 Compass map
The Compass tool, however, does have its limitations – it only represents USDA data and gives a “snapshot” of the most recent datasets (you cannot compare Food Hubs in New York today with Food Hubs in New York five years ago). This is where Part Two of our demo came in. We showed participants other USDA and independent crowd-sourced websites that offer data on where to find local food, access, CSAs, and more. These sites included:
- USDA Food Environment Atlas - This USDA tool will give you hard data in a variety of formats. The site will assemble statistics on the US food environment, including access, prices, assistance programs, and general community characteristics. It is a great source for graduate students!
- www.localharvest.org - Local Harvest has been around since the 90s and is a crowd-sourced website to help you find farmers markets, family farms, CSAs, and other sources of sustainably grown local food. The site has an online store and newsletter.
- www.realtimefarms.com - Founded by former Google employee, RealTimeFarms.com is a crowd-sourced nationwide food guide. Its four main search categories are: Food & Farms; Food Artisans; Farmers Markets; and Eateries. You can search broadly or be as specific as “organic rhubarb” for that pie you want to make.
We ended our session with brief questions and the below handout to take home. There are so many great tools for collecting information and data out there – but our main conclusion from preparing for and leading this workshop was that sometimes it is still best to pick up the phone and talk to your local farmers or food purveyors. These web tools are very helpful to find contact information and farm websites and we hope they continue to work to engage active communities supporting local and regional food systems.
WFPA and NYU Meatless Mondays team up to host Chef Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy, an amazing, vegetable-focused restaurant in the East Village. Amanda will join us to share her unique take on vegetarianism, running a successful restaurant in NYC, and will discuss her new comic cook-style cookbook.
Reception and book signing will follow, with Dirt Candy treats!
When: 11/06/2012 5:00pm-6:30pm
Location: NYU Fales Library, 70 Washington Square So., Third Floor
When someone says the James Beard Foundation people often have a few key adjectives: Yes! Delicious Food, Culinary Wonder, the Oscars of the Food World, Over the top dinner party. All of those would but correct but you should add Sustainable Food System Advocate to your description!
The 3rd Annual JBF Food Conference starts tomorrow at Hearst Tower in NYC. This 2 day program covers the gamet of today’s pressing food issues. The conference theme is: A CRISIS IN CONFIDENCE: CREATING A BETTER, MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD WORLD WE CAN TRUST.
The program brings together thought leaders from all over the country to participate in workshops, and panels to tackle one of the most complicated areas of our food system: TRUST.
Speakers like Sam Kass, Debra Eschmeyer, and Janet Poppendieck will be on deck.
And, the conference will honor 5 JBF Leadership Award Honorees: Wendell Berry, Malik Yakini, Tensie Whelan, Kathleen Merrigan, and Jason Clay. Find their bios here!
Take a look at the AGENDA ! And watch the conference stream live at: http://www.jamesbeard.org/education/conference/live
Hi all! My name is Rachel Hannon and I am writing this post to tell you a little about my summer, particularly the abroad program I did in Ghana called Hunger and Food Security in a Global Perspective.
I learned about this study abroad trip from two of last year’s WFPA board members, Leah Selim and Ryan Brown. I am a Steinhardt Food Studies student and was interested in studying food in the developing world, so this course was a perfect fit. The course is taught by Professors John Gershman and Diana Beck and I highly recommend it to Wagner students and Nutrition/Public Health/Food Studies students interested in food policy.
Immediately after Spring term exams ended, we started a 3-week pre-departure class on campus. We discussed global commodity chains, the Green Revolution, food security and food sovereignty, the crisis of fish, and responses to global food crisis. This was an intensive preparation for issues we would be studying in the field in Ghana.
Once in Ghana our main assignment was to create a field research memo with a small group and develop a basic commodity chain analysis. What was wonderful about this task was that we got to do it in the field – we were talking directly to stakeholders and key players at every step along the value chain. The bulk of our research took place at 3 major markets in Accra, Kumasi, and Tamale, and as we travelled north by bus we had many other opportunities to ask Ghanaians about the commodities we were studying. I was a part of the rice team, and other commodities included tomatoes, shea butter, fish and cassava.
Professors Gershman and Beck, along with the NYU Accra staff, truly made this trip outstanding. Each meeting was engaging and informative and we had the opportunity to ask the “tough” questions at every visit, such as use of GMO seeds, gender roles, fair trade, food access issues, land rights, and labor issues. Some highlight meetings/site visits included: The School Feeding Program, Millenium Village Project, AGRA, Cape Coast fisherman village, Tono Irrigation site, USAID, and a visits to a cocoa farm, shea butter cooperatives, and various farms. We also had an impromptu “Chopped” cook off in the NYU Accra dorms with ingredients from the Kaneshi Market (one of the joys of studying food is eating food).
It was a life-changing trip and I hope to make it back to Ghana and other parts of West Africa again someday. The course allowed me to grapple with my own understandings and opinions about food aid, farming methods, and the broader global food system. We saw firsthand how essential infrastructure is to the value chain, and we witnessed broader social and cultural issues that impact food production. Ultimately, we all felt so lucky to be able to share time with the wonderful, smart, and inspiring people of Ghana.
Stay tuned this year for info sessions for this summer’s trip!
A little on what Lauren was up to this summer and on things she is doing this year surrounding food:
I’ll be honest, fellow students, half of my summer was spent in a classroom, overlooking the lovely Washington Square Park, while trying to absorb what the professor was saying about multiple regression and econometrics. The other half was spent in Bobst with my group discussing our research project. Not really the stuff one would generally brag about, although I did learn more in this summer than I have in all of my collective summers. Despite all this academic drudgery, I still managed to keep up with my food interests through a collaborative project with Pew Charitable Trusts. The result was an article published in early July in the NY Daily News, America is Hungry For Safer Food.
Since December 2011, when Obama signed in to law the Food Safety Modernization Act, budget cuts and an agonizingly slow implementation process have resulted in over 250 hospitalizations from food borne illness. That doesn’t even take into account the hundreds of individuals who were sickened or the vast number of people who never report their illnesses because they don’t realize it is related to food. This article was meant to keep the light on this critical issue. As policy students know, attention of the public is the most finite resource of all. Fingers crossed as a new legislative season begins!
As the school year began and all us food safety advocates were still waiting with bated breath for change, I felt the itch to start a new project. As a part time student, I don’t always have the time to get involved with as many organizations as I would like. So, I have made it my mission to volunteer for as many different food-related organizations across NYC throughout this year as possible. Who needs sleep, right?!? The first event I have signed up for is the 2012 Hunger Project Gala on October 13th. I will be helping on the weeknights leading up to the event and then the whole day of the event. If you are unfamiliar with the Hunger Project, they work tirelessly all over the world to end hunger in a sustainable way, through the empowerment of the individual. If you want to know more, check them out here. Stay tuned for a blog post later this month with pictures of the event!
I wish all of you an excellent fall semester and hope to see you at our Food Day events on October 24th!
Coming to us from the NYU Steinhardt Food Studies Program, Professor Carolyn Dimitri led an engaging discussion on her current work in progress, which delves into the politics of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), an advisory group to the United States Drug Administration (USDA). Carolyn is a leading applied economist in the areas of organics, local food systems and distribution who brings years of experience working for the USDA in its Economic Research Service. This paper is in development with research assistance led by Wagner alum and former WFPA Co-Chair Christina Bronsing,
When published, this specific paper will shed light on NOSB selection, a mystifying and potentially politicized process that pulls together a thirteen-member group representing multiple sectors in the food chain including retailers, farmers, academics, scientists, environmentalists and certifying agents. This committee holds significant responsibility: although in-person meetings take place only twice a year, Carolyn described a substantial workload of “15 to twenty hours of work per week” for each unpaid member in order to keep up with research and new inquiries. The official NOSB charge is to maintain and govern the National List, which identifies ingredients either allowed in or barred from inclusion of organic crops, livestock production and in processed foods carrying an organic label. The intensive review process includes a comprehensive review every five years and an option to amend and remove individual listings. For those interested in diving in, the list can be viewed here.
The organics movement and mass-marketing of “organics” as a desirable, value-added food commodity, has gained enormous public traction, leading to an industry scramble to meet demand. For this reason, understanding NOSB is important, given that “there are people that have a lot of money to gain” (Carolyn) depending on NOSB rulings—the magnitude of the Board’s decision leads to significant media buzz after each NOSB meeting. One goal of the paper is to map out the specific ties of NOSB members past and present to learn about their affiliation with organics as well as their ties to private industry. This timely study displays the competing interests in the organic movements: an interest in maintaining honest and rigorous standards for organic ingredients, while recognizing new players in the organic world such as manufacturers, larger farms and international regulators. The current organics landscape includes vigorously marketed “organics” products in Target and Walmart, manufactured by food giants like Kellogg, with ingredients grown on industrial farms. Carolyn hopes to provide transparency and insight into this vitally important, contentious process.
To learn more about Carolyn’s work, please visit her blog.
National Organics Board site.
PolicyMic piece on the need for NOSB reform
New York Times piece on big organics