Wednesday, September 19th | 6-8:00 PM
The New School Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang Building 65 W. 11th St. (enter at 66 West 12th St.)
Howdy All! My name is Monique and here is a bit about my summer!
This summer I took classes, and worked at the James Beard Foundation . Most widely known for hosting the James Beard Awards, aka the Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future.
You may be asking yourself what does that have to do with public policy? Well, a lot! In addition to the James Beard Awards and providing millions of $$ to professional food students all over the country JBF plays a critical role in educating the chef and foodie community on our food system.
This summer I helped plan the inaugural James Beard Foundation Chef Boot Camp for Policy and Change at the Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. We partnered with the Pew charitable trust to, host sixteen stellar chefs who are looking to help change our food system, one plate and one public opinion at a time. This event focused on giving star chefs the tools they need to use their place in the community to be an advocate for the positive food movement. Chefs were also able to create a farm to table feast, and really understand where their food comes from.
Along with planning the policy boot camp, I worked on the Enlightened Eater series. This program features authors who are focused on health, wellness, and sustainability in the food system. My favorite talk this summer was by Tracie McMillan author of The American Way of Eating. Tracie’s book covers how different groups of American’s feed themselves on a minimum budget. Going undercover as a garlic picker, a Wal-Mart shelf stocker, and a prep cook at Applebee’s, Tracie uncovers some hard truths about our current dietary habits. The Enlightened Eaters series is FREE for students. If you have never been to the Beard House before, this is a doubly great opportunity.
In addition to enjoying fantastic meals at the House, and fundraising in the Hamptons, I’m working on the JBF Food Conference and Leadership Awards. This year’s theme is A Crisis in Confidence: Creating a Safer More Sustainable Food World We Can Trust. The two-day conference brings in thought leaders from all over the country to pose questions and solutions for problems that face our food world every day (Oct.17 and 18, 2012). We also honor outstanding leaders in the food movement. Check out this video from last year’s conference… Is that Dr. Nestle and Sam Kass?!
Outside of class and JBF, I managed to canoe through the Adirondacks, experiment with CSA veggies, see Shakespeare, the NY Phil, and the Met Opera in the park and wow some Central Parkers with my sling shot. Being as this was my first go at it, I must say I love New York in the summertime.
A solid welcome, and welcome back, to you all. I look forward to meeting you at our events at talkin’ Food.
Last night WFPA got “Vegucated” and learned about “American Meat” while enjoying some delicious (and free) Meatless Monday inspired grub at NYU Law School. NYU Law School and WFPA hosted foodsters in the NYU community for a vegan dinner, film screening, and conversation with the film makers, complete with accompanying movie snacks of course! Both film makers were happy to answer crowd questions leading to quite a dynamic discussion and offered actions you can take NOW to support local sustainable agriculture in your neighborhood. Read on for details.
What do a standup comedian and mother of two, a bachelor in his twenties, and, a 1st generation young Hondoran woman have in common? Together they got VEGUCATED. Vegucated is about three meat eating New Yorkers becoming vegan and subsequently educating themselves about the animal processing industry near the New York City area.
Were you aware that Chipotle sources local grass-fed pork for their carnitas in all their Virginia stores? And who is this self-proclaimed lunatic farmer named Joel Salatin? All of this and more is revealed in American Meat, a film about meat processing and the meat business in the United States. Filmmaker Graham Meriwether spent more than a year traveling the country and interviewing American meat producers about the challenges and rewards of their industry. During the audience discussion after our screening, Graham said, “Agriculture [of any kind] is a violent process.” As the “lunatic farmer” believes, it’s up to us to “build forgiveness” into our agro-ecological system. American Meat, explores these concepts.
Get in on the ACTION!
- Make the Meatless Monday Pledge! Go Meatless just one day a week and you can have a huge impact on our food system and the environment. Watch this video.
- Sign the petitions at Food Democracy Now! Petitions range from small farmer rights, revisions to this year’s Farm Bill, and GMO labeling.
- Stay Informed: read up on California Prop 37. Do you think GMO labeling should be required? Comment with your thoughts.
Finally, thanks to all who joined us at the screen and made the Meatless Monday pledge. We look forward to seeing you at the next WFPA event!
We hope the first week of school kicked off well for everyone! It was nice meeting new faces at the New Student Reception & Info Fair and we look forward to connecting more with you this week and semester.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 6PM, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Wash. Sq South
A Vegucational Dinner Date
Come join us as we co-host a “Vegucational Dinner Date” with NYU Meatless Mondays and the NYU Law School. Enjoy dinner and clips from two new documentaries exploring vegetarianism, the climate and industrial agriculture, Vegucatedand American Meat. Both filmmakers will be on hand for Q&A and discussion!
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12th, 12:30-3 PM, Washington Sq Park
WFPA Picnic in the Park
Drop by for some sun, lunch and meet-and-greet as we welcome back returning Wagnerds and meet new students to talk about WFPA, our goals for the year and food! We will be posted on the SOUTH SIDE of the lawn by Bobst. Bring your lunch and come between classes. If you’re lost call Alisa at (408)472-0958.
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 12:30-1:30 PM, location TBD
WFPA Lunch & Learn Series: Steinhardt Professor Carolyn Dimitri
We are launching our Lunch & Learn series with a brownbag featuring Steinhardt Food Studies Professor Carolyn Dimitri, who has a background working long-term for the USDA in international food regulation and farm programs. Come learn about her new research and work. RSVP to come.
SAVE THE DATE: OCTOBER 24 ALL DAY
NYU Food Day
In celebration of International Food Day, student groups from all over NYU are collaborating for a diverse day of events including film screenings, food, policy discussions and chances to learn about topics like urban farming and hunger! Schedule to come. If you’re interested in volunteering with coordination email us at email@example.com
|AROUND NYC: EXTERNAL EVENTS|
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 5 PM, Roberta’s (261 Moore St, Brooklyn)
Tune In, In Person
Heritage Radio Network gives a daily fix of food culture. Their 1st Annual Radio Party is Spet 9th and an annual membership included in the ticket price.And a great place to meet others who love food. Special discount for GFJ readers: $50 off admission using code GoodFood. RSVP here.
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 10, 8 PM
Global Frackdown Conference Call
Learn more about hydrofracking, a dangerous environmental practice, its impact on food systems and what’s going on with fracking in New York State. Sponsored by Food & Water Watch, more info here. Call in code: 619-326-2750 access code 714-2832#.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 11
POLICYLINK WEBINAR: Health for All: How Health Reform Can Work for Every American
With speakers from Policylink, Sojourners and Trust for American’s Health. More info here.
|DIGGING DEEPER: Interesting Reads|
Good Food on a Tight Budget
Environmental Working Group
A guide to help eaters stretch their healthy food dollars. The report it ranks produce items that pack the highest nutrition for the least cost. Read it here.
Prop 37 in California
A shocking visual of food brands divided yes vs no on Prop 37 — many we may think of as health oriented are those opposing GMO labeling. Read it here.
New UN FAO Report on State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture
Curious about overfishing, fish stocks and what’s really going on? Check out this comprehensive 2012 report.
with US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack
This summer I went down to D.C. on a NYU Brademas Fellowship to work at the USDA. Interning at the USDA Office of Congressional Relations, I got an inside look at the Farm Bill as it moved through Senate and subsequently stalled in the House. It was fascinating to witness the political maneuvers that go into the amendment process. For example, when the Farm Bill was on the floor of the Senate, Senator Gillibrand offered an amendment that would increase SNAP funding while cutting crop insurance (this failed 33-66). Then, Senator Johnson of Wisconsin (one of my favorite phrases to hear on C-SPAN), introduced a motion to remove all of SNAP fromthe farm bill entirely, creating a separate nutrition bill (this failed 40-59). Such amendments, which were often diametrically opposite, gave a real sense of the tug of war that goes on between philosophical and political ideologies.
One of the things that makes the Farm Bill so costly and unwieldy is the fact that it includes both crop insurance and SNAP (along with many other titles). However, while this creates a deal with the devil for most politicians, it does so along regional lines. Once they passed the Farm Bill, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell were practically high fiving on the Senate floor, because they actually managed to pass a bill in such a terrible political climate. I believe this was only possible because the contents of the bill creates regional confluences that do not fall strictly along partisan lines. As you may know, the terrible political climate in some ways ended winning out anyways. While a version of the Farm Bill made it out of the House Ag Committee, the House leadership refused to bring it to the floor. Even the worst drought in a long time couldn’t persuade them consider a bill, instead they went on summer recess, frustratingly pushing the buck forward.
Being in Washington was a lesson in how policy moves in inches not leaps and bounds. There is so much frustration with the process there. However, I also experienced moments of inspiration as well. I didn’t know what to expect when I was asked to take part in meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, but I was very impressed. Along with a handful of other USDA interns, I met with Vilsack for an hour in his office for an informal Q+A. The Secretary spoke of the importance of SNAP as a safety net and how strong the return on investment for the SNAP program is. When I asked him about the Bloomberg Big Gulp story and the role of government in influencing consumer behavior, he spoke candidly regarding the difficulties of regulating behavior in food consumption and the getting the buy-in necessary to do so.
Overall, the two months I spent in the capitol were enlightening, frustrating and an excellent experience to have under my belt as I pursue a career in health and food policy.
We hope everyone had a wonderful summer and is looking forward to the upcoming year. The WFPA is in full swing and we are looking forward to connecting with students and peers from all around New York City. Food policy continues to be a hot topic, and we hope to facilitate some great events, speakers, meet and greets, and of course good food throughout the school year. Stay tuned here on the blog, as well as on our listserve and facebook page for updates.
We hope to see you very soon!
MEET THE 2012/2013 WFPA LEADERS:
ALISA AHMADIAN, Chair
Wagner, 2nd year
Public + Nonprofit Management Program, International Specialization
Why you joined the WFPA board: After exploring the ins and outs of some of Wagner’s student organizations as a new first year, I joined WFPA as a first year board member to hone in on an issue area that stood out to me after years of working in the environmental protection sector: food policy. Personally, I think sustainability and food security are innately tied–after working on a two-year waste analysis and reduction study at UCLA, I knew I wanted to get involved in creating a better international food system.
Class you are most looking forward to this year: I am excited to take my first Urban Planning class this fall, Decentralized Development Planning, where I can dig into the logistics of challenging infrastructural problems specific to rural development. As much as all my Policy classes captivated me last year, spatial configuration and design are calling to me!
Dream Job or Current Job: Career-wise, I hope to promote smart strategies for agricultural production in water-scarce or flood-prone areas like the Middle East, Africa or Southeast Asia. Courses at Wagner initiated an unexpected love for stats and data analysis-I see myself using these tools to test out cutting-edge programs, analyze data and then implement new technology that improves sustainability and yields!
Favorite ingredient: All of my cooking is vegetarian, and most of it is ethnic. However, nearly everything I make includes Sriracha to kick it up. I’m also obsessed with coconut in both savory and sweet dishes.
LAUREN THRELKELD BUSH, Events Chair
NYU Wagner, 2nd Year
Why you joined the WFPA board: As a part-time student I don’t always have the chance to fully engage with other students outside of class concerning the myriad of debates around food that are so important to me. Participating on the WFPA board as the Events Chair will enable me to stay knowledgeable of the amazing work my peers are doing, as well as involve others who want to learn and do, but don’t know where to start. I have an extensive background in event planning and hope to create seamless events that will reach a wide audience at both Wagner and within the larger NYU community.
Class you are most looking forward to this year: I am most looking forward to Current Debates in U.S. National Food Politics and Policy this fall. I am thrilled that Professor Rogan Kersh will be returning to lead us through an in-depth discussion on a topic that seems to have (finally!) captured the nation’s attention.
Dream Job or Current Job: After interning in Senator Gillibrand’s office and making my way through so many representative’s offices in Washington, D.C. as a food safety advocate, my dream job after graduating is to work for an elected official. I hope to use these experiences as a foundation for launching my own campaign some day.
Favorite ingredient: Until I was a college student with my own kitchen where I could experiment behind closed doors, I was a menace in the kitchen. To put it mildly, I set microwaves on fire. Since then, cooking has become an outlet after a long, tiring day. I cook almost every night and no recipe is too big or too long to master. My single favorite ingredient to cook with is scallions—or as they are known where I’m from, green onions.
NOAH ISAACS, Community Outreach Chair
Wagner School of Public Affairs
Health Policy and Management
Why you joined the WFPA board: While my focus at Wagner is health policy, my primary interest is where health and food policy intersect. I joined the WFPA Board to expand the footprint of food policy within the student population at NYU. The scope of what’s going on right now in at the local, state, federal and global level regarding food policy is enormous, but a lot is happening in New York and I believe Wagner should be at the vanguard of it all, pushing the conversation forward.
Class you are most looking forward to this year: I’m looking forward to Policy Formation this fall. While my goal at Wagner is to expand my quantitative skill set, academically, I love getting into the analytical side of how policy decisions are made.
Dream Job or Current Job: My dream job is to do strategic planning for large companies around health that incentivizes eating well and living healthily so that we can reduce the healthcare costs in this country while also enhancing the quality of our diets.
Favorite ingredient: When I’m cooking, I throw sautéed shallots into any and everything.
RACHEL HANNON, Communications Chair
Why you joined the WFPA board: Last year I attended some wonderful WFPA events (Whole Foods talk, Jimmy’s 43 meet-ups, film screenings, cooking demos) and was very impressed with the group and the people in it. As a Food Studies student, WFPA is a great bridge between policy and the food system, and I hope that this year the group will continue to connect students to the people and policies that feed us.
Class you are most looking forward to this year: I am really looking forward to Food Policy with Marion Nestle. I spent the summer studying international food policy in Africa and am excited to switch gears and focus on domestic policy and the Farm Bill.
Dream Job or Current Job: Currently I am working for Clark Wolf, a restaurant consultant in NYC/SF Bay Area. It has been an amazing experience to learn about the New York food and beverage scene, food policy and basically all things food & business. It is a perfect fit to help me achieve my dream job of one day opening my own specialty foods store with a social enterprise/educational component to it.
Favorite ingredient: Tahini and avocados. I love them mashed together with some good sea salt and a squeeze of lemon spread on toast, and I often use them is sauces and dressings.
MONIQUE LYNNETTE MAREZ, Treasurer
Hey All Here’s the Skinny on Your’s Truly, WFPA Treasurer 2012-13! Watch out now.
My Name is Monique Lynnette Marez. I am working on a master’s degree in Food Studies at Steinhardt.
Why you joined the WFPA board: I joined the WFPA board because I wanted the opportunity to share with other NYU students just how important our food system is! I hope WFPA will help us all realize that our food system needs some work. Our events will create a network for us to do just that!
Class you are most looking forward to this year: I am most looking forward to my international regulation class. I’m curious why the EU has GMO labeling while the US does not; an interesting comparison for a food nerd like me.
Dream Job or Current Job: Currently I work at the James Beard Foundation, more on that later!
Favorite ingredient: My favorite ingredient of all time: GARLIC…need I say more.
Don’t miss the last Meatless Monday event of the semester!
Featuring a make-your-own burrito bowl line, fresh greens and more thanks to the NYU Student Food Co-op, a brand spanking new student group offering education, catering and sustainable, affordable options to the NYU community. Check them out!
If you haven’t already, you can still make a pledge!
Have you seen the NYU Meatless Mondays site? Whether you’re looking for:
- Vegetarian Recipes (or submit some of your favorites to firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Resources from local NYC Eating Guides to an NYU Sustainable Lunch Map
- Articles, books, blogs, and podcasts to keep you up on the links between climate change, meat, and health
- Apps, and Cookbooks to plan out your sustainable eats
- Q&A Interviews with NYU vegetarian athletes like Pete Horn to Dirt Candy Chef, Amanda Cohen
It’s all online on the website, take a wander around.
The NYU #MeatlessMondays campaign is also tweeting away, follow them @NYUmeatless! Send in your pics of favorite local spots, what you’re cooking up and home and how you’re living out a sustainable life in NYC.