Looking back, 2014 might have been the year when many of the far-ranging agendas of the food movement began to advance in a very real way. Ironically enough, I realized this right after last fall’s right-leaning midterm elections while attending The New York Times Food for Tomorrow Conference.
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture hosted the Davos-like event for public and private leaders in food and drink to discuss “how to feed a growing population of the world’s poor and how to reverse poor eating habits in the developed world.” Imagine Mario Batali sitting next to the head of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, who just chatted with the guys behind Exo Cricket Flour Protein Bars, who could have easily mingled with food waste experts from the Natural Resources Defense Council over lunch. It was a blatantly elite bunch.
The fact that this event even existed gave me hope though, even if it was so exclusive. As Mark Bittman said when he opened, “There’s a war here… for those of us in the food movement, the fact that there is a war, the fact that we’re finally able to force powerful industry leaders to listen is a really good thing because up until recently, we were largely ignored. We’re not as powerful as we will be, but we are more powerful than we were.” He then listed multiple examples of food movement progress that, in the name of hope, deserve reposting:
- The progress of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Campaign for Fair Food
- The passage of the Berkeley soda tax
- The growing number of state food charters and local food policy councils
- The improvement in school lunches
- The decline of McDonald’s and the erosion of soda sales
- The leadership of food service workers in the movement to raise the minimum wage
- The fact that “big food” has been forced to spend millions to stop labeling laws that the public wants
At Edible, we’re eager to see what this momentum will bring in 2015. In an attempt to illustrate our individual hopes alongside those of others, we reached out to some of our favorite chefs, farmers, winemakers, CEOs and editors to learn what they would like to see the new year precipitate. Overall, our list wants us to cook more, support smaller (than the American norm) farms, implement appropriate technologies, manage our natural resources better, take more pleasure from eating healthfully and make sure that more people have access to healthy, clean, fair and real food.
Read the full list below and check out our slide show where you can save and share your favorite meme over social media. What’s your hope for food and drink in 2015? Let us know by leaving a comment. We might just include one of your responses in our next print issue.
- Danielle Nierenberg: President, Food Tank
In 2015, I hope the world will finally begin to understand that the environment and family farmers are not obstacles to sustainable growth, but preconditions for it. [I also hope for a] world where technology is our slave, not our master and where it’s understood that costly complicated agricultural technologies aren’t always the most appropriate technologies. And a world where farmers, workers, youth, women and eaters all have a seat at the table and no one is left on the outside looking in.
- Sam Sifton: Food Editor, The New York Times and Founding Editor, nytcooking.com
Here’s hoping more people cook at home, more often, and more happily than ever before. Here’s hoping, too, that access to good food is more open to more people, and that collectively we decide never again to use the word “source” as a verb.
- Anthony Fassio: CEO, Natural Gourmet Institute
In 2015, I’d like to see deeper transparency in all facets of the food system. The terms “natural,” “healthy,” “sustainable” and “local” have become mainstream, and their use often requires little accountability. I’d like to see the available information about the food we eat extend to trace each ingredient back to the farm — to the specific animal or plant even, to supply information about growing practices including the use of antibiotics, pesticides and GMOs and to define the claims — is there research that backs your health claim? How far is “local?” What percentage of the menu/product meets these standards?
- Rachel Nuwer: Writer, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn
I hope to see city-wide compost pickup in 2015.
- Richard Olsen-Harbich: Winemaker, Bedell Cellars
In 2015 I’d like to see more vineyards on Long Island embracing sustainable techniques and participating in the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing certification program. The long term viability of local vineyards is dependent both on making world-class wine as well as our ability to steward our land in a way that allows it to stay healthy and productive well into the future.
- Jasmine Nielsen: Executive Director, Just Food
I’m really excited to spread the word about the amazing agricultural efforts taking place right here in New York City and the joys of hyperlocal eating. I may not have outdoor space of my own, but East New York Farms is growing all manners of fruits and vegetables just a half hour subway ride away. Their Striped Toga eggplant make a great beef curry.
- Eileen M. Duffy: Editor, Edible East End and Edible Long Island
That venison jerky will be for sale in every gas station on the LIE.
- Gabrielle Langholtz: Editor, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn
May 2015 be the year everyone remembers to always BYO bottle, filled with tap (And by the way can we rethink veal? I mean, as long as there are dairy farms, bull calves are part of life. Let’s raise em right and eat grassfed baby beef with our heads held high).
- Stephen Munshin: Co-publisher, Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn, Edible Long Island and Edible East End
Thinner crust pizza would be nice.
- Nancy Matsumoto: Writer, Edible Manhattan
My food-system new years resolution is to push for my neighborhood to be included in NYC’s organics collection pilot project.
- Erin Fairbanks: Executive Director, Heritage Radio Network
I have to throw my hands up to the team at Serial for all the work they’ve done introducing new listeners to the podcast medium. I am so excited by the opportunities here for networks like ours and other leaders in the food and drink world. When organizations like the Livestock Conservancy are announcing podcasts, I imagine farmers tuning in on their combines [alongside] commuters on the F train. The podcast revolution allows experts and amateurs alike to get their voice out there, to share information, resources and affect change. Groups of committed people changing the food world — pretty rad.
- Ariel Lauren Wilson: Digital Editor, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn
I hope for increased support for young farmers in 2015. Their prosperity is crucial for restoring and sustaining a rural vitality that’s threatened in many parts of our country. Farming should be a valued and viable career path.
- Council Member Ben Kallos: New York City Council Member for the Upper East Side, El Barrio, Midtown East and Roosevelt Island
In 2015, we will continue to fight food insecurity by expanding universal free lunch and Breakfast After the Bell for all 1.1 million public school students to provide 2.2 million meals a day for our city where every child can grow up healthy without having to worry about food from cradle to career. We will also continue to raise awareness around supplemental nutrition assistance, WIC and free summer meals so no one goes hungry. The fight for a living wage for all workers affects every aspect of our food system, from production to service. Finally, my “Healthy Happy Meals” bill sets nutritional standards on children’s meals with incentives in restaurants, so that parents have the support of rewards for children eating healthy meals. In order to pass the bill, it will need support from New Yorkers interested in food, nutrition and a healthier future for working families.
- Carrington Morris: Writer and Copy Editor, Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn, Edible Long Island and Edible East End
I’d like to see increasing crossover between food, environmental and social justice movements.
- Brian Halweil: Co-publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn, Edible Long Island and Edible East End
There’s no doubt that awe-inspiring technology will further infiltrate every link of our food chain in 2015, and likely at an accelerating pace. What I hope will change is that the creators, investors and users of this foodtech will judge it as much on how it encourages a more sustainable and equitable food system, as for its ability to yield a return on investment.
- Joseph M. Gergela III: Former Executive Director, Long Island Farm Bureau
I hope consumers and especially food and drink lovers help keep farming viable in Suffolk County for the long term.
- Chitra Agrawal: Owner of Brooklyn Delhi, ABCDs of Cooking
It would be great to see more education and exposure given to how foods can be used in a medicinal capacity. Taking from ancient food traditions from around the world, I think there is a lot to be learned and also practiced with regards to healing and overall body maintenance.
- Louisa Hargrave: Founder, Long Island Wine Country
I hope the locavore movement continues to grow to the point that consumers think of wine as an agricultural product that needs as much support as heirloom tomatoes or local radishes.
- Erin McDowell: Test Kitchen Manager, Food52
I’m all about pie and I think 2014 was a great year for it. But in 2015, I want to see more of my new favorite topping: fat lattice (aka “fattice”). Like Gretchen Weeners in Mean Girls, I really want to make fattice happen (it’s easy, gorgeous and totally fetch).
- Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz: Chair, Slow Food East End
My dream for 2015 would be to see chef Ann Cooper and chef Beth Collins back on the East End in a state-of-the-art centralized kitchen using the bounty of our land, seas and school gardens to serve delicious and nutritious school lunches to all children on both forks!
- Anna Polonsky and Amy Morris: Co-founders, The MP Shift
In the new year, we hope restaurant design will evolve away from reclaimed lumber and Edison bulbs. Yes, it’s warm and inviting but there are many ways to design a warm inviting room! New York is meant to be one of the most creative cities on earth, and we’d love to see more of that creative muscle flexed when the thought of vintage wood and industrial lights arises.
- Amy Zavatto: Writer, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn
I’ve been holding my breath on New York State’s hydro-fracking decision, and was really, really excited and relieved to hear that Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to nix the notion for the good people (and plants and animals) of the Empire State last month; what a great way to end the year. My hope for 2015 is more state regulators see the light. Chef Peter Hoffman wrote one of my favorite stories on the topic for Edible Manhattan in 2013 — one that I wish we could stuff it in everyone’s Christmas stockings. More folks need to read clear, well-explained missives like this one in order to understand just how frighteningly treacherous this potential power-sourcing procedure is to our drinking water and our future. Bravo to Governor Cuomo — and let’s hope the rest of the country that hasn’t gotten wise gets onboard. A clean, safe glass of water is definitely worth sayings “Cheers!” to.
- George Weld: Owner and Founding Chef of Egg restaurant
I have a feeling we’re going to see a strong resurgence of interest in grains of all kinds — I think (and hope) their demonization will come to an end this year. Also, yet more vegetables — and I hope more of them at breakfast! And this may be more of a personal hope/obsession: I’d like to see a little more sophisticated engagement with nutrition from farm-to-table types. We’ve taken it as an article of faith that well-raised and thoughtfully prepared food is by default healthy, but I think there’s a lot more to know. I think about how the conversation about soil nutrition has evolved from “compost heals all wounds!” to a much more nuanced and scientific approach to building soil health. We could stand to apply some of that to our cooking, too.
- Steve Wilson: Farmer; Board Member, North Carolina Agricultural Foundation
I hope farmland will be valued as a golden resouce. We need to protect it from development, poor practices and misguided policies. To help rejuvenate rural economies, we also need to create an economic environment that encourages smaller operations.
- Amanda Hesser: Co-founder, Food52
There are a few companies working on a shop-this-recipe integration that would allow you to shop from any recipe online and get the groceries delivered to your door. The idea is irresistible, but the partnerships and logistics are still fairly massive, and we’d love to see one of these companies figure it out because it would truly be transformative.
- Caroline Lange: Digital Promotions Coordinator, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn
In 2015, I’m hoping for more citywide composting initiatives (and more practice making bread and pickles).
- James Christopher Tracy: Winemaker/Partner, Channing Daughters Winery
I hope to see the spawning of more community supported fisheries like Dock to Dish. I hope those same CSFs and CSAs partner with more local beverage producers to create and pair their products together.
- Danielle Gould: Fouder and CEO, Food+Tech Connect
In 2015, Food+Tech Connect will work with the best and brightest entrepreneurs, organizations, investors, marketers, logistics pros and more to ignite a global food entrepreneurship revolution. Through Food+Tech Ed, we will lower the barriers to success for food entrepreneurs to ensure that everyone has access to good food.
- Hannah Kirshner: Founder and Editor, Sweets & Bitters
I would like to see good food become more accessible and less of a privilege.
- Erin Zimmer: Marketing Lead, Good Eggs
Eating local food isn’t exactly a new trend but local “foodhubs,” which better connect people with their local farmers and foodmakers, are a new model we hope to see in more communities in 2015. A foodhub allows for a more customer-driven supply chain where producers can drop off food that’s been pre-ordered by customers and distributors like Good Eggs can deliver it directly to those folks to ensure minimal waste and the freshest food possible.
- Bushwick Food Co-op
The Bushwick Food Coop would like to see more knowledge and adaptation of GMO free ingredients… Through open communication between local makers and the Bushwick Food Coop we have had success in getting people to change their ingredients and go GMO free.
- Jimmy Carbone: Owner, Jimmy’s No. 43
In the new year, I want us to slow down, sit down and appreciate a meal while taking a more rustic approach to cooking.
- Scott Chaskey: Farmer, Quail Hill Farm
Innovations, changes hoped for in 2015, for one who tills the soil to produce food? I hope that more people will look on nature with eyes open to Darshan: a face to face encounter with the sacred on Earth. Planted, tended and harvested with care, food equals nourishment.