The Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center has released its annual class of New York City’s 40 individuals under 40 years old who are working to transform the food system. The Center’s honorees include policymakers, educators, community advocates, farmers and innovators who are making significant strides to create healthier, more sustainable food environments and to use food to promote community and economic development.
The 40 under 40 roster reflects the Center’s broad perspective around food policy, specifically that food policies are not simply regulations imposed by governmental bodies; we believe that food policy impacts millions of New Yorkers every day, at home and at work, as well as our surrounding environmental, community and economic ecosystems. An event to honor these individuals will take place on June 6th, 2019.
Age: 36 years old
Grew up in: Westchester County / New York City
Job Title/Organization or Company: Executive Director, New York City Hospitality Alliance
Background and Education: Institute of Culinary Education
One word you would use to describe our food system: Wasteful
Food policy hero: Everyone fighting to end hunger.
Your breakfast this morning: Yogurt, berries and granola.
Favorite food: Branzino and vegetables
Last meal on Earth: Steak, creamed spinach and fries would be a solid sendoff meal
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: The diner on my corner. Food is solid and the waiter, Mr. Marco, has become an adopted grandpa to my daughter. Everything you want from your local diner.
Social media must follow: @theNYCalliance – I need to know what my organization is posting.
Grew up in: New York City
Job Title/Organization or Company: Policy Advisor, Mayor’s Office of Food Policy
Background and Education: My love (and concern) for the environment and passion for public health led me to the intersection of those two disciplines (and the intersection of everything) – food policy. I have a BA in Environmental Studies and a BA in Public Health from Brandeis University. I’ve worked to support New Yorkers throughout my career – first at the Department of Consumer Affairs, where I authored the first-ever study quantifying the “pink tax,” From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer. I designed a program to incentivize sustainability best practices on film and TV productions (NYC Film Green) during my time at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and now I’m where I’ve always wanted to be – working to ensure New Yorkers have access to healthy, affordable food throughout the five boroughs, at the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Rallying
Food policy hero: Wendell Berry – his writing inspired me to see food policy work as a spiritual pursuit, and he also practices what he artfully preaches through activism.
Your breakfast this morning: Steel cut oats with maple syrup, a soft-boiled egg, and everything spice
Favorite food: Raw fish in any form (ceviche, sushi, poke – I’ll eat it all)
Last meal on Earth: Really great farm-to-table vegan food, especially from Dirt Candy!
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Shopsin’s at Essex St. Market (now at the new market!). It’s food with ‘tude – and some of the most creative combinations of cuisines you’ll ever see, without pretension.
Social media must follow: @newfoodeconomy is a great resource for food policy news, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t plug @nycfood, which is the Office of Food Policy. I also have a total social media crush on @NYCCOIB, and spend way too much time on all things @bonappetit.
Grew up in: Queens, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Program Manager, Square Roots. We’re an urban farming company based in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, with a mission to bring local, real food to people in cities by empowering next-gen leaders in urban farming. I run the Next-Gen Farmer Training Program, so I get to support young people taking their first steps to participate in commercial agriculture here in NYC and help them launch their careers. Each summer we recruit a new cohort to work with us for 12 months- no experience is necessary, just a demonstrated interest and passion for agriculture. Sign up here to learn more!
Background and Education: I have a master’s in public health concentrating in nutrition and policy from the CUNY School of Public Health, and a bachelor’s in advertising and marketing communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Square Roots I worked in food policy advocacy, research and action at CUNY for several years, and before that got great exposure to local/regional food systems and stakeholders through GrowNYC, Just Food, Five Acre Farms, and Foodlink.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Shifting
Food policy hero: Jan Poppendieck- I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest minds in food policy, and Jan’s scholarship in poverty, hunger, and food assistance laid the foundation for so many others. Her laser focus, attention for detail, humility, and respect for her peers and the people for whom she advocates, all really shaped my outlook.
Your breakfast this morning: Local yogurt and an apple today….cold pizza yesterday (shh!)
Favorite food: Did not expect to have such a hard time answering this question. Probably a sheet pan of roasted maitake mushrooms.
Last meal on Earth: Seared bay scallops + pasta and fresh bread (with garlic, oil, butter, all the good stuff)
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: I was a Greenmarket manager, so my heart belongs to the Fort Greene Greenmarket. I love doing my shopping and grabbing some extras for a picnic in the park- it’s the highest quality regional food, a beautiful setting- what more do you need?
Social media must follow: @oatly – not only is their product tasty, good for you, good for the planet, and accessible- they’re playing a pivotal role in the movement around plant-based food and milk alternatives, and their brand voice is unique and fun. I’m obsessed!
Grew up in: Mott Haven area of the South Bronx
Job Title/Organization or Company: Student Affairs Manager at Hunter College
Background and Education: I have worked in the CUNY system for over 16 years, throughout three different colleges. I began working as the Office Assistance to the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Department at John Jay College where I also obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Psychology and am currently attending a Master’s Program in Forensic Mental Health Counseling. I also worked as part of the implementation team at Guttman Community College as the sole staff member of the Provost Office. Since 2011, I have worked in the Division of Student Affairs at Hunter College, where my primary duties involved assistance in providing educational opportunities and other resources to undocumented students. The other major part of my responsibilities at Hunter is the management of our emergency funding resources that has led to a new food pantry, supermarket food cards, food vouchers for our cafeteria, vouchers for our fresh food boxes, metro cards and overall financial assistance with rent, food, transportation and other living expenses for students in need.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Unjust
Food policy hero: Community Food Advocates
Your breakfast this morning: Coffee, egg whites and whole wheat toast
Favorite food: Salmon
Last meal on Earth: Skirt Steak with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Cascalote Latin Bistro in East Harlem – the food is amazing!
Social media must follow: none
Grew up in: New York City
Job Title/Organization or Company: Senior Staff Attorney, Environmental Justice Program, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI).
Background and Education: I’m an environmental lawyer. I focus on children’s environmental health issues like access to clean water, improved air quality, protection from toxins and overall wellness. I engage in legal and legislative advocacy along community outreach. I am currently working on policy campaigns that would bolster nutrition and wellness education programs in public schools. I also work on lead poisoning prevention and asthma relief. In addition to my work at NYLPI, I serve as an advisory board member to OneNYC, New York City’s long term sustainability plan. I began my legal career as a staff attorney in the Civil Division of the Legal Aid Society of New York. Prior to joining NYLPI, I served as a regional director at the New York State Division of Human Rights. I graduated magna cum laude from The City College of New York (CUNY) and earned my law degree from Duke University School of Law. I am continually inspired by the innovative ways that communities are working to ensure a healthy future for the next generation.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Evolving
Food policy hero: Helen verDuin Palit, co-founder of City Harvest, an inspiring solution to help fight hunger.
Your breakfast this morning: Fresh fruit, homemade cinnamon raisin oatmeal and a roll.
Favorite food: My Mom’s kontomire with plantain, yam and avocados (Traditional Ghanaian dish).
Last meal on Earth: My Mom’s kontomire with plantain, yam and avocados.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My family’s kitchen. We love to cook and enjoy meals. We share laughter and many special memories around food.
Social media must follow: @NYLPI @theWELLcampaign
Background and Education: I graduated from Guilford College in 2008 with a double major in Peace & Conflict Studies and Religious Studies. It was during that time I became passionate about sustainable agriculture. I then went on to apprentice on farms, manage farm education programs, and run farmers’ markets around the country. In 2016 I graduated from the NYU Food Studies Master’s Program, where I focused on Food Systems. I’m currently working as Program Manager at Teens For Food Justice, and am grateful to work with such an dedicated team and youth every day.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Exposed
Food policy hero: Eric Holt-Gimenez
Your breakfast this morning: Yogurt, granola, fruit, and coffee
Favorite food: Falafel pita sandwich or anything Middle Eastern
Favorite last meal on Earth: Kimchi- jjigae
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Our farms during our after-school programming when we have a cooking lesson. It’s amazing to see how excited our students are to cook and the food they make tastes delicious, and is creative and healthy!
Social media must follow: @GretaThunberg
Grew up in: Long Island-born and back to Queens
Job Title/Organization or Company: Urban Designer, New York City Department of City Planning
Background and Education: I was born in Queens and grew up in Long Island by immigrant parents, both from Turkey who instilled the importance of eating together with a healthy and wholesome meal to bring about good conversation. Surrounded by nature, my father influenced my eye for design and my mother gave practicality to my ideas. I majored in Architecture from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), where I found the passion for urban agriculture in my thesis year. Through research I was led to create inclusive architecture with the built and unbuilt fabric of our cities, to create just and equitable design. I gained a Master’s of Science in Architecture & Urban Design from Columbia University (GSAPP), where I had the greatest opportunity to discover how design could lead the conversation of change in our cities. I tend to bring this passion out in everything I do, but most important to me was my ability to push my passion and use my skills to influence the City of New York, as an Urban Designer. I had the honor to co-leading the development of the Urban Agriculture Website and do my best to voice the concerns of the urban agriculture community throughout our cities planning efforts. Throughout my life’s work I hope to continue to advocate for growing and eating local food and making sure that the city and its people continues to see the importance of creating productive green spaces and encourage that buildings throughout NYC are required to design sustainably by making good use of each available space.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Diverse
Food policy hero: There is no one hero in my mind leading the change for food in our cities except the demand from people to be and make that change, my heroes are the leaders, farmers and communities growing fresh and local food in our cities
Your breakfast this morning: Whole Wheat Toast with feta cheese, tomatoes & cucumber salad
Favorite food: Borek (Turkish spinach filo pie), influenced from my Turkish heritage
Last meal on Earth: Roasted Eggplant mash meze with Pita, grilled lamb and arugula/tomato salad
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My work office’s central team table for lunch. My co-workers are all foodies so we enjoy cooking and sharing our ideas on recipes or good places to eat. Food gives us a table to share differences in culture and connect with each other through the taste for good food.
Social media must follow: @100ResCities, @NYCPlanning, @agritecture
Grew up in: Brooklyn, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Executive Chef, God’s Love We Deliver
Background and Education: Born to a single mother in Brooklyn, NY–I did not know what I wanted to do with my life for many years. My mother worked multiple jobs to provide for us, and when she did cook at home, the results were not good. I was in search for more. When I was 22 I went to The French Culinary Institute. I worked for a few catering companies, restaurants, yacht clubs before finding a home at God’s Love We Deliver. I started as a kitchen assistant, and 7 years later had climbed the ladder all the way up to Executive Chef.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Greedy
Food policy hero: God’s Love We Deliver – There is much work being done to push forward the concept of Food is Medicine. There is no doubt that what people eat affects how they feel and act, and directly contributes to their overall health.
Your breakfast this morning: Coffee Black
Favorite food: As I sit here….Dumplings!
Last meal on Earth: As I sit here….Dumplings!
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: I love cooking/entertaining at home. Food brings people together. It’s no wonder why every party I attend, the majority of people always end up congregating in the kitchen.
Social media must follow: @godslovenyc
Grew up in: New York City
Job Title/Organization or Company: Executive Director, Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law, NYU Law
Background and Education: A lifelong New Yorker, I’ve always had a profound appreciation for the cultural vibrancy of urban environments as well as a sense of how precious green spaces are. My current work, which focuses on the growing field of urban environmental policy, is an outgrowth of these interests; I’m eager to find ways that more people can enjoy all the many benefits that urban life can provide without losing their connection or respect for nature.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Unsustainable
Food policy hero: Amber Stott
Your breakfast this morning: Oatmeal
Favorite food: Peaches (but it has to be a really good one!)
Last meal on Earth: Pizza.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: I like leisurely dinners at a friends houses, some of whom are very good cooks!
Social media must follow: I’m a news junky so I’m going to be a bit dry and say The New York Times.
Council Member Donovan Richards
Grew up in: Southeast Queens
Job Title/Organization or Company: New York City Council Member
Background and Education: Degree in Aviation Management from Nyack College/City Council Staffer for 10 years prior to being elected
One word you would use to describe our food system: Inequitable
Food policy hero: Chair of the City Council’s FRESH Task Force to increase zoning and tax exemptions for grocery stores that provide at least 50 percent of their space to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Your breakfast this morning: Boiled egg and bacon
Favorite food: Mac & Cheese
Last meal on Earth: Mac & Cheese
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: USA Diner because there nothing like politics and coffee
Social media must follow: @cityandstateny
Grew up in: South Florida
Job Title/Organization or Company: Director, Volunteer Services, City Harvest
Background and Education: I studied business and religion at the University of Florida. However, I discovered my passion for food justice almost a decade ago and have been at City Harvest fighting the good fight since then!
One word you would use to describe our food system: Fixable
Food policy hero: Michael Hurwitz
Your breakfast this morning: Smoothie! It is my quick, effortless, go-to that tastes like chocolate, peanut butter ice cream but is truly, healthy fuel in disguise of dessert 😉
Favorite food: Avocados
Last meal on Earth: Grilled cheese!
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc.) and why: The late night holiday table, following a feast, surrounded by loved ones. I love the careless ease of the room with the mess of delicious dishes surrounded by a bunch of bellies who are too full with food and laughter to take even one more bite!
Social media must follow: Dan Barber
Grew up in: Newburgh, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Teaching Kitchen Chef at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Background and Education: Graduate from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY. Bachelors in Culinary Arts Management & Associates in Culinary Arts. I spent several years as a culinary educator at several Non- Profit, Farm to School programs in the Hudson Valley, including Cornell U-Green Teen Program and Stony Kill Farm. I also worked as a food stylist for the Food Network, Martha Stewart Living and the Cooking Channel. Prior to these experiences, I was a chef at various establishments including Abigail Kirsch in Tarrytown and the 21 Club in Manhattan.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Evolving
Food policy hero: I am grateful to see such a rise in interest in food policy in recent years. I would have loved for this interest to have been available during my years in grade school when you are the most vulnerable. As a child, you eat what is provided to you, and for many, including myself, standard cafeteria food was your exposure to “American Cuisine.” Unfortunately, exposure to this type of over processed/industrial food is a huge contributor to your poor diet as an adult. As a child not having conversations about how our food grows and where it comes from, forms an immense disconnect. You automatically assume that it all magically appears at your local supermarket/ bodega to your plate.
With this said, my Policy Hero, would have to be Chef, Author, and passionate Food Advocate, Alice Waters, and her Edible Schoolyard Project. Her passion to foster and deepen connections between children, farmers, and their food within the school cafeteria, paved the way for me to look into similar programs around my area where my culinary skills and the bounty of the Hudson Valley could greatly contribute in educating young school children in the benefits of Farm to School.
Your breakfast this morning: Bulgur with Coconut- Hot Porridge
Favorite food: Ramen
Last meal on Earth: My mother’s Enchiladas de Mole Poblano
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc.) and why: As I have gotten older, I find myself spending my Sundays at my parent’s house with my family. We all gather around the dinner table and just laugh! We laugh about our childhood memories and our weekly occurrences. And of course, we are surrounded by my mother’s simple, yet amazing Mexican food.
Social media must follow: Chef José Andrés “We all are Citizens of the World. What’s good for you, must be good for all. If you are lost, share a plate of food with a stranger…you will find who you are.”
Gherell Owens Bey
Grew up in: Rochester, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Non-profit Consultant/Community Connections NYC
Background and Education: 12 years non-profit experience. 6 years hunger relief experience. School Without Walls graduate. Attended Monroe Community College.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Fixable
Food policy hero: Doreen Rutty (Bronx Bethany)
Your breakfast this morning: Grapes, romaine, cucumber salad and avocado
Favorite food: Kamut pasta spaghetti
Last meal on Earth: Pancakes
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Seasoned Vegan, the best vegan food in the city
Social media must follow: Alkaline Vegan Mommy
H. Claire Brown
Grew up in: Raleigh, North Carolina
Job Title/Organization or Company: Senior staff writer, The New Food Economy
Background and Education: I majored in music and food studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, then moved to New York to be an AmeriCorps fellow at GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets and never left. Prior to joining The New Food Economy, I was the associate editor at Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Inconsistent
Food policy hero: Julie Guthman
Your breakfast this morning: Toast with ramp pesto and ricotta. Also a red bean mochi if I’m being honest. Plus coffee
Favorite food: A soft chocolate chip cookie
Last meal on Earth: Peak-season panzanella
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Any farmers’ market
Social media must follow: The Onion’s food content should win a James Beard award.
Grew up in: Brooklyn, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Assistant Director of Operations, NYC Parks GreenThumb
Background and Education: I was born and raised in NYC and currently live with my wife and 2 kids in Kensington, Brooklyn. I have my B.A. from Bard College. My first job out of college was with the Prospect Parks Alliance where I worked for 4 years and sat on the Board of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust before pursuing a Masters in Landscape Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. Putting my Masters on hold I returned to NYC and worked as a Zone Gardener for the New York Restoration Project. In 2015 I joined GreenThumb and during that time I was able to obtain my Advanced Master Gardener Certification from the BBG.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Expensive
Food policy hero: Community Gardeners who are positively impacting our food system and environment every day. But if I have to say one person then Michael Pollan.
Your breakfast this morning: Banana, Yogurt, Heritage Flakes, and Maple Syrup.
Favorite food: Burritos
Last meal on Earth: Burrito and a soda. Pie for dessert
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Batata Pita Bar in my neighborhood. Great falafel sandwich.
Social media must follow: @gardenactivist
Grew up in: Stillwater, MN and Medina, OH
Job Title/Organization or Company: FARMroots Business Planning and Legal Specialist, Greenmarket, GrowNYC
Background and Education: Raised in Midwestern farm communities, wandering the woods and witnessing land destroyed by development. Awarded “Best Legs (Male),” Highland High School Class of 2006. Moved to Manhattan, studied History and Music at NYU, graduated in 2010. Learned to juggle. Spent the following two years gardening in Brooklyn, supporting the food cooperative movement, and envisioning radical service. Enrolled in Vermont Law School to save the planet. Held internships at the Food Law Firm, GrowNYC Greenmarket, and NRDC Food Law Program. Since 2015, I have practiced transactional law, representing Greenmarket farmers in matters of corporate law, real estate, land use, labor, and taxation, with an emphasis on farm conservation and succession planning.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Revolutionary!
Food policy hero: Savi Horne / Stephen Carpenter / Rachel Armstrong
Your breakfast this morning: One apple, two apple cider donuts.
Favorite food: Kale salad.
Last meal on Earth: Haven’t eaten it yet. (Fingers crossed!)
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket- for the sunny stroll down Eastern Parkway, pulling my granny cart of compost; the polite chit-chat as we dump the wretched mess; the rants and raves with some of my favorite farmers; and the thousand-yard stare as I piece together a recipe for tomorrow.
Social media must follow: I am off social media. @Sasquatch
Grew up in: New Haven, CT
Job Title/Organization or Company: Deputy editor, The New Food Economy
Background and Education: I got my BA in English from Cornell—a school with amazing offerings in food policy, agriculture, nutrition, and hospitality, though I was too clueless to take advantage. Later, I got an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and while I should have been finishing my novel manuscript I instead started writing about food. I began my current line of work in 2010 with an investigative series for The Atlantic on 2010’s historic salmonella outbreak, which originated from facilities a few hours from where I lived, and ultimately sickened 50,000 Americans. Today, I’m deputy editor of The New Food Economy, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom covering the economics, politics, and culture of food.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Complex
Food policy hero: Leah Penniman
Your breakfast this morning: 1/4 cup oatmeal with a splash of milk and maple syrup
Favorite food: I love all kinds of flavors and cuisines, but in the end nothing beats a perfectly ripe nectarine in the heat of summer.
Last meal on Earth: I’d have to say a grass-fed burger with cheddar cheese and some kind of spicy pickle relish, served alongside a plate of hand-cut french fries. A slice of cherry pie to finish.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: A day of eating and drinking in Jackson Heights, Queens, is all I need to be happy.
Social media must follow: Tamar Haspel (on Twitter, @tamarhaspel), Washington Post columnist, for insightful threads on nitty-gritty food, environmental, and nutrition issues that aren’t necessarily front-page news—but should be.
Grew up in: Queens, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Director, Grow to Learn, the citywide school gardens initiative of GrowNYC
Background and Education: I grew up in eastern Queens, which always felt like a small town next to a big city. I was first introduced to growing food on my grandfather’s farm on Long Island, where my favorite task was foraging for wild strawberries. I was more formally introduced to agriculture at the Queens County Farm Museum, where I started as an educator and later managed educational programming for schools. I later taught high school English and integrated environmental sustainability into the curriculum before transitioning back to non-traditional learning spaces. As an undergrad, I double majored in Geology and Creative Writing at Hofstra University, and am a published fiction author.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Changing
Food policy hero: Frances (Fannie) Griscom Parsons. She started the first school garden in 1902, surrounded by warehouses, slaughterhouses, tenements, factories, and in direct proximity to Tenth Avenue, aka Death Avenue, but children managed individual plots in the space, plus the common areas. I’m a fan of anything that empowers kids to pave the way for change.
Your breakfast this morning: Chickpeas with veggies on a wrap and coffee.
Favorite food: Pizza
Last meal on Earth: Ditto for pizza, my mom’s spinach pie and carrot cake, a big bowl of gooey macaroni and cheese, fresh berries from the farmers market.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Family kitchens. There’s so much to learn about people from the food that’s important to them. I love being privy to family recipes and traditions and learning to make meaningful meals.
Social media must follow: @grownyc
La Tonya Assanah
Grew up in: Harlem
Job Title/Organization or Company: Greenhouse Manager at Harlem Grown
Background and Education: P.S. 144, S.W.A.P, Martin Luther King Jr. High School
One word you would use to describe our food system: Unbalanced.
Food policy hero: Tony Hillery
Your breakfast this morning: Dry food (Guyanese dish).
Favorite food: My mother’s Chick peas.
Last meal on Earth: Roti
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My favorite food hangout is in Harlem at a good friend of my mines name Bora, he’s from Gambia. I get to eat a lot of different kinds of African dishes, everyday of the week.
Social media must follow: Harlemgrown.org
Grew up in: Hastings on Hudson, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Artist/Founder, Bread on Earth
Background and Education: I studied art history and studio art at NYU before working my way around kitchens and settling into pastry and baking, after years of hobby work. I subsequently moved out of restaurants and into studying bread visually and critically, exploring the ways it’s emblematic of social, political, and environmental movements.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Infected
Food policy hero: June Russell
Your breakfast this morning: From the freezer, a toasted piece of sourdough that I made from einkorn, buckwheat and rye (all from GrowNYC Grains), with chèvre-like goat yogurt and some pickled rhubarb, and black coffee.
Favorite food: Naturally leavened flatbread from a fire, rubbed with a halved clove of garlic and ghee on top.
Last meal on Earth: Anything made on an open flame and eaten beside it.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: A friend’s cabin in upstate NY where the cooking, eating and cleaning reaches near peak symbiosis amongst makers and guests in the summer season; Ops in Ridgewood, committed to quality and clarity; Ni Japanese Deli, a small stall in the original Essex Market, where regional snacks and dishes are made fresh to order and the direct line of process and consumption feels somewhat, momentarily, clearer.
Grew up in: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Job Title/Organization or Company: Executive Director and Founder of Rethink Food NYC
Background and Education: I started as a cook in 2005 working in fine dining restaurants in Chicago, New York City, Lyon France, and Copenhagen Denmark, after realizing a huge disconnect between food excess and insecurity I started Rethink Food
One word you would use to describe our food system: Broken
Food policy hero: Evelyn Kim
Your breakfast this morning: I don’t usually eat till 2pm
Favorite food: Pizza
Last meal on Earth: At Pierre Orsis (where I worked in France)
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: The nomad, I worked there and feels like my second home!
Maya Marie Stansberry
Grew up in: Baltimore, Maryland
Job Title/Organization or Company: Food Education Coordinator and Assistant Farm Manager at KCC Urban Farm
Background and Education: A lot of my foundations in food and farming can be attributed to my mom and grandparents who were not shy about putting me to work in their kitchens and gardens as soon as I could walk. However, my entry into the NYC farm and food world was through a summer job at NYC Parks, and shortly after that I started studying Culinary Arts at Kingsborough Community College. It was around this time that I began to see how my interests in food, farming, science, and history could merge into a career towards empowering communities. After finishing school I apprenticed at UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, and earned my certificate in Ecological Horticulture. Upon returning to the city I helped launch KCC Urban Farm’s food education program, Bring It Home. When I’m not cooking with students I’m on the farm training them in sustainable farming practices and encouraging them to deepen their analysis of the food system. Currently I’m wrapping up my studies at Hunter College as an Eva Kastan Grove Fellow and will be graduating with a B.S. in Community Health Education this spring.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Brutal
Food policy hero: Dr. Monica White
Your breakfast this morning: Coffee, a chocolate croissant, and raspberry coconut-yogurt.
Favorite food: Lemons
Last meal on Earth: Chesapeake Bay Style chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and braised collard greens with iced mint tea, and to finish it off ice cream with a hot brownie sliced from the center of the pan.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Lot2 will forever and always be my favorite place to eat in the city because the food and drinks are always good, the staff and chef are great, and the vibe is ultra homey but not invasive.
Grew up in: Chicago, IL
Job Title/Organization or Company: Assistant Professor of Food Studies, NYU
Background and Education: Before arriving to NYU, I worked as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where I focused on expanding both the Civil Rights and Agriculture collections, highlighting stories that stood at the intersection of these areas. Beyond my museum work, my research looks at the history of agricultural labor in order to think about our present-day food system. My first book, Defiant Braceros, focused on the largest guest worker program in American history. I earned my doctorate in American Studies and an M.A. in Public Humanities at Brown University, an M.A. in Anthropology at UT Austin, and a B.A. in Anthropology and Latinx Studies at UIUC.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Unfair
Food policy hero: Emma Tenayuca organized workers and led a Pecan Shellers’ strike in 1938.
Your breakfast this morning: Toast and Coffee
Favorite food: Tortillas
Last meal on Earth: Enchiladas de Mole
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My tia Rosalba’s small kitchen in Chicago. FYI, if you want to taste her food, she makes menudo and pan for the Santa Maria Addolorata Church’s Food Fundraisers.
Social media must follow: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (@CIW), FightFor15 (@fightfor15), Líderes Campesinas (@LCampesinas), United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates), and Farm Labor Organizing Committee (SupportFLOC) United Food and Com
Grew up in: Delaware Water Gap, PA
Job Title/Organization or Company: Assistant Director of Open Space Greening at GrowNYC
Background and Education: My parents always had a big vegetable garden at our house in Pennsylvania, but the closest I ever got to it was when I kicked a soccer ball into the tomatoes. Now it’s my job to figure out how to build community gardens. We’ve built 51 gardens and urban farms in the last 6 years – some of which are the size of a brownstone and some of which take up an entire city block – and I’ve asked my mom or dad a question while working on every single one. Whether I spend my day picking projects, raising money, or showing someone how to use a saw, I want the spaces we create to be dynamic, equitable, and someplace where my parents would want to grow peppers.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Entrenched.
Food policy hero: Barry Benepe. For whom, one day, at least one New York City street will be named. Honorable mention to Brooklyn Kitchen’s EAT REAL FOOD sign overlooking the BQE.
Your breakfast this morning: Bread Alone apricot and pistachio granola (aka the one with cardamom).
Favorite food: Grandfather’s sourdough pancakes circa 1997.
Last meal on Earth: A spot as a judge at the Ripest Nectarine Contest, a competition I just invented that features entries from across the world + new varieties of nectarines, grown by research universities, that only have names like “PRI855-102 X NJ31” and “Lightbringer.”
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Union Square Greenmarket.
Social media must follow: @teachinggardennyc on Instagram, which is the account of GrowNYC’s educational farm on Governors Island. Lots of happy kids learning about where food comes from and some excellent pictures of bugs.
Grew up in: Fishers Island, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Executive Director, Billion Oyster Project
Background and Education: I grew up farming oysters with my parents on the Fishers Island Oyster farm. After graduating from Vassar college, I began working at the New York Harbor School where I founded the Aquaculture and Oyster Restoration Programs. After 5 years as a public school teacher, I left Harbor school in 2014 to develop Billion Oyster Project where I am now Executive Director.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Broken
Food policy hero: My Mom, Sarah Malinowski
Your breakfast this morning: Two hard boiled eggs
Favorite food: Oysters
Favorite last meal on Earth: See below
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Cooking foraged food over a fire on the beach. For many reasons: sunsets, salt air, ocean views, bird watching, childhood memories and usually beer.
Social media must follow: None
Grew up in: Trinidad, West Indies (Born in Guyana!)
Job Title/Organization or Company: Food Justice Coordinator, Center For Health Equity, DOHMH
Background and Education: I’m a former freelance journalist and recent MFA graduate in Creative Nonfiction. I have been advocating for better food access through organizing for a food coop with Brooklyn Movement Center and Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative. In my position at the Health department, and using a racial equity lens, I’ve learned the ways that various interests have created and maintained so called “food deserts.” I organize from the legacy of Black self-determination and community sovereignty efforts that have historically and presently work to counteract negative health outcomes.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Profit-based
Food policy hero: Dr. Monica White (author of Freedom Farmers!)
Your breakfast this morning: Scrambled pasture-raised eggs, sweet potato and Yukon potato hash (leftovers from the weekend!), and avocado. Homemade café latte with oat milk!
Favorite food: Pasture-raised brown eggs (I can tell the difference!)
Last meal on Earth: My mom’s callaloo, garlic/ginger baked whole chicken, macaroni pie
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Brownsville Community Culinary Center! The food is consistently delicious, affordable, culturally appropriate, and it’s a favorite meeting space for food justice and social justice advocates in Brownsville. Everyone who works there, including the students, loves their community and works diligently to improve it. I’ve forged beautiful partnerships there (shoutout to Brenda Duchene at Isabahlia Farms!) and get inspired, both by the food and the people, every time I go there.
Social media must follow: Instagram: @cbfoodcoop @462Halsey, @brownsvilleccc; Facebook: Detroit Black Community Food Security Network; National Black Food and Justice Alliance; Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation, Inc.
Grew up in: Washington, DC
Job Title/Organization or Company: Deputy Strategist for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
Background and Education: My career and activism began as an intern with The Humane League while majoring in Philosophy at Boston University. There I was promoted three times in three years, ultimately founding The Humane League’s campus outreach program and expanding its growth from 18 to 52 campuses as Senior Campus Outreach Director. I then became the Animal Welfare Liaison for New York City’s Office of the Mayor Bill de Blasio, the only position of its kind nationwide. I am currently Deputy Strategist for Brooklyn Borough President, Eric L. Adams working primarily on plant-based nutrition initiatives in Brooklyn and beyond, such as Bellevue Hospital’s Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program and the citywide expansion of Meatless Mondays from 15 Brooklyn schools to all NYC public schools. I am also an At-Large Director of the SUNY Downstate Committee on Plant-Based Health and Nutrition.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Inefficient
Food policy hero: Dr. Michael Greger
Your breakfast this morning: Oatmeal with blueberries and almonds
Favorite food: Rice, beans, veggies and guacamole
Last meal on Earth: Dinner at Avant Garden topped off with a Van Leeuwen vegan sundae
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Organic Grill, a small family-owned vegetarian-turned-vegan spot in the East Village – and just as they transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, so too is our world becoming more plant-forward. Oh and the owner Vlad is a total sweetheart.
Social media must follow: Good Food Institute (@GoodFoodInst), Plant Powered Metro New York (@PlantPoweredMNY), Food Tech Connect (@FoodTechConnect)
Grew up in: Charlotte, Vermont
Job Title/Organization or Company: Kitchen Manager, BronxWorks
Background and Education: I received my Masters’ degree in Food Studies from New York University in 2015. During my NYU coursework, I worked part time at BronxWorks on community food access and education programming. I am currently the Kitchen Manager of the Community Center Kitchen at BronxWorks. The CMCC kitchens serves 600 meals a day to daycares, after-school programs, teens, a chronic disease prevention program, and a homeless drop in center. Additionally, as the Program Coordinator for a Maternal Infant Health program, I also developed NYCDOHMM approved curricula to provide health education to women of childbearing age. Prior to moving to New York, I managed an award-winning farm to table restaurant in Burlington, VT. With my undergraduate degree in Journalism and Politics from Salve Regina University, I helped launch a local Vermont newspaper, where I served as the lead news reporter. I have also completed extensive post undergraduate nutrition coursework.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Inequitable
Food policy hero: Marion Nestle
Your breakfast this morning: Clementine, egg & cheese on a roll and black coffee from a Bronx food truck
Favorite food: Anything Italian because of my Sicilian Grandmother
Last meal on Earth: Again, anything Italian. Steamed artichokes, pasta with sauce, and eggplant parmesan (no bread crumbs)
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc.) and why: Penny Cluse in Burlington Vermont. It’s an lunch and breakfast all day café, that makes this dish called Bucket-o-Spuds, that’s life changing. It’s a heaping mound of sliced potatoes with all the “nacho” toppings-sour cream, salsa, melted cheese. They also serve this epic Vegetable Ruben, that has sautéed mushrooms, spinach, red onions, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and house made dressing. The staff is completely down to earth and loves food. The space looks like a vintage country cottage. The space was actually one of the first Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream scoop shops.
Social media must follow: Humans of New York and Jonathan Van Ness
Grew up in: South Orange, New Jersey
Job Title/Organization or Company: Outreach Coordinator for The Common Market
Background and Education: I started my work with FoodCorps, serving in a public charter school in Newark, New Jersey. It was through working hands-on with students as they grew, tasted, and took ownership of their food and environment that I began my career working for food system transformation. I then went on to help launch FoodCorps New York, and supported the development of the program across the city. That brought me to my current role at The Common Market, where I lead their growth and expansion into New York City, creating access and building capacity for local food procurement.
I hold a B.S. in Biopsychology from the University of Michigan.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Complex
Food policy hero: Ricardo Salvador
Your breakfast this morning: Sourdough Bread from Shewolf Bakery and some local scrambled eggs
Favorite food: Jersey fresh tomatoes
Favorite last meal on Earth: A big bowl of hummus and ful with warm pita
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My childhood kitchen. It was the heart of my home, and it was the space where we could always count on coming together around a delicious meal.
Social media must follow: Andrea Bemis from Dishing up the Dirt
Santos D. Rivera
Grew up in: Queens
Job Title/Organization or Company: Operations and Logistics Manager, Greenmarket Co.
Background and Education: I grew up in Queens also known as the worlds borough. Being from Queens exposed me to a multitude of ethnicities and cuisines and the many different world views on food. I started with GrowNYC running a youthmarket farm stand in East Harlem called La Marqueta. Seeing the joy and appreciation of people in the community having access to fresh produce made me realize I wanted to be a part of bettering our food system. Working in logistics provides me with daily joy as we safely deliver produce to communities all across NYC.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Deceptive
Food policy hero: Aida Vazquez
Your breakfast this morning: 2 Crispin Apples
Favorite food: My moms steak and onions with yellow rice and pigeon peas
Last meal on Earth: baconeggandcheese all one word
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: Break, It’s not a restaurant but it’s an awesome pool hall. Their Jalapeno poppers are pretty good too.
Social media must follow: greenmarketconyc on instagram
Grew up in: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Job Title/Organization or Company: Director of Nutrition Education, NY Common Pantry
Background and Education: I am a Registered Dietitian and Program Director of the NY Common Pantry’s Live Healthy Program. My SNAP-Ed program’s overall goal is to facilitate changes in individuals, as well as environments, food systems and food policies that will help to make eating healthier easier for all New Yorkers. I lead a team of 14 nutrition and public health professionals to serve the NYC Community and improve access to healthy foods in high need communities.
As a lover of learning, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Food Science from Colorado State University and received my Dietetic Registration from the Texas State University. I completed my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (the science of wellbeing) at the University of Pennsylvania.
As an advocate for a melioristic approach to the field of dietetics, I also teach a nutrition counseling course at Hunter University. My passion is in researching, developing programming and encouraging the next generation to apply the science of psychology, mental wellbeing, and behavioral economics to the field of dietetics.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Melioristic (Melior- def: Through intentional human effort our it can get better)
Food policy hero: Marion Nestle
Your breakfast this morning: Spicy Scrambled Eggs and Beans
Favorite food: Beans
Favorite last meal on Earth: A Green Chili Burrito from Colorado
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: La Morada- Mott Haven, South Bronx – My favorite place to get delicious tacos and wonderful salsa.
Social media must follow: Brene Brown
Grew up in: New York, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Statistician and Surveillance Director, School Health Research, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Background and Education: PhD in Epidemiology (in progress); MA in Statistics and Applied Mathematics; BA in Mathematics and Religion. I have worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for more than eight years, much of this work has been on developing and leading the city’s child obesity and physical fitness surveillance system, the largest most comprehensive system of its kind.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Fragmented
Food policy hero: Michael Pollan
Your breakfast this morning: Eggs over easy
Favorite food: Box of clementines
Last meal on Earth: Tomatoes and mozzarella with balsamic
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My parent’s house. My father is a great chef.
Social media must follow: US Department of the Interior
Grew up in: Chicago, Illinois suburbs
Job Title/Organization or Company: Founder and Director, Allergic to Salad
Background and Education: I officially formed Allergic to Salad in 2013 when I was 6 months pregnant with my oldest. I was already doing the work, developing my own healthy culinary curriculum based on real food, and teaching in after-school programs about 6-7 years by that time and pulled the name from a student that used to tell me she was “allergic to salad” whenever she saw we were working with greens– which was often! I took a leap and brought on my first educator in preparation for the next school year. My son ended up being 5 weeks early and spending a month in the NICU at the same time the school year kicked off. That first year we were in 7 classes at a single site, teaching about 375 students a year. It was hard to see being inside of it, but we were doing something at that time not many were doing: teaching real food cooking to kids– and in a year-long program! This was at the same time of the cupcake craze and a lot of baking/ cupcake decorating classes started popping up. I was getting deeper into policy though and just kept digging in with our curriculum in hopes people would stick around. Word of our program spread and today we run over 150 classes each week in a year-long curriculum, reaching about 10,000 students a year– and we’re still growing– Adding more sites, while constantly tweaking our curriculum.
Before that, I received a Masters in History of Education (NYU). For a short time after graduation I was working in education non-profits when I eventually turned to food, something that I always had passion in. I hopped around interning, writing about food and policy issues, and doing some program development until I found teaching kids cooking.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Overwhelming
Food policy hero: Diane Hatz
Your breakfast this morning: Soft boiled egg, sourdough bread and coffee
Favorite food: So ironic with my program name but I love a good salad.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My home with family, bonus to add friends. When I was younger it used to be the bar of my favorite local restaurant because I loved talking to the owners and people watching, but now with young kids (3 and 5yrs) it’s easier to be home. Besides, I love to host and cook for other people.
Last meal on Earth: A perfectly cooked fish with crispy skin, blackened green beans with lots of garlic. Mashed potatoes or an alternative grain would go better, but if it’s the last meal I’m going out with crispy herbed fries– with mayonnaise, not ketchup.
Social media must follow: In terms of food world I really like @womenwhofarm otherwise I mostly follow my friends, family– and probably too many crazy houseplant people (I think winter kicked me and I was craving greens)!
Council Member Stephen T. Levin
Grew Up In: Plainfield NJ
Job Title/Organization or Company: New York City Council Member
Background and Education: A native of Plainfield, New Jersey, I moved to Brooklyn to work as a community organizer after graduating from Brown University. I started my career by running a Lead Safe House program and an anti-predatory lending program, both in Bushwick. The Lead Safe House program helped to relocate families of lead-poisoned children out of hazardous apartments. As director of the anti-predatory lending program, I worked directly with homeowners to educate the community about the dangers of subprime mortgages. Working with local elected officials and advocacy groups, I was able to galvanize the community against the unscrupulous lending practices that were decimating the neighborhood with foreclosures. In 2006, I went to work for the New York State Assembly, where my non-profit experience allowed him to advocate effectively for constituents.
One word to describe NYC food system: Diverse
Food Policy Hero: Former Speaker Chris Quinn
Breakfast this morning: Oatmeal
Favorite Food: Tofu
Last Meal on Earth: Miso Soup
Favorite Food Hangout: My kitchen because my wife, Ann Carroll, is a foodie and trained chef and prepares healthy and delicious meals.
Social Media Must Follow: Food Research & Action Center (@fractweets)
Grew up in: NYC – greatest city on Earth! Specifically, Brooklyn NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Senior Program Manager, Nutrition Programs at United Way of NYC
Background and Education: I am a born and raised New Yorker and lifelong food lover/appreciator. I graduated from Stuyvesant HS & Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and worked briefly in the world of catering and private events before deciding to meld my culinary and nutrition interests by becoming a registered dietitian. I recognized how powerful and healing good food could be after experiencing a profound improvement in my own health with dietary changes after illness and had the goal of helping others improve their health through food as a career. After completing a post-bacc in nutrition at Brooklyn College, I was about to travel and learn about food systems & agriculture via WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) but was accepted into a dietetic internship at Bastyr University – which embodied a holistic focus on whole foods nutrition. My experience there helped solidify not just an interest in how food impacted the human body, but the world around us. After becoming a Registered Dietitian, I worked with the DOHMH, as well as Gracie Square Hospital before finding my way to UWNYC.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Recuperating
Food policy hero: Is it too cliché to say Marion Nestle? Also Mark Bittman, Tom Douglas, Dan Barber, Alice Waters
Your breakfast this morning: Pancakes with (real) maple syrup, blackberries, and Kerrygold butter
Favorite food: Tacos & Noodles; My mother’s beef noodles, Hong Kong style soup noodles, Vietnamese pho, most pasta…
Last meal on Earth: Ahi Poké on the beach with a beer & Hawaiian Sun drink in hand
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My aunt’s living room – I don’t get to see my relatives on the other side of the world often but when I do, they always shop and cook for me with such love, care, and thoughtfulness. I get to eat the food my mother grew up eating but didn’t often prepare for us because she was always working the night shift to support our family.
Social media must follow: @thefeedfeed
Grew up in: Hempstead/Uniondale, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Excelsior Fellow, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
Background and Education: My work in agriculture and food began when I was 14 in Uniondale High School’s 4H and FFA programs. After graduating high school, I pursued my BS in Agricultural and Extension Education at Penn State University. After working in DC for two years, I moved back to NY and attended Hunter College for my MS in Urban Policy and Leadership. I have remained an advocate for equitable and fair food policy throughout my career which has taken me to Washington, DC, New York City, Albany, NY, and now Brooklyn. I joined the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets after working for numerous non-profit organizations including Rural Coalition and the Center for Social Inclusion. The best part about working for the State is being in position to strategically dismantle systems of oppression in our food system and to serve my home state.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Inadequate
Food policy hero: Qiana Mickie, Executive Director of Just Food
Your breakfast this morning: Omelette with onions, peppers, and mushrooms and sweet potato home fries
Favorite food: I honestly can’t choose!
Last meal on Earth: Either one of my Grandmother’s Sunday dinners with macaroni and cheese, collard greens, yams, potato salad, and fried fish.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: My kitchen because cooking is therapeutic for me. I love trying new recipes and sharing with my family and friends.
Social media must follow: Not really big on social media, but I have to say @justfoodnyc and @kellystgreen
Grew up in: Far Rockaway, NY
Job Title/Organization or Company: Director of Operations, Rockaway Youth Task Force
Background and Education: I am a Guyana native but grew up in Far Rockaway, NY. I originally joined the Rockaway Youth Task Force as a Youth Organizer, with a wide range of experiences and skills gained currently serve as the Director of Operations. An appointed member of the Queens Community Board 14 and acquiring my Bachelors in Economics at the City College of New York.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Inequitable
Food policy hero: Huey P. Newton
Your breakfast this morning: Homemade berry protein shake
Favorite food: Japanese dishes
Last meal on Earth: Pepperpot (Guyanese Tradition dish)
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: The Rockaway Youth Task Force Urban Farm. It’s an oasis of fresh fruits and vegetables and a communal hub.
Social media must follow: Instagram: GrowNYC, thisisinsiderfood
Grew up in: South Bronx, New York
Job Title/Organization or Company: Founder, Brick House Pantry and The Fresh Start Initiative
Background and Education: Studied Gourmet Cooking/Catering and Nutrition
One word you would use to describe our food system: Disconnected
Food policy hero: Dr. Vandana Shiva
Grew up in: Rosedale, Queens
Job Title/Organization or Company: Director of Development and Communications at Harlem Grown
Background and Education: I always start with Prep for Prep, at 12 years old I was accepted into the program and my life changed dramatically. After four years attending boarding school in New Hampshire, I traded snow in for blue skies and studied Economics at Duke University. I spent the first five years of my career in media & advertising, and then made the heartstrong decision to devote my skills to bringing resources to organizations doing incredible work, namely focusing on food justice and youth development for children who are too often overlooked in NYC. I lucked upon the amazing team at Harlem Grown, and the rest is history.
One word you would use to describe our food system: Divided
Food policy hero: They’re not policymakers, but both Chef BJ Dennis and Alicia Kennedy are advancing important stories of marginalized people through food and writing. I see policy and personal stories as inextricably linked and their work to make sure credit is given and history is preserved is necessary.
Your breakfast this morning: Cocojune dairy-free yogurt, mango and granola with green tea (yesterday it was pizza my nephew left at my apartment, so…balance)
Favorite food: Everything, but especially anything that’s packed with spice and flavor from Jamaican oxtails to Sichuan mapo tofu.
Last meal on Earth: Pernil and arroz con gandules, the smell alone reminds me of home.
Favorite food hangout (restaurant, bodega, coffee place, friend’s house, etc) and why: All local to Harlem and owned by people of color — Teranga for amazing Senegalese and vegan-friendly food, The Edge for being the neighborhood joint everyone wish they lived by, and Harlem Wine Gallery for their amazing selection and on-point recommendations.
Social media must follow: @korshawilson on Twitter. She always surfaces (& writes!) great articles around food and race.