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Every year, as our holiday thank-you to our clients, the Bon Appétit Management Company makes a donation on their behalf to a food-related nonprofit. Last year, it was Wholesome Wave, which helps bring healthful, locally grown fruits and vegetables to low-income families. This year’s partner is the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, which assists recent military veterans in using their many relevant skills to become a new generation of young farmers. We chose the Farmer-Veteran Coalition because it is working to fill two very urgent needs. At the end of this month, all American troops will have been withdrawn from Iraq. They and other U.S. military veterans are returning home to an already tough job market, and as NPR recently reported, they often have a tougher time finding employment than civilians. And although you won’t see ads on Craigslist for farmers, America has […]

Most people — regardless of how you feel personally about transgenic, or genetically engineered (GE), foods — would agree that we all have a right to make informed choices. Polls show that the majority of Americans (some surveys say up to 90%) believe foods containing GE ingredients should be labeled as such, and Bon Appétit agrees.

Recently at Seattle University, Bon Appétit Management Company and Slow Food Seattle cosponsored a free showing of the new documentary Vanishing of the Bees, which was directed by George Langworthy and Maryam Heinen and narrated by actress Ellen Page. An astonishing 350 people attended the showing and the panel discussion with local beekeepers that followed.

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Peter Coclanis argued in the Wall Street Journal that “American food is much safer than you think.” He is right in that that system only (italics mine) kills eight people a day on average, and that they are the weak members of our herd: babies, the elderly, the sick. He seems to think some human suffering is an acceptable price of doing business. Too bad it’s one that the food industry doesn’t actually pay.

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The conditions that farmworkers face in the everyday course of trying to do their jobs are grueling, often dangerous, and sometimes even abusive. It’s the age-old “if a tree falls in the forest” riddle: if these problems are invisible to most Americans, do they really exist? The answer is yes, of course they do. And I am proud to have worked on a 65-page report about farmworker employment issues that documents them.

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We recently gave a small donation to help the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) send 30 farmers and farm advocates to Capitol Hill. The group was being gathered to defend sustainable agriculture programs from drastic cuts as Congress worked toward a budget deal. Farmers met with multiple congressional leaders and leaders of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the press.

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The Harned Family, Three Sisters Farm By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Since I attended the 2010 Eco Farm Conference session, “Is Small the Only Beautiful?” I have reflected on this question. My headed turned from side to side during the closing plenary as Eliot Coleman and Gary Hirschberg spoke, two East Coasters with contrary farming philosophies. Coleman is an organic farmer, author, and proponent of small-scale farming while Hirschberg is the Stonyfield Farm CEO and proponent of offering large-scale support for organic production. A couple of weeks ago, I drove through California’s Central Valley, a 450 mile region home to California’s most productive agriculture. The area is dominated by large-scale agriculture. It is not uncommon for a single farm to be several thousand acres. Collectively grossing $27 billion in revenues last year, the Central Valley provides roughly […]

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(This vlog was inspired by a conversation I had with my cousin last week.) Part of our job as Fellows this year is going to be speaking with students at universities and trying to raise awareness about issues of food sustainability. I’m excited about this aspect of our job because I’ve always been a big believer in raising awareness. But I have to admit that I often find myself asking whether raising awareness is really the best way to make social change happen. The fact is, in today’s world we’re all very busy… So does that mean we’re too busy to spend time trying to change our world? Or are activists correct in believing that if you can just get the information out to people, they’ll care, and they’ll do something about it?