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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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April 8, 2010 Washington D.C.   As I travel along the East Coast, giving presentations about “The Story Behind the Food” that we eat, every audience is different. Some are wide-eyed and silent, asking few questions. Some have seen “Food, Inc.”, or read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and are eager to learn more. And then some groups are all about asking challenging questions. These groups are typically made up of individuals who are very passionate about food issues, and are excited to learn about what Bon Appétit is doing to create change, but are not afraid to challenge us either.   I recently went to such a college—I was invited to speak as part of the Green Lecture Series at Gallaudet University, school for the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington D.C. And I as I gave the presentation I’ve […]

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March 23-24, 2010 Boston, MA   Do you know how many tomatoes a Florida farmworker has to pick in order to fill one 32-lb bucket? Do you know how many buckets Florida farmworkers have to fill in an hour in order to make the FL minimum wage?   These were the questions I asked students at Emmanuel College (Boston, MA) and Lesley University (Cambridge, MA) to answer during a recent visit. As students poured through the doors of the café, pushing past each other and trying to beat the lunch lines, I stood by the entrance shouting “Answer two quick questions and win a free pizza party!” And I was happy to learn that even though I’m almost a full year out of college, some things haven’t changed: students still love pizza, (especially when it’s free :0)   The purpose […]

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Last week (2/22/10) East Coast Fellow Carolina Fojo visited Oberlin College and Case Western University for two very different but very successful events about social issues that relate to the very food we eat. Here’s a rundown of what happened: Oberlin College: The Oberlin crowd at my event was pretty liberal, well-versed on many of these issues, and asked some good, challenging questions. What made this event unique, however, was that after my presentation we set up a sort of “Foodie Fair”, in which several on-campus groups (animal rights, slow food, carbon sequestration research, composting/gardening, etc.) put together signs, and set themselves up around the room next door. Once my presentation was done, the crowd shifted to that room to continue the conversation about how to improve the food we eat.    The “Food Fair” was extremely successful. Here’s one example: […]

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East Coast Fellow Carolina and I visited Montebello Farm, where we met Adrian Albor, a young farmer. He told us about what he learned working as a farmworker after coming to the United States from Michoacán, México. Today, he is the farm manager of 18 acres of diversified organic vegetables. Here is a vlog about Adrian of Montebello Farm.

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East Coast Fellow at Duke University! Two weeks ago was college visit number three, Duke University. On Monday night, I went to the Dusdac meeting (Duke’s Dining Committee) and met with a lively, rambunctious group of students. They asked questions like “Just to play devil’s advocate, WHY should I care about those hens anyway?” Another highlight from the Dusdac meeting was that I got to talking with an Assistant Professor/Nutritionist at Duke (who had attended the meeting), and she liked my presentation so much she asked me to come back and give a lecture in one of her classes! Tuesday night was the Story Behind the Food event. The group was extremely attentive, and there was a nice range of interests—animal rights, reusable containers on campus, an enviro awareness group, on-campus gardens, etc. They asked well-informed, intelligent questions, and Nate […]

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02/12/10   Last week was “Food Week: Eat to Live” at the University of Pennsylvania. The students at Penn truly stepped up to the plate, not only helping to coordinate one event, but 6!! It was truly a spectacular week, full of delicious food and passion for food issues.   Here’s how it all happened: In December I was connected with Professor Mary Summers, who teaches “Politics of Food”. Professor Summers, in turn, connected me with about 20 very determined student activists—most of them didn’t know each other, but all cared about different food issues. A few of them had been throwing around the idea of doing an entire week of Food issues at Penn, but nothing concrete had yet materialized. We did a giant conference call; I told them I’d be there the week of Feb 1—and Food Week […]

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As the East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Management Company, I recently went to Washington University in St. Louis to work on a project related to sustainable food sourcing. While there, I realized it takes a lot of people to make “sustainable food” a reality. So, here’s a little tribute to the Bon Appétit folks at WashU, working to get good food on students’ plates. Enjoy!

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I just started my fellowship with Bon Appétit Management Company after completing a farm apprenticeship at the University of California Santa Cruz. In my first vlog, I talk about what I take away from my time at the farm and what’s exciting to me as the West Coast Fellow. Thank you for watching and I hope you’ll stay tuned throughout the year! -Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow

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The Bon Appétit Management Company Fellows have just started making trips out to visit farms and colleges in Bon Appétits supply chain. Recently, we went to visit New Morning Farm in Pennsylvania and Bon Appétits cafés at American University in D.C. As such, I thought Id give a little video tour of some of the produce that college students like those at AU are eating. So here you go! Bon Appétit produce, from Farm to Fork.