Blog: People

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As the East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Management Company, I spent this past semester traveling to colleges and talking to different people about food sustainability. On the way, I met many of the people who actually imagine and create the food that we eat–our chefs. So here's a little tribute to them. Enjoy! ~Posted by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.

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   What, indeed? Well, Peter Murrey, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis (featured above), didn’t seem to think there was anything more appropriate. He was one among many students who decided to celebrate Earth Day 2010 in a bang-out fashion. In fact, seventeen different WashU organizations banded together for a day-long celebration that had everything from face painting and cotton candy to a film screening of Food, Inc. to a presentation about food sustainability by a recent WashU alum (yours truly!). Bon Appétit was also showcasing how to eat a Low Carbon Diet throughout the day, adding to the festivities. WashU has undergone a lot of transformations in the “green” department since I started out as a freshman there five years ago, and this was the biggest Earth Day celebration I’ve seen yet. I’m looking forward to an […]

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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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   By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Here is my latest piece on our Triple Pundit business of sustainable agriculture series: When Commodities Traders See Tomato Pickers in Action. It’s about the Student Farmworker Alliance and Farmworker Rights Workshop I participated in at Strengthening the Roots: Food and Justice Convergence.

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Mills College Community Botanic Garden By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Spring is coming into bloom and the Bon Appétit Fellow’s college and farm tours are rolling right along! One topic that continues to excite me on my college tour is campus farms and gardens. I echo Midwest Fellow, Dayna Burtness’s passion for them. ‘Tis the season! Farms and gardens are popping up at colleges and universities all over, growing not only vegetables but also soil, ideas, and budding farmers. Campus farms and gardens are a reclamation not only of our country’s farmland but also of our education. Let’s think back to how the U.S. school calendar was traditionally set up: students studied fall, winter, and spring and helped with the harvest during summer’s peak season. Studying mathematics and literature was complemented with learning how to grow food. I […]

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An animal rights activist I know once told me that there is a correlation between how a farm treats its animals and how it treats its workers.  “After all,” he said, “if a farm is exploiting and abusing its workers, then they’re probably not treating their animals with respect either. And the opposite is also true—if they’re taking the time to make sure their animals live good lives, they’re probably looking out for their workers as well.” Well, I don’t know if this rule holds true across the board or not, but it certainly seems to be the case for Bowman & Landes Free Range Turkey Farm in New Carlisle, OH. Recently I drove through two hours of snowy Ohio scenery to meet up with the folks at Bowman & Landes, who gave me the grand tour of their turkey […]

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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.