Blog: Sourcing

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By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation US Government Wildlife A few months ago, a National Vice President of the United Farm Workers Union came to Bon Appétit’s office to discuss a potential collaboration between our organizations. In our conversation, we noted challenges we both face over the question: How can we institutionalize justice for farm workers? Vice President Erik Nicholson commented, only half jokingly, “Sometimes I wish farmworkers were salmon because then people might care enough to protect them.” His comment is worrisome because he may actually be right… Click here to read the rest of my article, 'Swimming Upstream for Farm Workers' Rights' on Triple Pundit.  

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In February I visited George Jones Farm in Ohio, which works closely with Bon Appétit Management Company at Oberlin College. The farm, constantly looking for new innovations, is doing a lot of cool stuff—including using brew waste (from beer) for compost, and using compost for hot showers! In this video, one of the George Jones farmers describes their exciting compost projects. ~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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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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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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Check out Bon Appétit Management Company’s series on the business of sustainable agriculture on TriplePundit.com, an innovative new-media company for the sustainable business community. In our most recent post, “Seriously. Where Does Our Food Come From?” East Coast Fellow Carolina Fojo explores the complexity of the food chain and the challenges we face today in trying to source food responsibly. Read the whole post here.