Margaret Riche was GRACE's Public Service Scholar for the 2011-2012 school year. Riche graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hunter College, where she studied public service, creative writing and participated in the interdisciplinary Thomas Hunter Honors program. Vegan since 2008, Margaret believes that a sustainable future begins with compassion, educated choices and community action.
While each immigrant story carries its own unique lessons for modern life, in the case of the Irish Diaspora, one of the most useful takeaways lies in the tragic role that unsustainable agricultural practices played in leading to the mass starvation and exodus of the Irish people.
In the face of many challenges, a genuine - and inspiring - food movement working toward that system is flourishing. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the heart of New York City at this year's Just Food Conference.
American Farmland Trust's third annual No Farms, No Food Rally brought an eclectic mix of food advocates to Albany to remind politicians that voters from all across the political spectrum really do care about protecting our environment, keeping small farms in business and making sure we all have access to fresh, local food.
For over a century, whistleblowers have shown consumers that industrial food production is a far cry from the traditional family farm image invoked by food marketers. But increasingly, those who expose truths that threaten the profits of big business are becoming targets for legal action.
Undeterred by last month's dismissal, the farmers behind OSGATA et al vs. Monsanto continue to press their case. Meanwhile, Vernon Brown, a farmer who was sued by the biotech behemoth, is taking his case to the Supreme Court.
Resolved to get fit, save money and live more sustainably in 2012? Ellen Jaffe Jones's new book, Eat Vegan on $4 a Day, shows how a plant-based diet can be sustainable, delicious and economical.
In which our intrepid intern, Margaret Riche, recounts last weekend's Farmers' March on Wall Street, an event that united farmers, community gardeners, advocates and occupiers in addressing the corporate stranglehold on our food system.
Other environmentalists, community advocates and urban planners should take note of the community-minded, enviromental non-profit, Groundwork Somerville, who's work has truly helped transform the city of Somerville, Massachusetts.
The word on everyone's lips this month is "food." Advocates across the world are holding deliberate conversations about our complex food system, and about why our food choices matter.
Late last month, an eager audience filled the historic Great Hall of Cooper Union, where Francis Moore Lappé quoted Cezanne and told us: "The day will come when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution."