Our Heroes is a regular series that highlights the work and the daily lives of people who are making major changes in the world of food and agriculture!
We first met Michael Lewis of The Growing Warriors Project at Farm Aid 2015 where he and his fellow farmers presented the first United States flag to be made of American-grown hemp in nearly a century. We're excited to report that the partnership that made the flag was featured in a great new documentary, titled "Harvesting Liberty."
This week, we talked to Gus Schumacher, Founding Board Chair of Wholesome Wave, whose inspiring work in government and non-profits has helped to shape the modern farmers' market system in the United States.
Here we chat with Liz Carollo, the Publicity Manager for GrowNYC's Greenmarket, NYC's largest farmer's market organization. Greenmarket turns 40 this year and it's ready to celebrate its incredible growth: from a market with 12 farmers in a parking lot on 59th Street to over 230 farmers at 54 markets throughout the five boroughs!
Alyssa Charney of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition offers some insight into the various ways farmers and ranchers are helping to protect and improve water quality and the role that federal agriculture policy plays.
Every movement has its visionaries who push passionately and relentlessly for progress. For the past decade, Tristram Stuart has served this role for the food waste movement. Meet the advocate/activist who created the Feeding the 5000 campaign and thrust food waste into the international spotlight.
NRDC staff scientist Dana Gunders helped put US food waste on the map after publishing a seminal report on the topic in 2012. Since then, she's written a book on the topic, and has remained a tireless leader in the growing movement to reduce US food waste.
Meet Jordan Figueiredo, founder of EndFoodWaste.org and the Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign, and the first of our anti-food waste heroes. When not working at his day job, Jordan serves as a preeminent leader within the food waste movement, spearheading one of the most influential campaigns to address the problem in the US.
"If you can tell the difference between a bunch of parsley and a bunch of cilantro at the store, then you know how to do plant identification." Meet Leda Meredith, forager, author and teacher of hands-on engagement with local, sustainable food systems.
"Our vision is to create healthier school environments for children to learn and grow. In order to achieve this vision, our chefs and our coaches are in schools every day, working side by side with school communities." Meet Nancy Easton, founder and executive director of Wellness in the Schools.
While on a morning walk, Patti and Doug Wood came up with the idea for a farmers' market in their hometown of Port Washington, situated on the north shore of Long Island. And not just any farmers' market! The market they eventually created is 100 percent organic - the only all-organic farmers' market in New York State.
According to Chef Deborah Scarborough, former chef of Cambria, California's Black Cat Bistro, it's just common sense to use local ingredients - not only is it more sustainable, "the better the ingredients, the better the dish will turn out."
"We cultivate strong relationships with local farmers... making it possible to source more than 70 percent of the restaurant's foodstuffs within a 60 mile radius." Meet Chef Vivian Howard, who opened Chef & the Farmer in 2006, and has been showcasing the foods and traditions of rural North Carolina ever since.
Meet one of our Eat Well Guide heroes: Chef Lyn Harwell at Seeds Community Café in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You probably can't be in the presence of the Seeds family for more than ten minutes without hearing the words "sustainable" or "local," or, for that matter, "organic" and "fresh"!
Meet one of our Eat Well Guide heroes: Trish Watlington at The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar in San Diego, where the cuisine is seasonal comfort food made with one commitment: if they can't grow it themselves or buy it locally, humanely treated and sustainably harvested, it's not hitting the table.
"We are blessed here in Reno, NV. I know every farmer we use. They come to eat here and we visit them on their farms." Meet Chef Mark Estee at Campo, one of our Eat Well Guide heroes!
Are there any companies out there making delicious chocolate the right way, without hurting people or the planet? Thankfully, there are. To learn more about the bright side of the chocolate industry, we reached out to sustainable chocolate pioneer Pierrick Chouard of Vintage Plantations whose artisanal chocolate was developed to help protect small farmers and the environment.