Food for Thought, Food for Life

We want our food fast, convenient and cheap, but at what cost? As farms have become supersized, our environment suffers and so does the quality of our food. Food for Thought, Food for Life, a new documentary from director Susan Rockefeller (HBO’s Christopher Award-winning documentary Making The Crooked Straight, Planet Green’s A Sea Change) explains the downsides of current agribusiness practices and also introduces us to farmers, chefs, researchers, educators, and advocates who are providing solutions. The film is both poetic and practical; its powerful examination of the connections between our planet and our well-being is accompanied by specific strategies that protect both. With an eye towards a sustainable and abundant future, it offers inspiration for communities that are ready to make a difference.

Punctuated by the words of environmentalist Wendell Berry, earth-inspired artwork, and uplifting music, the film highlights organizations and people doing things right. From the forward-thinking practices of Chef Dan Barber and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture to guerrilla gardener Ron Finley’s transformation of urban neighborhoods, the ways we can start a revolution are varied and exciting.

“I sought out to develop a film that educates people about the negative impact our current methods of agriculture have on the earth,” said Rockefeller, a creative conservationist and social entrepreneur. “In addition to providing vital information, the film gives viewers the necessary tools to make a difference in their own lives. It explores the connection between the planet and our health and suggests that strengthening that connection will only benefit our future.”

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The mission of the 20-minute film – which was an official selection at the Short Film Corner at Cannes 2015 and at the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival and other top festivals – and its extensive nationwide outreach campaign is to start a conversation about the food system, bringing everyone to the table to address how we think about, produce, and choose what we eat and to make lasting changes as individuals, communities, and for our earth as a whole.

Food for Thought, Food for Life will be available free for Food Day events.  Please contact hello@foodforthoughtfilm.com or fill out our Host a Screening form for more information.

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How to help yourself – and others! – eat well on the strictest of budgets

The first spark of what would become Good and Cheap happened on a busy downtown sidewalk in Manhattan. I was graduating from NYU with a Masters in Food Studies and I wanted my thesis to be something with a life outside of academia. So why not write a cookbook for people who can’t afford a cookbook, but could really use one? Middle class voices tend to dominate the discussion in the food movement, and although I couldn’t change that, being middle class myself, I felt like I should try to prise the door open a little wider. I ended up creating Good and Cheap, a cookbook for everyone, but particularly designed for people on a $4/day Food Stamps budget, and the response went wildly beyond what I expected.


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Midwest Food Connection Celebrates Food Day

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Midwest Food Connection (MFC) is a nonprofit organization that partners with local food co-ops in the Twin Cities metro to bring programming about natural foods, local sustainable farming, and the cultural origins of our food into schools. With these programs we aim to empower elementary school children to make healthy and responsible food choices.

MFC has four seasonal lessons that feature locally grown foods and foods from around the world, available at the local co-op. If the school has a garden, MFC educators utilize the garden as a hands-on teaching tool. Students remember their lessons for years after an MFC teacher visits their classroom.

In these lessons,

  • - We provide children with opportunities to study and taste natural and organic foods.
  • - We create an understanding in children of the origins and traditions of regionally produced foods.
  • - We teach children about the methods and benefits of organic and sustainable agriculture.
  • - We organize and lead field trips to local diversified farms.

MFC’s spring curriculum is a big hit among students and teachers. Students start a seedling indoors, then care for their seedling for the next three weeks while learning about garden planning, beneficial insects, and the first crops ready to harvest in early spring. Students are very excited to get their hands dirty, and they eagerly track their seedling’s progress as it grows. The final lesson of the series features an explanation of transplanting to encourage students to continue caring for their plants in a garden or a container when they bring them home.

This fall, MFC is planning a close partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Nutrition Services department. We hope to tie into our lessons a connection to menu items featured in MPS lunchrooms.  The MPS Farm to School program features local foods throughout the school year on “Local Thursdays,” and offers “True Food Taste Tests” to expose students to new ingredients and think about what’s in their food.

 

Emily has been a teacher for Midwest Food Connection since March 2015. When she is not teaching kids about eating well, she works as a naturalist, rides her bike, and experiments with gardening.

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That's a Wrap!

As the weather heats up, perfect-for-summer lettuce wraps start to work their way onto my menus. You can fold the lettuce around the fillings and eat with your hands, or dig in with a knife and fork. Softer, foldable lettuces like butter or leaf work best.

 


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Summer of Creativity Grants Available to Help Young Changemakers Create a Better World

    Creativity gives you the power to help shape a better world. YSA, in partnership with ABC and Disney Friends for Change, can help you create the future you imagine. Young changemakers ages 5-18 can now apply for a $500 Summer of Creativity Grant for a service project that makes your community greener, safer, smarter, healthier, cleaner, or fairer. Apply by August 10 at www.YSA.org/beinspired

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Watch and Share This Powerful Video!

     Remember Coca-Cola's iconic "Hilltop" ad, where people on a hillside sung about their wish to "buy the world a Coke"? You might have seen it in the season finale of Mad Men recently.


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Smart Asparagus

My favorite way to cook asparagus is to toss with a bit of olive oil, then grill or broil until the spears are warm and charred in spots but still crunchy. This versatile vegetable also provides the perfect canvas for intense toppings like these three.


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