Nearly 1 billion people go hungry each day, while more than 34 percent of the U.S. population is considered obese. That these realities can exist simultaneously shows that our food system needs to be fixed—and soon. Food advocates, chefs, businesses, and eaters must collaborate with each other today to ensure a healthy, affordable, and environmentally sustainable future for agriculture.
The Food for Tomorrow conference, organized by The New York Times with Food Tank as the official media partner, is providing a unique opportunity to change the food system to now. Hosted by Times food writer Mark Bittman, the conference will bring together executives, nonprofit leaders, food researchers, chefs, policymakers, corporations, and activists from around the world to discuss and develop innovative solutions to alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty.
Food for Tomorrow will take place November 11 and 12, 2014 at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY.
The Stone Barns Center is an 80-acre working farm, and its mission is to create a healthy and sustainable food system by changing how America farms and eats. At the center, researchers experiment with ecologically sound methods of growing vegetables, raising livestock, and creating fertile soils. The farm also serves as a classroom where farmers can receive specialized training; children can learn about food production in an interactive environment; and the general public can engage with healthy, seasonal, and sustainable food.
The Stone Barns Center is also home to the award-winning Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant. Executive chef Dan Barber—also a keynote speaker at Food forTomorrow—uses produce and meat from the Center to showcase the delicious possibilities presented by sustainably farmed food. His new book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, details his journey from the ingredient-driven “farm-to-table” mentality towards a more holistic approach to ethical eating.
“Our job isn’t just to support the farmer,” he writes, “it’s really to support the land that supports the farmer.” Barber believes that food can be the driving force that convinces eaters to pursue sustainable choices. “Chefs can do a pretty good job of translating the natural world,” he explains. “A delicious carrot communicates the soil it was grown in, a grass-fed lamb the kind of grasses it was pastured on, and so forth. The experience of a well-prepared meal can make these connections clear in powerful ways.”
Barber is one of many thoughtful and inspiring leaders who will be speaking at Food for Tomorrow. Food Tank will also be presenting and participating in the event. This exciting group of speakers includes:
- Mark Bittman, Opinion Columnist, The New York Times; Food Columnist, The New York Times Magazine
- Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability, The George Washington University
- Michael Moss, Investigations Desk Reporter, The New York Times
- Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University
- Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank
- Raj Patel, Award-Winning Writer, Academic, and Activist
- Chellie Pingree, U.S. Representative (D-Maine)
- Michael Pollan, Author, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
- Doug Rauch, Founder, Daily Table; CEO, Conscious Capitalism, Inc.
- Ricardo Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist, Food and Environment Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists
- Stephanie Strom, Business Reporter, The New York Times
- Ron Shaich, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Panera Bread
- Patrick Holden, Founding Director, Sustainable Food Trust
- Dr. Salman Hussain, Coordinator, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), United Nations Environment Program
- John Sargeant, Walmart
Specific presentations, panels, and discussions include:
- Opening keynote, “How to Change the Food System and Feed the Nine Billion” by Mark Bittman
- Keynote speech, “The Chef’s Role in the Creation of a Sustainable, Healthy Diet” by Dan Barber
- Keynote speech, “The Great Challenge: Farming, Food, and Climate Change” by Michael Pollan
- Discussion, “Global Overview: Feeding the World, Sustaining the Global Food Economy” with Kathleen Merrigan and Raj Patel, moderated by Michael Pollan
- Discussion, “What a Healthy Diet Means” led by Michael Moss
- Discussion, “Who Will Farm — and How?” with Chellie Pingree and Ricardo Salvador, moderated by Mark Bittman
- Discussion, “Can Sustainable Scale — and How?” moderated by Michael Pollan
- Discussion, “What to Do About Food Loss and Food Waste” with Doug Rauch and Jonathan Bloom, moderated by Mark Bittman
- Interactive discussion sessions, “Thought for Food”
Food Tank subscribers can receive a 20 percent discount off the early bird rate. Use code “FFT-FTK20” and register here. For those unable to attend in person, the event will likely be live-streamed and posted as a video.