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Greetings from New York City!
The United Nations General Assembly is meeting here this week in conjunction with Climate Week. People from all over the world – policymakers, activists, nonprofits and many others – came together to take a deep dive into what we need to do to address the climate crisis.
I had the opportunity to host a fun dinner hosted by Wholechain, founded by Food Tank friends Mark Kaplan and Jason Berryhill. They are amazing social entrepreneurs working to make our food and farming systems more transparent and, in turn, more traceable. We need companies to step up – and these people are part of making that happen. I had the opportunity to speak with people from companies like Akua Kelp, which makes delicious kelp burgers, Grain4Grain, which makes upcycled flour from waste grain, and many other companies that make environmentally and socially sustainable products.
The private sector cannot get involved just for profit. So many small and midsize companies are leading the way on these issues: From day one, they started with a mission statement that put environmental and social justice first. And then there are big companies, big companies, trying to catch up with these smaller companies by delivering on their promises.
But here’s a caveat: I hope that when big companies adopt these commitments, they’re not just greenwashing — or greening, but saying, “I want these commitments we’re making by 2050 to really accomplish! “
By 2050 it’s too late! We cannot simply hope for a greener world in 30 years’ time – we need a commitment that policymakers, companies and many of us can act now. We must make these commitments more urgent and real, whether it’s pushing for deforestation-free soy or beef, or using upcycled ingredients in food manufacturing. We need to start seeing this as the norm, not the exception.
The power of urgent action is what I had the pleasure of discussing with activist and “Orange is the New Black” star Alysia Reiner on this week’s Food Talk podcast. She is a strong advocate for the arts, working to reduce food and plastic waste in film and TV, using love – not fear – to inspire action, and more. I really hope you can listen to our conversation by clicking here.
Next week, I will be in Washington, D.C. for a White House meeting on hunger, nutrition and health. The last time the White House held such a meeting was in 1969, so it’s long overdue. As I understand it, the government will announce a national strategy to identify steps to promote public and private sectors to address the links between food and hunger, nutrition and health. So stay tuned: I’ll have more to say about what we heard and saw at the conference next week.
I really want this conference to be diverse – with a wide range of perspectives and opinions. Not only academics and advocates, but people with life experience who have been doing the groundwork for so long and really understand what the community wants and needs. I sincerely hope that the government will listen to them so that we can develop a better national strategy.
What topics would you like to discuss at the White House meeting? Whose voice do you want to hear?We’ll be there on behalf of all Food Tankers like you around the globe, so chat with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how I can be your eyes and ears on the DC grounds
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Photo courtesy of Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash