If you hope to know the weather forecast, look to The Farmers Almanac; if, however, you’re looking to know the food politics forecast, come out for The Food Almanac 2017, taking place this Tuesday night, February 28, at Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg.
The 7th annual event, now sponsored by Slow Food NYC, will host a panel of food policy experts to address the question: “Are good, clean and fair food and ag being Trumped?” Big policy changes are afoot, leaving many mystified at the big picture significance. In the words of farmer and Maine-based Congresswoman Chellie Pingrie, “This is the murkiest crystal ball in years.”
Helpfully, these professionals are here to discuss, prognosticate, put in perspective and answer our questions on what it all means for the present and future of food and farming. What’s more, an emphasis will be placed on how attendees can “engage on the issues.” Topics to be discussed include the Farm Bill, school lunch, farmworkers, food safety, environmental regulation and what we might expect from new department heads Sonny Perdue and Scott Pruitt.
In addition to the enlightening panel discussion, participants can look forward to a evening of conversing among food-minded fellows while enjoying “local wine and beer and seasonal snacks.”
Proceeds from the evening will benefit Slow Food NYC’s Urban Harvest, which provides good food education for New York City children.
The panel will include:
Mary Cleaver (moderator)
One of the country’s foremost authorities on sustainable food and local sourcing, Cleaver is the founder and owner of catering operation The Cleaver Co. and celebrated farm-to-table eatery The Green Table, among other establishments. The recipient of Slow Food NYC’s first-ever “Snailblazer” designation, Cleaver and her husband are now embarking on their fourth season raising poultry and growing NOFA-certified produce and grains at Green Table Farms in Washington County, NY.
Mary Jo Dudley
Director, Cornell Farmworker Program
With extensive research interests in immigrant workers, farmworkers, U.S.-Latin American relations, migration and U.S. immigrant communities, Dudley is currently involved in capacity building within the farmworker community in New York State. She’s the recipient of both the 2012 White House Champions of Change Cesar Chavez Legacy award and the George D. Levy Engaged Teaching and Research Award at Cornell University.
Executive director/associate research professor, Columbia Teachers’ College; executive director, Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food Education & Policy
Working at the intersection of sustainable food systems and nutrition education, Koch has written, evaluated and conducted professional development for many curricula, including Linking Food and the Environment (LiFE); Food Day School; In Defense of Food; Art & Healthy Living with Studio in a School; and Seed to Plate with GrownNYC. Koch helped develop the Garden Resource Education and Environment Nexus “GREEN” Tool to create school gardens that are well-integrated into the curriculum and culture, and she has led several evaluations including Edible Schoolyard NYC, FoodCorps, Wellness in the Schools and New York City Food & Fitness Partnership.
Associate director of communications and development, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
Reana Kovalcik supports NSAC’s policy and grassroots efforts by translating challenging policy language into digestible communications and by providing the development support needed for robust fundraising. While earning her MA in Urban Policy Analysis from the New School, Kovalcik developed an interest in food and farm policy and helped launch the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management graduate program. She has served as Legislative Aide for Food Policy under former New York City Council Member (current Manhattan Borough President) Gale Brewer, with whom she helped develop NYC’s first package of local food sourcing legislation in 2011. Following her time at the NYC Council, Reana worked with NYC-based nonprofit organization Wellness in the Schools, where for five years she helped to create and promote healthier school food and fitness programs and policies.
Farmer, Fishkill Farms
Fishkill Farms is a historic apple orchard that has been in the Morgenthau family for nearly 100 years. After leasing the farm to outside management for a period, Robert and Josh Morgenthau, the second and third generation of the farm family, took the operation back in 2007. Soon, a team began to develop, and Josh took over management of the farm. With the hard work and dedication of the team, Fishkill Farms has grown from a conventionally farmed apple orchard in need of new trees and new tractors, into a diversified, ecological farm with new orchards and infrastructures. The farm recently received a grant from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, which will help with the installation of a rooftop photovoltaic array on their new barn and generate over 50% of the farm’s energy needs.
Assistant professor, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University; faculty director, Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative
The collaboration between Pace Law and the Natural Resources Defense Counsel is dedicated to increasing access to legal services for mission-oriented farmers, food businesses and food justice NGOs. Prior to joining the Pace faculty, Pollans was the inaugural academic fellow at UCLA School of Law’s Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy. Previously, Margot was a Staff Attorney and Clinical Teaching Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Public Representation. Following law school, Margot clerked for the Honorable David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She holds a JD from NYU School of Law, an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center and a BA from Columbia University. She writes about environmental regulation of food production and is currently co-authoring a casebook on Food Law and Policy.