Archive: 2014

Less than One Week! Entries due Jan 5, 2015 @ 12p PST

| Contest News

Dun, dun, dun: the deadline is fast approaching! Whether you’re excited to watch (like us) or putting your finishing touches on to submit, we’re excited to say we’ll have a new crop of submissions in just one more week.


Crossing off your checklist:

Now we know you’re not last-minute-types (ahem), but we did get an awful lot of submissions last year right under the deadline. Santa’s not the only one making lists and checking them twice – or, thrice. So, please bear with this friendly PSA reminder to check the list before submitting:


We’re happy to answer questions that come up, but we’d rather do it now than when you’re an hour away from deadline in panic mode. (And you probably would, too.) So, be sure you know what is expected and leave room for uploading time and possible glitches. Reach out with questions!


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The Textbook Farmer | Film Library Review

| Contest News, Films We Like

Featured Guest Post by Zulakha Iqbal, Small Planet Institute intern

It’s just two wheels and some metal strewn together, but for some it embodies economic stability, access to education, and a hopeful future.

Farming is just about planting crops and raising animals to outsiders, but for farmers, tending to the land is an intricate, demanding, and risky business.

Often, one sees only the simplistic character instead of the complex nature and everlasting effects of entities such as a bike or farming.

That is what we can learn from The Textbook Farmer and filmmakers, brothers Benjamin and Jacob-Siegel, and their work with World Bicycle Relief.

What started as a project on the organization known as World Bicycle Relief, turned into a short film with an even deeper message once they stumbled upon a Zambian farmer named Benjamin and his inspiring story. Before digging into the wise words of Benjamin, the economist/dairy farmer, let’s take a minute to focus on the original intention of the filmmakers, explaining the work of World Bicycle Relief and how they change lives on a daily basis. If you’re interested in learning even more about the transformative effect of a single bicycle take a peek at their groundbreaking film, With My Own Two Wheels. You can watch the whole thing here.

World Bicycle Relief is a Chicago-based international non-profit organization that operates a bicycle distribution program that helps to reduce poverty and build communities in developing countries. Armed with the knowledge and statistical proof that communities in Africa and Sri Lanka experienced a more than 30% increase in income as a result of owning a bike, the organization aims to provide well-designed reliable bikes to impoverished communities that can use them in a variety of ways to improve their overall quality of life.

For example, World Bicycle Relief reserves 70% of their bikes for the Educational Empowerment Program for girls who face extreme challenges in order to access education due to household chores, personal safety, and early marriages. The bikes improve access to schools for teachers and students with proven success rates.

The Textbook Farmer 2Along with education, the program also helps out local farmers. Those living in rural areas can avoid walking long distances and ultimately decrease their travel time with a bike instead of paying for expensive transportation. This is a significant plight for farmers who must take their goods to sell in more populous areas. The bikes carry up to 220 lbs., enabling dairy farmers like Benjamin to be able to transport their products to distant co-ops.

However, The Textbook Farmer takes us on a more personal journey with the story of a man who offers us a unique lens and differing perspective. Benjamin, the focus of the film, is a trained economist with a Master’s degree from Australia. Upon returning to Zambia and not being able to find a job that suited his interests, he took up dairy farming. The way Benjamin’s words resonate in the few minutes of the film is so astounding that it’s no surprise that the makers of the film also found a need to focus on him.

Not only is one intrigued by Benjamin’s journey to dairy farming despite his international education, but also we are pushed into further contemplation when Benjamin himself challenges us on this notion. Why should we find an educated farmer to be a surprise? Why do we find ourselves upset that Benjamin ‘has to be’ a dairy farmer because he couldn’t find a job that suited him? According to Benjamin, we’re wrong.

“I’m a practicing economist, just in the dairy industry,” Benjamin explains as he goes over the analytics he employs in operating his farm such as cost-benefit analysis and other economic terms you would find being employed by a firm. As one of the filmmakers, Jacob Seigel-Boettner explained to me, Benjamin’s story forces us to “Reshape what jobs we see as valued by society.” Important work like farming and other blue-collar jobs have been increasingly looked down on in society in comparison with the corporate world.

Although it’s set in Zambia, the global message Benjamin exudes is one of humility and self-reflection to understand that the measurements of success are not as simple as we thought. In less than four minutes the film will have you questioning your own definition of success, hence why it is certainly worth a watch, and a visit to World Bicycle Relief to learn more about enabling farmers and communities in developing nations.

Closing with Benjamin’s own iconic words, regardless of your education, job, or background, “You are the master of your own destiny.” No matter your stance on the correlation between status and success, this is one statement most of us would find ourselves agreeing with.

 Watch The Textbook Farmer:



ZULAKHA IQBAL is currently a senior at Boston University, where she is pursuing a degree in international relations with a minor in history. During the course of her internship at Small Planet, Zulakha is excited to gain more knowledge about sustainable food practices and how environmental policy plays a major role in the fight against global poverty and hunger. She also regularly contributes as a translator of Urdu articles to an index of foreign publications. Zulakha enjoys playing the violin, going to concerts, spending time at the beach, and working on future business endeavors.


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Judge Spotlight: Maria Rodale

| Contest News, Judges

We’re thrilled to welcome Maria Rodale to the judges panel for this year’s Real Food Media Contest!

Maria_Rodale_square_grayMaria is the CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., the global voice for health and wellness with a mission to inspire and enable people to improve their lives and the world around them. Reaching more than 100 million people worldwide, Rodale publishes some of the best-known health and wellness magazines, including Men’s Health, Prevention, Runner’s World, Women’s Health, and Organic Gardening (which will relaunch as Rodale’s Organic Life in Spring 2015). The company is also one of the largest independent booksellers in the United States with a collection of bestselling titles that include An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore and The Honest Life, by Jessica Alba.

organicmanifesto_011550_700x700Maria is an activist and a businesswoman who has made promoting the benefits of an organic lifestyle both her personal mission and her business. In 2013, she created and launched Rodale’s, an online shopping destination that offers healthy solutions for a happy life.  She also started Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen, a blog that offers a digital experience of the contemporary kitchen table: a place to exchange recipes, entertain visits from friends, and discuss timely ideas.

The author of several books, Maria is known for her 2010 title Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe.

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2014 James Beard Foundation Food Conference

| Events


Health & Food: Is Better Food the Prescription for a Healthier America?

October 27-28, NYC and tune in via Livestream

For decades, a growing evidence points to food as the key to improving the health of our bodies, as well as the health of our communities and our environment. Our food choices are informed—consciously or not—by policy, society, economics, marketing and, of course, personal preference. Increasingly, food is being touted as a method of prevention, as well as a prescription for better health.

The James Beard Foundation Food Conference will convene a diverse group of thought leaders to examine the way food supports and encourages, or confuses and fails us, individually and as a society, to be healthy.

Our speakers and provocateurs will include leaders in agricultural technology, nutrition science, processing, manufacturing, policy and public health. They will challenge and widen our perspectives and offer solutions to improving the impact food has on our health. You’ll never think the same way about what you eat again.

Speakers and Panelists Include:

  • Mark Bittman, Author and Columnist, The New York Times
  • Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, Chair, Medical Ethics and Health Policy Department, University of Pennsylvania, Former Senior Health Policy Advisor on Health Care for The White House
  • Toni Griffin, Founder, Urban Planning for the American City
  • Dr. Tim Harlan, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Tulane University
  • Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, the White House
  • Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University
  • Michael Pollan, Writer/Journalist and Professor, University of California, Berkley

A full agenda and more information is available by visiting the JBF Food Conference website.


Watch the archived footage of all the speakers and panelists from the 2014 JBF Food Conference.

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Coalition of Immokalee Workers Launches Fair Food Label

| Ambassadors, Films We Like

There is a trifecta of big food justice news happening today from our coalition (Coalition of Immokalee Workers), advisors (Sanjay Rawal, Director of Food Chains), and media partners (Food Day) – and we hope you’re as excited as we are.

Food Chains is joining in Food Day by working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to officially launch their Fair Food Program Label.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Fair Food Standards Council have officially released a label to help shoppers identify which tomatoes come from ethical farms.


The label, designed by Pinkwater & Putman will be available to all grocery stores and restaurants that participate in the Fair Food Program. Participants in the Fair Food Program pay one more penny per pound when they buy Florida tomatoes to increase wages for farm workers. They also commit to a worker-created Code of Conduct to ensure safe working conditions and prevent forced labor, sexual harassment and child labor in the fields.

“We have waited nearly five years before revealing this label to the world today,” said Cruz Salucio of the CIW.  “Over those years, we have been doing the hard, day-by-day work of building the Fair Food Program in Florida’s fields — educating workers about their rights, investigating complaints, and identifying and eliminating bad actors and bad practices — so that today we can stand behind the fair conditions and effective monitoring process that this label represents.  We couldn’t be more proud of this label because it symbolizes the new day for workers in agriculture that we, as farmworkers and in partnership with consumers across the country, have fought so hard to make real,” said Cruz Salucio of the CIW.

Whole Foods will be the first member of the Fair Food Program to display the label in their stores, starting with the South Eastern Region.

Starting this month, the Fair Food Program Label will be available in select grocery stores and restaurants that participate in the Fair Food Program.  You can look for this label, which guarantees that the tomatoes you are buying are from farms participating in the Fair Food Program. Participating companies commit to pay one more penny per pound of tomatoes, which translates into better wages for workers.  Most importantly, these companies only purchase tomatoes from farms that ensure the basic human rights of the men and women in the fields, including the right to safe working conditions, to water and shade, and to work free of sexual violence and forced labor.

The label is the result of the Fair Food Program, which was created out of the success of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)’s Campaign for Fair Food. The founders of the CIW were recently honored with the Clinton Global Citizen Award, and presented the award by Eva Longoria.

Longoria has been a longtime supporter of farmworkers including the CIW and the Fair Food Program, and recently executive-produced a documentary film on their work, entitled Food Chains.

Food Chains follows the CIW as they peacefully protest large grocery store and fast food chains to call on them to join the Fair Food Program. There are currently 12 retail food giants participating in the program, including McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Subway, Chipotle, and Walmart. This is what it will take to bring humane living conditions and fair wages to the workers.

“The Fair Food Label is a historic moment for both consumers and for workers. In an era when there is so much interest in food, this label will allow consumers to know that the products it represents were picked by people treated well and paid fairly,” said Food Chains director and advisor to the Real Food Media Contest, Sanjay Rawal.

In support of the label launch, the filmmakers have released a sneak peak of the film, available here.

Food Chains, which stars Eva Longoria, Eric Schlosser, and members of the CIW, will open in theaters nationwide, distributed by Screen Media, on November 21,. It will also be released on iTunes on November 21st and VOD starting November 27, Thanksgiving Day, and in a Spanish language version.

Learn more about Food Chains and how to support Fair Food locally at and on Facebook and Twitter. 


View and download the Food Chains trailer:

Food Chains – Trailer from Screen Media Films on Vimeo.

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| Contest News

open for entries


September 29, 2014 

Joanna Dillon, Real Food Media Project
510 281 9023 


Food Stars Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Alice Waters Join Judging Panel to Select Top Digital Super Shorts on Sustainable Food


SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The Real Food Media Project launches its annual short films contest and announces its new film library today. Produced by award-winning author Anna Lappé, the film library will be the largest repository of short films about food, farming, and sustainability in the country. The contest, now in its second year, will bring together leading food luminaries as judges, advisors, and media partners, including the Jamie Oliver Foundation, the James Beard Foundation, and celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio and Alice Waters, and hopes to receive hundreds of entries from around the world.


“More people are curious about the story behind their food,” says contest judge Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of the documentary A Place at the Table. “The Real Food Media Contest inspires filmmakers to make creative short films and provides a platform to get these important stories seen and heard by a huge audience. We can’t wait to see the new crop of films.”


The Project’s film library showcases last year’s contest winners and 30 more carefully curated films, all under four minutes, organized by categories that include innovative food business, youth and urban agriculture and more. Viewers can find short films on everything from berry pickers in the Northwest to teens going green in the heart of the Bronx to siblings raising hogs sustainably in rural North Carolina.


“By making these films available to the public for free through our new online library, we hope that these films will be tools for anyone anywhere to learn more about where their food comes from and to inspire them to get involved,” says Anna Lappé, director of the Project and a bestselling author and sustainability advocate.


With the launch of its online film library, the Real Food Media Project is also announcing the call-for-entries for this year’s contest. The contest seeks unique stories on topics including local food heroes, innovative food projects, and underreported food issues. New this year, the contest includes an animation category in honor of the 10th anniversary of the factory farming exposé The Meatrix, watched more than 20 million times.


“The contest is a great opportunity for filmmakers to lend their talents to telling powerful stories about film and for grassroots groups to come together with up-and-coming filmmakers to tell their own stories,” says Sanjay Rawal, a contest advisor and director of the film Food Chains.


Prizes include a $5,000 Grand Prize as well as awards for best student film, best cinematography, and more. All winning films have distribution opportunities with contest media partners, including the Food and Farm Film Festival, Disposable Film Festival, SXSW Eco, and the Food Book Fair. Entries must be submitted at by January 5, 2015.


Contest judges include:

  • Thelma Adams, Yahoo! Movies contributing editor
  • Johanna Blakely, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California
  • Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of A Place at the Table
  • Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, co-founders, Food52
  • Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post chief film critic
  • Byron Hurt, director and producer, Soul Food Junkies
  • Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author, actress, model, and television host
  • Jamie Oliver Food Foundation USA
  • Michel Nischan, President and CEO, Wholesome Wave
  • Michael Pollan, journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • Aarón Sanchez, award-winning chef, cookbook author, and judge on Food Network’s “Chopped”
  • Eric Schlosser, journalist and author, Fast Food Nation
  • Susan Ungaro, President, James Beard Foundation
  • Alice Waters, owner, Chez Panisse, founder, The Edible Schoolyard Project
  • Emily Zweber, organic farmer, first AgChat Foundation executive director



The contest’s mission is to spark conversation about food, farming, and sustainability around the world through short films and engaging public events. The contest is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project, a coalition of leading food and farm organizations in the United States working together to spread the story of our food with this online film contest, grassroots events, creative movies, and a web-based action center. Visit to explore the new film library, to learn more about the contest, and to enter the competition. Follow us on Twitter, @realfoodfilms, and like us on Facebook, at Real Food Media Project.



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100 Pop-Up Film Festivals!

| Contest News

Requests to host Pop-Up Film Festivals have been steadily rolling in, with just over a hundred events in the works.





teaser Pop-Up Film Festival link


From Romania to BedStuy Brooklyn, via bikes and barns, the stories of the Contest are spreading far and wide. We’re not kidding, check out this shiny new map:



Click, zoom, search – join events or host your own. If you’re in the Bay Area, come join us with Food First for a Pop-Up event with Contest founder, Anna Lappé on Wednesday, September 17.

Help us get the word out to your food + film friends: Bring short films on sustainable food + farming to your community: Host a Pop-Up Film Festival with @RealFoodFilms

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Insiders Tip: How To Find Filmmakers

Photo: Bill Rice via Flickr

Do you have a great idea for the Contest and need help finding a filmmaker?

You’re not alone. Now in its second year, the Contest has spurred on collaborations with filmmakers and food systems leaders to create compelling content and launch stories in front of thousands around the world. Featuring cash prizes and opportunities to work with leaders in the food and film industry, here are some tips to find filmmakers who’d be eager to connect and capture your would-be stories. And who knows, you may be looking outside when you’ve got a budding filmmaker right under your nose. Maybe it’s you.


Finding Filmmakers in your Area

Here are a few tips to find great filmmakers:

  • Search for documentaries that are similar to the subject matter to what you’re planning to produce OR that has a style of filmmaking that you like. Look in the credits and see who produced it.
  • Search on Vimeo for films and shorts from your area and see who produced them. You can also search profiles for location. Send them a message on Vimeo and start up a conversation.
  • Every state has a local film commission with local listings. Make a call and ask for recommendations of contacts or send an email.
  • Try a Google search for “film and video production companies in (your city).” Read their company bio and see if they do documentaries and/or short films. (Be aware that these leads may not be interested in doing pro bono work unless: they’re interested in the prizes and publicity that could come their way, and/or they strongly believe in your cause. Even if they can’t help you, they might be able to point you in the right direction to other filmmakers who might be a good fit for your project.)
  • Call the film department at your local university. They might be able to make some recommendations. Many high schools also offer film and video courses.
  • Attend a local film festival and/or find the organization who organizes the festival and ask them to make recommendations on filmmakers who may be interested in your project.
  • Contact documentary filmmaking organizations such as the International Documentary Association or Center for Independent Documentary.
  • Leverage your development skills and collaborate with local talented filmmakers to apply for grant opportunities.
  • Join a filmmakers chat room such as Creative Cow or DVXuser and pitch your project. (Be aware that you never know who’s going to respond, so make sure you fully explore their films, experience and references.)
  • Try Spidvid which connects people who want to make videos and documentaries.



Pitching Filmmakers on your Project

Here’s the key thing to remember when approaching filmmakers: since most experienced filmmakers won’t work for free (they have to make a living just like everyone else), be creative about what you may be able to offer if funding is limited. Are you a farmer? Offer a CSA share! Are you a non-profit with expertise in an area they could benefit from? Offer your skills. Help them write a grant proposal for an upcoming project. Pitch the project to them highlighting the food and film industry leaders they’d get their work in front of including Contest judges, advisors, ambassador schools, and networks. The cash prizes are sugar on top of a meaningful new collaboration.


Become  the Filmmaker – yes, you!

If you’re interested in the Contest, chances are you’re drawn to film as a powerful way to tell stories. Yes? There are some incredible resources by filmmakers for filmmakers out there to help you learn and develop the skills to be capture your own impressive stories. Show us your reality as you know it best. According to the team behind Desktop Documentaries, there’s never been a better time to be a filmmaker. What was once reserved for an elite few, making documentaries is now within reach of anyone with access to a camera and the internet. There are loads of resources on the cheap to help you get there, including free video editing software and – you can even make a movie with your iPhone. Our media partner, Disposable Film Fest, was founded exactly for this reason – to celebrate the democratization of cinema made possible by low cost video technology: everyday equipment like mobile phones, pocket cameras, DSLRs and other inexpensive devices. If this sounds like an exciting chance to try your hand at filmmaking, we’d love to see your work. There are truly incredible stories, solutions, and innovations to be shared – the future of our food depends on us to spread them far and wide.

Step behind the lens! Follow your instinct. Now’s the time.

Some suggestions here are cross-posted from Desktop Documentaries, there’s plenty more information and resources on the website.


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Filmmaker Spotlight: Jean-Marc Abela

| Contest News

Meet Jean-Marc Abela, 2014 Real Food Media Contest finalist and the filmmaker behind The Gift.

A self-taught documentary filmmaker with 15 years experience, Jean-Marc works as a freelance director/cinematographer. He has completed two independent feature documentaries. In Shugendô Now, he explores man’s relationship to nature through the experiences of Japanese tradition of Shugendô. In Diversidad, he follows a group of young adults who embark on a journey to discover their relationship to the food they eat – scroll to see the trailer below. Jean-Marc has a deep passion for Permaculture and has created several short films on the subject and also teaches workshops on the permaculture design process. His third film currently in development is about Emergence and Living Systems.


When did you first start making films? What is it about film that drew you?

I started in highschool really. From the age of 15 I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker. I liked a few aspects of it and how it incorporates elements of all other art forms. But as I started I naturally tented towards documentary filmmaking because the lifestyle is a natural fit. It really is the school of life – I go out there and explore subjects I want to learn more about, but like school I need to go home, do my homework and edit the film in a way that is interesting for others to watch. So its sums up to learning and sharing which is great fun!


How did you learn about the story you highlighted in your film?

The project was shared to me by my father who thought since I make films about food that I should probably participate. I found Dan Jason through a friend who knows him well and had told me about him many times suggesting I go meet him, so when the opportunity came we connected and after a day of filming we had this film!


What do you hope people walk away from your film thinking about?

The beauty and bounty that nature provides if we just learn to live with it. Those little seeds pack so much potential its incredible! Concretely I hope people then choose to plant good seeds instead of commercial seeds.


What other issues would you have expanded on?

We can go really far with looking at seeds and we see that a feature films do that. Obviously the genetic manipulation and patenting of seeds is very important subject. But I think there are many more aspects of seeds that we as a general public don’t know much about and I look forward to exploring that in the future.


Who inspires you?

Michael Pollan. I really love his books.


Which organizations would you recommend that people can get involved with?

In Canada a great organization around seeds is USC Canada.


What’s next for you – do you have another project in the works?

Yup! Lots:

  • A short film in a similar style about Permaculture
  • A series on cooperatives and explaining how the worker/owner model is very important
  • Documentary on Emergence and the system view of life
  • More short films on seed farmers


Watch The Gift:

The Gift | 2014 Real Food Media Contest Winner from Real Food Media Project on Vimeo.

The Gift stillframe w quote

Also from Jean-Marc, check out:

Diversidad – A Road Trip to Deconstruct Dinner

“Diversidad – A Road Trip to Deconstruct Dinner” is a documentary about a group of young Canadians who got on their bikes to raise awareness of the impacts of the World Trade Organization and industrial agriculture.

From the waterfronts of Vancouver to the mountaintops of Mexico, this is a journey that lifts the veil of youthful idealism. They discover that growing food organically isn’t quite as obvious as they thought for reasons they couldn’t imagine. They see that a lot of inner city families in the US do not have access to fresh food, let alone the opportunity to grow their own. Perhaps their biggest realization is that their point of view on the plight of the undocumented farm workers isn’t quite what they had read about before they left their homes back in Canada. As they travel south they begin to realize that perhaps this journey wasn’t so much about what they had to share with the world, but more about what they had to learn from the world.

Upon their return home, they are confronted by the reality of being part of the system they’re fighting against… Can they practice what they preach?

Diversidad | Trailer from Jean-Marc Abela on Vimeo.


Jean-Marc is based in Montreal. Stay connected and follow his work at

logo_twitter_bird_18x13  @JeanMarcAbela  |  vimeo_logo Jean-Marc Abela  |  instagram logo  jeanmarcabela

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Connect with Sustainability Leaders in Portland

| Events


We’re excited to announce that Contest founder Anna Lappé is delivering a keynote at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference & Expo in Portland, OR on October 26 – 29. Themed Innovation for Sustainable Economies & Communities, the Conference will also feature a keynote from Greenpeace USA Executive Director and “Story of Stuff” creator Annie Leonard. With nearly 2,000 participants, AASHE’s annual conference is the largest gathering of higher education sustainability professionals and students in North America. In one of the most innovative sustainable cities in North America, attendees from around the world will come together at AASHE 2014 to network and share new innovations, activities, frameworks, learning outcomes, tools, strategies, research, theory and leadership initiatives that are changing the face of sustainability on their campus and surrounding communities.

Check out the full schedule for the Conference & Expo

facebook_icon_email_footer Follow announcements and updates on the AASHE 2014 Conference & Expo facebook page

Student Summit

The energy of AASHE Student Summits is infectious and a highlight of the conferences. These summits bring together hundreds of students from around the world to share ideas, ask questions, challenge each other and be inspired by sustainability champions like co-founder Bill McKibben (2011 Student Summit keynote speaker), Solar Mosaic founder Billy Parish (2012 Student Summit keynote speaker) and Fight for Light co-founder Markese Bryant (2013 Student Summit keynote speaker), and this year Contest founder Anna Lappé will be delivering a keynote during the Student Summit.

student summit
Photo: Raj Patel with students at AASHE 2013

These summits are a must for:

  • students just learning about sustainability issues
  • seasoned sustainability student leaders
  • professional development
  • gaining the skills and knowledge to lead the sustainability transformation


Student Summit lineup: Sunday, October 26, 2014

7:00 AM 8:30 AM Registration Opens
8:30 AM 10:00 AM Welcome & Opening Keynote with Andy Keller
10:00 AM 12:00 PM Morning Workshops
12:00 PM 1:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM 3:30 PM Afternoon Workshops
3:30 PM 4:45 PM Closing Keynote with Anna Lappé

* All Student Summit attendees are encouraged to attend the Opening Keynote and Exhibit Hall Reception on Sunday evening.

Please visit this page to view the student summit sessions.

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2015 Real Food Media Contest Winner to be debuted at TEDxManhattan: March 7, 2015

Since its first year in 2011, TEDxManhattan has been creating a powerful platform for stories about innovations in food businesses and sourcing (are insects the future of food?), providing critical information about food workers and what’s happening behind the kitchen door, and – perhaps most importantly – uniting the many growing voices intersecting around issues of fair, safe, and sustainable food to take action and change policy. To date, its videos have now been watched nearly six million times. Our very own Contest founder, Anna Lappé, was a part of the lineup of speakers in 2013.

Change Food logo


TEDxManhattan is a project of Change Food, a non-profit organization helping to shift the U.S. food supply to a regional, sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all. As founder of both, Diane Hatz is building a powerful connection between education and action. Diane believes that together, we can do more – she’s seen it in action. She believes the only way we’re going to create real change in the food system is by building bridges – this is how we will be even more successful in building momentum to amplify the impact and reach of this swelling food movement.

(We couldn’t agree more.)

We are thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2015 Real Food Media Contest will be debuted at TEDxManhattan this year.



Confirmed speakers for the 2015 event include:

  • Joel Berg, Executive Director, NYC Coalition Against Hunger
  • Henry Hargreaves, Photographer
  • Kendra Kimbirauskas, CEO, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project
  • Nikiko Masumoto, Masumoto Family Farm
  • Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
  • Danielle Nierenberg, Co-Founder and President, Food Tank: The Food Think Tank
  • Ali Partovi, Angel investor/advisor, Facebook, DropBox, Flixster, Break Media, Causes, Farmigo & more
  • Stefanie Sacks, Culinary Nutritionist, author, host, “Stirring the Pot” radio show on Hamptons NPR
  • Anim Steel, Director, Real Food Generation
  • Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director, GrowNYC

Can’t be at the event in Manhattan? Host a viewing party!

The full day of talks will be webcast live from NYC, providing access to viewers worldwide. There is no fee associated with hosting an official viewing party, just compliance with TED’s rules. The day is scheduled to allow viewing parties time to hold discussions, bring in local speakers, and sample local foods. Learn more at

More information on remaining speakers and the TEDxManhattan program will be provided as details are finalized.

Read the press release here.

Change Food is a media partner with the Real Food Media Contest – don’t miss out on all the great resources through newsletters, the Guide to Good Food blog, and upcoming events with Change Food.

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Study with Gustolab Institute Center for Food Studies

Announcing an exciting opportunity from Real Food Media Contest Ambassador, Gustolab Institute Center for Food Studies:



Looking for a place to do your Food Studies research project or (masters) thesis work?

Gustolab Institute Center for Food Studies is always looking for engaged and motivated graduate students. To apply, you should have finished your undergraduate studies, or you should be able to finish within a short time. Your background should be in Food Studies, Food Science, Environmental Studies, Economics, Political Science, Design and Critical Thinking, Food Education and Pedagogy, Urban and Community Planning, Communication and Media, Nutrition, Biology or related (food) areas. You will be part of one of our research groups that works within your area of interest. Graduate students from every part of the world are accepted.

This is a unique opportunity for students to display their talent within our field of research, on international research projects about Food Systems, Food Education and Pedagogy, Food Security and Food & Culture and to collaborate with some of our partners in the food field: FAO, BCFN Foundation, AMIExpo, SlowFood, Cerealia Festival, other U.S. University food-oriented research centers.



  • An international research and study environment
  • Individual supervision and mentoring
  • Modern facilities
  • Support, supervision, mentoring can be provided at distance (you can develop your research project in your country – we will help you and suggest how to collect your data, we will support you to organize your data, and we will work together on reporting your research results, and to give them visibility thanks to the collaboration with our academic and private partners)



We do not offer scholarships. We strongly believe in “collaborative and distance” work that is possible thanks to ICT technologies – so feel free to apply even if you don’t live and work in Rome. In addition, we help and support students and collaborators to apply for and obtain scholarships and grants (reference letter, research proposal, etc).


Gustolab is currently looking for:

Graduate students – specifically but not limited to Asia, Africa, South America and North America – with interest in food systems, methods for creating training for policy makers in the food field, educational assessments, urban and community planning, food security, food waste, sustainable agriculture, food design.


How to apply:

If you are interested in joining one of our research projects, contact our or write directly to the GL Institute Director, Dr. Sonia Massari at by August 31, 2014.



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Under the Mango Tree

| Films We Like

We have big respect for Katrina and the team behind Under the Mango Tree – this story and the services the clinic provides are absolutely critical. Let’s support our community-based storytellers, folks. If you can help push them to the finish line with your support, please do! And as always, spread the word.

Connect + spread the word >> Indiegogo | Facebook | Twitter

Before David Abdulai reached the age of 10, he lost both parents and all ten siblings to poverty-related diseases. He survived the streets of Tamale, Ghana by scrounging in trash bins and sleeping in the dirt. With fierce determination, he put himself through high school and eventually graduated from medical school. He returned to Tamale to found Shekhinah Clinic in 1991. The following year, he launched a meals-on-wheels program that now feeds over 150 of the town’s destitute each day, most of whom suffer from mental illness. The program has created peace in the town and is just one of the programs at Shekhinah, which provides unconditionally free medical care to anyone who needs it, no questions asked.

Watch the video above to meet Dr. Abdulai and see the food program in action.

The clinic has limited access to resources, relying only on spontaneous donations from inspired visitors. Since the economy tanked, they receive fewer donations. The goal of this film is to create a lasting piece of media that can be used by multiple parties – the clinic, nonprofits, student activists, etc.  to tell the story of the clinic and inspire viewers to donate to its critical work. 

We’ve raised significant funds already and just need one extra push to get this project off the ground. We have traveled to Ghana and finished shooting the film, and now we’re ready for post-production – all the technical components that it takes to make this story shine.

The Director/Producer of Under the Mango Tree, Katrina Moore, was so inspired by Dr. Abdulai and the clinic staff that she has spent the past 1.5 years bringing this story to the screen. The goal is to edit the film to about 25 minutes to be used for the clinic’s fundraising and outreach efforts.

What We Need & What You Get

This film can make a huge difference to Shekhinah Clinic’s staff and patients. Storytelling is a powerful persuasion, and sharing the story of Dr. Abdulai and the clinic can unlock doors for funding and partnerships worldwide – partnerships that could sustain the clinic for generations to come. This story must be told, and we need $10,000 to get us over that last hump. The funds will be used to pay all of the talented and skilled people involved in finishing this film, and your contribution will get us there. For a film, even a short one, $10,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the millions poured into big-budget documentaries. 

Check out the perks!

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Let’s Get Growing Cities on PBS!

| Films We Like

by Dan Susman – Director, Growing Cities

Most of us have heard about the problems in agriculture, from GMOs and CAFOs to aging farmers and mad cows. But, what all these acronyms and stats don’t add up to is change. So, about four years ago, my friend Andrew Monbouquette and I decided it was time to showcase positive stories of people transforming the food system from the ground up. And this is what our inspiring new documentary film, Growing Cities, is all about.

The film follows us as we travel the US, visiting the people who are challenging the way this country grows its food, one vacant city lot and backyard chicken coop at a time. From Detroit to Des Moines we’ve found urban agriculture has remarkable power on many levels—it connects people to their food, strengthens communities, revitalizes blighted areas and much more.

With 80% of our population now considered urban, we have a unique challenge of educating people about farming, when we’ve moved further away from it than ever. In fact, I believe one of the biggest obstacles we face in bringing good food to the table of public consciousness is the stories we tell.

You can help Dan and Growing Cities spread good food stories to millions on PBS by supporting their Kickstarter

After four years traveling around the country we know there are good food heroes in every community. Nonetheless, most people only know about the celebrity foodies, like Michael Pollan, Will Allen, and Alice Waters – who, don’t get me wrong, are all doing incredible work, but it’s important for people understand, the work of the good food movement can and is happening everywhere.

While many are still flocking to the good food movement’s hotbeds, like the Bay Area and New York City, more and more farmers and good food advocates are putting down roots in their own smaller hometowns. For instance, in Omaha, Nebraska, where I’m from, a collective of young people came together to form Big Muddy Urban Farm, which has a 25-member CSA and grows on vacant lots throughout the city. In the heart of industrial farming country, these farmers are a wonderful example for residents, many of whom don’t know a CSA from a GMO — which, let’s be honest, is probably true for a majority of Americans.

To me, this is our blueprint for changing the food system— we must branch out and work in the places that need it most, often in our own backyards. As Eugene Cook, a farmer in Atlanta, says in the film, “Grow something: grow where you are.”

Please help Growing Cities spread these inspiring farmers’ stories to millions on PBS! Learn more and donate on their Kickstarter page:


Meet the Filmmaker

Dan Susman (Director, Growing Cities): Dan has lived, breathed, and eaten urban agriculture over the past three years making Growing Cities. He has visited countless urban farms and food projects across the country and worked with many leaders in the sustainable agriculture movement. He is also the co-founder of Truck Farm Omaha, an edible education project which teaches local youth about sustainable farming and healthy foods.  

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This weekend! GreenFeen Juneteenth Summit in Brooklyn

Bridge11Registered guests receive a one-night hotel stay courtesy of our sponsor She Soars.

For a full description from the event website:

DiorNoel is the founder of GreenFeen, a startup recycling company designed to teach a sustainable culture. As an active member in her community DiorNoel will bring representatives from her networks to help Bridge the Gap for Juneteenth Summit.

Intergenerational relationships are accomplished through action. This summit will coordinate the various skills people have to build a greater network that help sustain local economies with an emphasis on old and new knowledge. By organizing people with common goals, DiorNoel uses her degree in Urban Sustainability to promote human interconnection.

Juneteenth is a nationally celebrated commemoration marking the official end of slavery in the United States. Although President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 that the Union soldiers landed in Texas with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were now truly free.

To celebrate the past, present, and future experience of the African Diaspora, community activist DiorNoel will host the first Juneteenth Summit to include panel discussions, live performances, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs.

We celebrate the PAST by highlighting the farmer with a short-film screening from 2014 finalists of the Real Food Media Contest. We will also feature Executive Chef Linda Chesterfield who will do a healthy cooking demo. We celebrate the PRESENT with a mixer including young and seasoned professionals. We celebrate the FUTURE with a panel discussion on Sustainability and what it really means to cultivate this for the future.

The Professional is a person seasoned in their field of work, displaying advanced skill and the ability to educate the next set of employees. You are the leadership young professionals look to for guidance! Join us and become a team leader during our mentoring breakout sessions where your invaluable knowledge can help inspire younger generations.

The Young Professional is a person eager to learn more about their field by displaying ingenuity and passion for becoming a future leader. Whether you are in high-school, college, or a recent graduate YOU are the inspiration children look up to when they see your success! Join us for our mentoring breakout sessions where you have the opportunity to network and build your future.

Tickets are sold at


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Announcing: Pop-up Film Festivals

| Contest News

Exciting news, folks. (Cue exciting news official drumroll…)


The Real Food Media Contest Finalist Films are coming to a theater – or backyard, or rooftop, or living room – near you!

We’re rolling out a new feature to bring you this year’s finalists in one seamless digital reel. Plus a packed event guide to get the ball rolling, complete with:

  • An event planning checklist – We see you, type A folks, and we have a list just for you to check off. (You’re welcome.)
  • A discussion guide to follow the screening and spark up conversation
  • A spotlight on local action in your community
  • Social media starters to spread the #realfood word


We’re excited to share these stories far and wide. Let’s put a spotlight on the strategies and solutions that place sustainable food systems front and center. Here’s to a more just and sustainable world – one field and plate at a time.




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San Francisco Green Film Festival: Ticket Giveaway!

| Community Prizes

Join the San Francisco Green Film Festival at the Roxie Theater this weekend! We’re thrilled to count the SF Green Film Festival among our media partners for the Real Food Media Contest this year. The film festival kicked off this week in San Francisco and they’ve offered up tickets to a few lucky winners of the Real Food Media Contest community.

To win tickets to Seeds of Time or Lunch Love Community,
EMAIL US >> christina<at>smallplanet<dot>org
Please indicate which film you’d like to attend in the subject line.

This is a first come, first serve opportunity!

*This post will be updated as tickets are claimed.*
Tickets for both films are still available.

Lunch Love Community

Helen De Michiel, USA, 2012, 90 min

Sunday, June 1, 1:00pm (SF Premiere)
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., San Francisco

Fighting childhood obesity starts at school, Berkeley teachers have found. Focused on the real-life experience of community advocates and food professionals that have worked with educators in Berkeley, CA, this is an interactive session using short films and expert discussion to inspire change in the way kids eat. Watch the film and join an interactive discussion with Lunch Love Community at the San Francisco Green Film Festival on June 1.


Seeds of Time

Sandy McLeod, USA/Denmark/Italy/Norway/Peru/Russia, 2013, 76 min

Monday, June 2, 6:00pm (California Premiere)
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., San Francisco

A perfect storm is brewing as agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler races against time to protect the future of our food. Join the film screening and discussion following with: Sandy McCleod, director, Cary Fowler (film’s subject), Greg Dalton, Climate One at the Commonwealth Club.


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Real Food Media Contest is BACK for Round 2!

| Contest News

Sekita Ekrek Entertainment PR
202 415 6560

Food Stars Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Alice Waters Join Judging Panel to Select Top Digital Super Shorts on Sustainable Food
SAN FRANCISCO — April 22, 2014 — Stories about sustainable food are popping up everywhere as more Americans seek a deeper understanding of the nation’s food system. The Real Food Media Project is celebrating this interest with a call for entries beginning today to its second annual competition of digital super-short food films.

The 2015 Real Food Media Contest invites a new crop of digital submissions from 30-seconds to four minutes that tell unique food stories, with original voices and creative cinematography. Diverse formats for submission range from documentary to advocacy and experimental. This year’s contest also seeks animated submissions in honor of the 10th anniversary of The Meatrix, a digital short on factory farms watched 20 million times to date. Entries must be submitted online at by 12 pm PST on January 5th, 2015.

“Last year’s inaugural contest was a resounding success,” says Anna Lappé, director of the Real Food Media Project, and award-winning author and sustainability advocate. “The 156 submissions from 26 states featured content from 19 countries and were a testament to the powerful stories about food, farming, and community around the world. The more great minds we have thinking about these issues and producing creative ways to deliver the messages, the better.”

A panel of food and film luminaries will select the top films and the public will vote online for the “People’s Choice Award,” starting February 3rd, 2015. Winners will be announced in early March 2015.

Contest judges include:

  • Thelma Adams, Yahoo! Movies contributing editor
  • Michel Nischan, President and CEO, Wholesome Wave
  • Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of A Place at the Table
  • Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, co-founders, Food52
  • Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post chief film critic
  • Byron Hurt, director and producer, Soul Food Junkies
  • Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author, actress, model, and television host
  • Jamie Oliver Food Foundation USA
  • Michael Pollan, journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • Aarón Sanchez, award-winning chef, cookbook author and judge on Food Network’s “Chopped”
  • Eric Schlosser, journalist and author, Fast Food Nation
  • Susan Ungaro, President, James Beard Foundation
  • Alice Waters, owner, Chez Panisse, founder, The Edible Schoolyard Project
  • Emily Zweber, organic farmer, first AgChat Foundation executive director


“More and more people are curious about the story behind their food,” says Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of A Place at the Table. “The Real Food Media Project’s short films competition inspires filmmakers to make creative short films and provides a platform to get these important stories seen and heard by a huge audience. We can’t wait to see the new crop of films.”

The contest seeks entries that bring a fresh take on a topic of the filmmaker’s choosing or respond to the following style prompts: Documentarystyle shorts focused on a local food hero or showcasing an innovative community food project; advocacy shorts that take on diverse themes, from food workers rights to junk food marketing to kids; and experimentalentries that bring to life the concept “you are what you eat.” For more information about submission guidelines, visit

The Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000 and distribution opportunities with the contest’s media partners, including the Food and Farm Film Festival, Disposable Film Festival, GOOD, Slow Food USA, James Beard Foundation, Food Book Fair, and more. Other cash prizes will be awarded along with prizes for Best Cinematography, Best Student Film, Best Underreported Issue, Best Food Producer Profile, and Best Innovative Initiative Profile.
The 2014 award-winning films – including stories of oregano farmers in Mexico, youth gardeners in the Bronx, and a family raising hogs sustainably in North Carolina – are currently touring in the Real Food Media Project’s Pop-Up Film Festival. More information can be found at


The Contest is directed by leading sustainability advocate and award-winning author Anna Lappé and is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project, a national initiative to spread the story of our food with creative movies, an online film contest, a web-based action center and grassroots events. The Project’s mission is to educate, inspire, and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming around the country and the world. Visit to learn more about the Contest and to enter the competition. Follow us on Twitter, @realfoodfilms, and like us on Facebook, at realfoodmediaproject.


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OUR LAND: a Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century

| Events, Farming

If the Real Food Contest finalist film OUR LAND resonated with you – here’s your chance to discuss the issues at the heart of farmland access today with leading voices in the field. A truly important event — not to be missed. If you’re in or near the Bay Area, see the full lineup of speakers and events throughout the weekend. The OUR LAND series is the comprehensive look into the real challenges and creative frontiers for new farmers, led by Severine v T Fleming and the Agrarian Trust.

OUR LAND: a Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century

April 26 + 27, Berkeley CA

Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley and the David Brower Center


Agrarian Trust, a program of the Schumacher Center for New Economics, is pleased to announce the schedule for the 2014 Symposium on Farmland Access in the 21st Century: OUR LAND.

In the next 20 years, an estimated 400 million acres of farmland will change hands as 70% of current farmland owners retire. Meanwhile, entering farmers struggle to compete with non-farming landowners for access to prime farmland, particularly in peri-urban areas. This dilemma of farmland succession is shared by Greyhairs and Greenhorns alike, who all hope for a more sustainable and resilient farming future.

We will examine this imminent inflection point from historical, ecological and political economy perspectives, and address both practical and philosophical approaches to transition. With both national and international speakers joining to reflect on this topic, we expect a full room and a lively convening of stakeholders.

Speakers include:

  • Joel Salatin
  • Kathy Ruhf
  • Gary Nabhan
  • Gloria Robinson
  • Wes Jackson
  • Raj Patel
  • Gayle Mclaughlin
  • Anuradha Mittal
  • Elizabeth Henderson
  • Eric Holt Gimenez
  • Reggie Knox
  • Severine v T Fleming.



Through the lenses of history, ecology, political economy and direct experience, our speakers will address both practical and philosophical approaches to transition.  As a nation we face a landmark decision; we can lose our land to commodification, toxic monoculture and corporate concentration, or we can move this land into sustainable, regional food production with more farmers, more owners, more regional resilience.

Please join us on April 26 + 27 to join the conversation about farmland access and transition.

This event is presented in partnership with Chelsea Green Publishing, The David Brower Center, Berkeley Food Institute, California FarmLink and Roots of Change.

All lectures will be recorded as podcasts for farmers and others who cannot make it in person. To get the lectures, join the email list.

Read up on the event details and reserve your ticket today at 



Severine v T Fleming, Managing Co-Founder, Agrarian Trust

Kristen Loria, Events Coordinator, Agrarian Trust

office (at) agrariantrust (dot) org


Please join us. For event details and to reserve your ticket:

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Three Cheers For Our 2014 Judges

| Judges

Big thanks are in order for the incredible panel of judges who helped us launch the first year of the Real Food Media Contest. We truly appreciate the insight and vision you brought to the table. Glad to be grounded by such an inspiring group of storytellers and changemakers.

Get involved with the 2014 Real Food Media Contest Judges’ projects:




Mom and organic farmer are the most important of Emily’s many titles and hats she wears on a daily basis. Emily and her husband co-own and operate a fourth generation organic dairy farm with her in-laws. The Zwebers are Organic Valley farmer owners. The Zweber Farm is nestled in the rolling hills of South East Minnesota where it is home to the family farm, lush pastures, and ample natural wildlife. The Zwebers have three children ages 6, 4, and 2 that keep Emily quite busy. In addition to the farm, Emily serves as the executive director of the AgChat Foundation, an organization that empowers farmers and ranchers to use social media. You can find Emily’s blog at



PhD, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California

Johanna Blakley, PhD, is the managing director and director of research at the Norman Lear Center, a media think tank at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. Johanna has two talks on as well as a TEDx talk about measuring the impact of the documentary film Food, Inc. In partnership with the Gates Foundation and the Knight Foundation, she has just launched the Media Impact Project, a major effort to improve methods for evaluating the social impact of media.



Academy Award-nominated director, Food Inc.

Director Robert Kenner has won an array of awards and garnered rave reviews for his documentary work exposing some of today’s least talked of, but most impactful, social and environmental issues. His documentary, Food Inc., was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Emmy for Best Documentary. After Food Inc., Kenner launched FixFood, a social media action project. He is currently at work on a new documentary for Participant Media that examines a playbook of tactics used to sow doubt about public safety issues.



Director and producer, Soul Food Junkies

Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer, and anti-sexist activist. Hurt is also the former host of the Emmy-nominated series, Reel Works with Byron Hurt. His documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and broadcast nationally on PBS’ Emmy-award winning series Independent Lens. Byron’s latest film, Soul Food Junkies, won the CNN Best Documentary Award at the American Black Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. Soul Food Junkies aired nationally on PBS’s Emmy-Award winning series Independent Lens in January and April 2013.



Cookbook author, actress, model and television host

Padma Parvati Lakshmi’s debut cookbook Easy Exotic won her the “Best First Book” award at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She has been the host of the U.S. reality television program Top Chef since 2006, for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. In 2010, Top Chef won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.



Chez Panisse and The Edible Schoolyard Project

Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant, has championed local, sustainable farms for over four decades. She is also the founder of The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, a model public education program that integrates edible education into the core curriculum, and brings children into a new relationship to food with hands-on planting, harvesting, and cooking. The mission of her non-profit organization, The Edible Schoolyard Project, is to gather and share the lessons and best practices of school gardens, kitchens, and edible education programs worldwide. Waters is also the author of ten books including 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering, The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution and The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea.



Executive director of the Sundance Institute

Keri Putnam is the Executive Director of the non-profit Sundance Institute, overseeing the Institute’s annual Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Feature Film, Documentary, Film Music, Theatre and Native & Indigenous Programs. Before joining Sundance, Putnam served as President of Production, Miramax Films and Executive Vice President, HBO Films.



Journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma

Michael Pollan is the author of five books: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Second Nature, A Place of My Own, The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food. A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazinesince 1987, Pollan is also the James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. His writing on food and agriculture has won numerous awards, including the Reuters/World Conservation Union Global Award in Environmental Journalism, the James Beard Award, and the Genesis Award from the American Humane Association.



Journalist and author, Fast Food Nation

Eric Schlosser is an award-winning journalist and a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. His work has also appeared in Rolling StoneVanity FairThe Nation, and The New Yorker, among others. He is the author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Command and Control.



The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that works to bring food education to schools and youth groups, businesses and communities through raising awareness and hands-on training. We raise awareness through the media to galvanize policy changes at a local and national level. |

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Food Book Fair: Ticket Giveaway

| Community Prizes

Hey, NYC! Get your spring on at Food Book Fair

Nothing says spring in NYC like strolling through the inspiration and delicious local fares of chefs, farmers, artists, writers, designers and food innovators. Find them ALL in one place April 25-27 at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg!

The Third Annual Food Book Fair brings people together to celebrate the intersection between food culture and food systems. This year’s three-day fair spans a pop-up bookstore opening April 18 with more than 200 books, 20-plus food magazines, 60 visionaries, panel discussions, a film screening, pop-up brew pub AND pop-up farm, an entrepreneurial resource clinic, and our second annual Pitch Competition.


Food Book fair is offering tickets to lucky Real Food Media Project winners

Sign up for one or all below!
Enter each drawing by clicking on the event title.

We won’t use your name or email for anything other than the ticket giveaway.

You must enter your name by midnight PDT on Monday, April 21 to be entered in the drawing. Winners will be notified by email on Tuesday, April 22.

Food + Film : Fed Up Screening

Presented by Rodale Books

Laurie David, Author, The Family Cooks
Paul Holdengraber, Director, Live from New York Public Library

The Food Book Fair will host the first New York screening of the documentary “Fed Up followed by a Q&A with Executive Producer Laurie David. A film that upends the conventional wisdom of why we gain weight and how to lose it, “Fed Up” reveals a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history. David will also discuss her new book, The Family Cooks.

Book signing to follow in Wythe Library (12:00-12:30PM)


Food + Farming + Scale Panel

Margaret Gray, Author, Labor and the Locavore
Scott Chaskey, Author, Seedtime
Theresa Marquez, Mission Executive, Organic Valley

As a community awareness with regards to the sustainable food movement grows, the question of scalabilty becomes ever more pertinent. How can local, organic food be made accessible on a larger scale? Does that goal detract from the very mission of keeping food production on a small scale? How can a balance be reached? Come hash out some of these questions with some industry experts.


Food + Social Entrepreneurship Session

Sunday, April 27, 2:00PM – 3:00PM

The acts of preparing, serving, and eating food are some of humanity’s simplest forms of community. The locally- and socially-engaged aspects of cooking and dining are often challenged by the industrial scale of contemporary food production.

A natural launchpad for enterprise, small food and drink establishments are an ideal vehicle to employ socially conscious practices. Entrepreneurs, writers, and editors will engage in conversation over how to create and maintain business with this focus.

Special guests include:

  • Ellen Gustafson, Co-Founder of FEED and Food Tank, Author of We the Eaters
  • Christophe Hille, CFO, Northern Spy Food Co. and Fleisher’s Grass-fed Organic Meats
  • Steve Hindy, Co-Founder of Brooklyn Brewery, Author of TheCraft Beer Revolution
  • Moderated by Alex Postman, Executive Editor, Rodale Books
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COMMUNITY VOICES: Documentary Film Screening | Orange, CA

| Ambassadors, Events

Ambassador spotlight on the fantastic work coming out of Chapman University and the Community Voices program led by Sally Rubin. If you’re in the Orange / Anaheim / Los Angeles area — head on over to Dodge College for what is bound to be a meaningful night and an inspiring event.

“The power of documentary portraiture to convey the nuance and subtlety of human experience is undeniable. The Community Voices program offers our students the opportunity to explore this magic while simultaneously being of direct and impactful service to the causes they care about right here at home, in Orange County.”
– Sally Rubin


COMMUNITY VOICES Documentary Film Screening

Thursday, 5/12 at 7pm

Folino Theater, Dodge College


Community Voices is a social issue documentary film program that links Chapman University documentary film students with Orange-County based organizations. Each semester, groups of students produce short character-driven portrait films that highlight causes the partner organizations aim to serve. The films are then used in the outreach and fundraising campaigns of these organizations, and are distributed via PBS broadcast, online streaming, educational distributors, and festival release. Community Voices films have won numerous festival awards and accolades, and have been seen by tens of thousands of television viewers in Southern California. Please join us as we celebrate these students and partner organizations. The screening will be followed by a panel with the filmmakers and a reception featuring delicious, FREE food.


Screening Details:

Thursday, May 12th at 7pm
Dodge College
283 North Cypress Street, Orange, CA 92866
On street parking is available
No RSVP necessary
Contact with questions



Films include:


by Andrea Suleiman, Yvette Chou, and Nayobi Maldonado-Ochoa
Organization: Goodwill OC
This film tells the story of Roger, an Orange County resident who, plagued by bipolar disorder and a difficult past, struggles to overcome the demons that keep him from the satisfying, independent life of his dreams.



by Sarah Huffman, Matt Rogers, and Rachel Howell
Organization: Mental Health Association of Orange County
A homeless woman with an artistic gift tries to get her life back on track, in the face of many odds.



by Carmen Carrillo, Joey Fischground, and Nicholas McDonald
Organization: Achievement Institute of Scientific Studies
A high school junior crams for the SAT’s while trying to help raise her family, the fulfillment of her college dreams resting on the outcome of one exam.



by Marisol Diaz, Chris Denton, and Colin Arp
Organization: Old Orchard Conservancy
An Orange County activist fights to save the last orange orchard in the county from development.



by Casey Acaster, Sydney Guthrie, and Shaneika Lai
Organization: The Wyland Foundation
An Orange County activist fights to save the last orange orchard in the county from development.



by Michael Gutierrez and Megan McKeown
Organization: El Viento
As the United States rests on the cusp of substantial immigration reform, one young man considers whether or not to pursue the benefits behind the DREAM Act.

With many thanks to The Dhont Family Foundation for their generous support of the Community Voices initiative.


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Filmmaker Spotlight: Brendan Van Meter and Stephen Ritz of Green Bronx Machine

| Ambassadors, Contest News

Green Bronx Machine - Brendan Van Meter

Brendan Van Meter, Beaconhouse Media

Meet Brendan Van Meter and Stephen Ritz behind the 2014 1st Runner Up and People’s Choice Award Winner, Green Bronx Machine. The energy and passion the Green Bronx Machine sends out into the world is contagious. Read on for your dose of Green-Bronx-powered inspiration.


When did you first start making films? What is it about film that drew you?

Brendan: I’m a lifelong filmmaker. I started at home with my brother, Ryan, continued through Chaminade high school’s ETV program and on through college at RIT’s School of Film & Animation. Ryan introduced me to Diane Hatz in 2010 and along with lots of help from my team, I directed the video production for the first TEDxManhattan in 2011. This was probably my first introduction to the Food Movement and the catalyst to the growth of my company, Beaconhouse Media.


How did you learn about the project and people you highlighted in your film?

Brendan: I first learned about Stephen Ritz and Green Bronx Machine the same way lots of people learned about him: through the screen at TEDxManhattan 2012. The difference is that I could look over the top of my screen and see him jumping around the stage as he said things like “the biggest 6th grader you’ll ever meet.” He kept all my camera operators in constant motion and my focus had to stay on screen. Stephen received a standing ovation and we jokingly say it was love at first bite!



Stephen Ritz, Green Bronx Machine

When I saw the Urban Farming NYC and Welcome to Green Bronx Machine videos, I knew there was a local story of national importance worth telling in their words. Remarkably, our film is just a starting point. Since filming at that location, Stephen and his students have gone on to install BOTH indoor and outdoor academic learning gardens that have transformed the entire community; in fact, they’ve outfitted numerous schools across the Bronx and America! For them, it is all about the work and all in the delivery. The program is literally putting food on the table, putting people to work, inspiring students and teachers and changing destinies, lives and outcomes.

The fact that we won the People’s Choice Award speaks to the energy, enthusiasm and Amer-I-Can spirit that they are spreading. The mission and work of Green Bronx Machine are impacting people, schools and communities around the world while branding the Bronx and Stephen’s students in a unique way. It shows people moving up the food chain from consumers to producers! To see the interest and support speaks to a whole new reality and more importantly, entirely new possibilities for people and communities everywhere. Stephen is right when he says this is about growing citizens moving those who are “apart from” to becoming “a part of” in ways that benefit all of society. That was the story I was determined to share.

Robin Romano filmed the interview segments, but unfortunately passed away in November 2013. He was a documentary filmmaker, still photographer and a champion of human rights who was “recognized as a global expert on child labor and spoke frequently at conventions, conferences, and as a guest lecturer at universities.” Robin, Stephen and the boys actually became very close and enjoyed working together both in the studio and in the field. They had hoped to create a running series highlighting their work.

His passing was devastating to all of us. That we were able to incorporate his footage into this piece and create a film that was recognized and so well received is a fitting tribute.

Watch Green Bronx Machine:


What do you hope people walk away from your film thinking about?

Brendan: Stephen and his students are truly making a difference. Our film was a simple one: short takes from on the spot interviews while doing their work. It was in-the-moment with a message that anything is possible. Their movement, as local as local can get, was born in a classroom and with a simple desire to impact lives. It teaches us that folks anywhere and everywhere can be the solution.

Stephen’s enthusiasm for his work, his students and the improvement  and empowerment of his community is unparalleled and an inspiration to everyone. Food is a problem for so many people in our country and around the world. I hope more people will see how food can be a solution, how it can change lives and how it can change what sometimes seems like predetermined outcomes. I hope this inspires people to find, start or build up solutions in their community.

Stephen: We want people to walk away thinking about how they can get involved, how they can make a difference, how transformation is absolutely possible — and how it is up to individuals at the most local and granular levels to initiate and be the change they want to see in their lives. If all my students are willing and able, so should everyone else! We are the folks we’ve been waiting for! This movement, spirit and moment are replicable and the work is damn worthy!


What are the main themes you’re trying to bring to life in your film?

Brendan: Our themes are hope, optimism, people power, self-determination and change: that committed people have the ability to change their own and others lives. There is a joy to what Stephen and his students are doing; a spirit, a sense of resilience and endless resourcefulness. We wanted this film to be as authentic and genuine as possible – entirely unscripted; a slice of what they do and why. When Stephen says he is CEO – Chief Eternal Optimist – of Bronx County – he means it.

Stephen: Many folks look around and ask, “Why?” We believe, “Why not?” We believe that people should not have to leave their neighborhood to live, learn and earn in a better one – we’re taking ownership. This film shows that. We intended to represent “the real.” Our hope and goal is to inspire people to perspire and to aspire – that we will create an actionable moment for everyone, everywhere! We wanted to convey our positive insurgency and passion!


What inspires you?

Brendan: What inspires Stephen is the work, his students and his family – all of his family from his own to his extended student and community family. And he believes they are just getting started. His work, vision and mission are growing support that is absolutely inspiring to all of us! With that brings tremendous responsibility and commitment and they welcome that. It all starts with people and it all starts with planting seeds.

Stephen: I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my community. Collectively we are working on a platform of collaboration and coalition to affect and effect changes top down and bottom up; locally, nationally and internationally. This is about cultivating minds and harvesting hope. Students who show up to school on a daily basis inspire me. Teachers who teach students that where they learn matters – regardless of zip code – inspire me. Parents who encourage students and read to them at night inspire me. People who encourage others to dream of life as it could be and should be inspire me. Veterans, senior citizens, volunteers, farmers, homesteaders, equity warriors – people who want to make a difference inspire me. Every single morning and every single breath inspires me! We’ve got work to do! How can we inspire you? 


What’s next for you – what other projects are in the works?

Brendan: We dream of a larger documentary and reality show documenting the growth and challenges of the students, program and possibilities. We’d love to film an updated short sharing what we’ve accomplished thus far, all based on the first film. Meanwhile Stephen speaks nationally and internationally looking to grow his work and impact working around his local school and work commitments. We are all excited about the Green Schools National Convention and Greenbuild 2014. I’m going to continue to work with Stephen Ritz and Green Bronx Machine to spread their mission. I will also continue working with Diane Hatz, TEDxManhattan & Change Food.

Stephen: We have several projects in the works: from building community gardens to building out schools – locally, across the country and abroad – to creating online and digital platforms to teach the technology and share best practices. I’m thrilled to be working with the US Green Building Council, Center for Green Schools and Green Schools National Network. Green Bronx Machine is soon to be featured in an Office Depot spot highlighting exemplar teachers and my work was recently featured in Katrina Fried’s Welcome Books Publication, American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom highlighting top teachers in America.


How can people get involved?

Stephen: At the end of the day, this is about raising healthy children and healthy communities rooted in the absolute fact that it is easier to raise healthy children than to fix broken men. Youth who have access to one kind, caring and competent adult in their life are more likely to succeed. We urge you to be a kind, caring, competent, dedicated adult in a child’s life. Do something spectacular – you’ll feel better! Feel free to reach out to us at – we always have a project going on and there is always something to be done. We like to say Green Bronx Machine is coming to a city near you soon – we are!

We want to thank everyone who has and continues to support us – the love has been amazing. We congratulate and salute all the entrants for amazing work – collectively we watched and discussed every entry – we were truly inspired and therein lies the true victory for everybody. Continue to imagine and invent life as it could be and should be: Remember, together, we can all prosper!


Brendan and Stephen are based in the New York City area. Stay connected and follow their work at, and


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Food system career started with a single bite

| Contest News

Ambassador Spotlight:
Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz

We’re proud to partner with Tim and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz — leading the way for campuses and communities across the country to make real strides toward sustainable sourcing.

by Harry Mok
Originally posted on UC Newsroom, 3/6/14

Tim Galarneau

Photo credit: Carolyn Lagattuta/UC Santa Cruz

Can a tomato change your life?

For UC Santa Cruz’s Tim Galarneau, his first bite of a ripe heirloom tomato was an epiphany — one that put him on the path to becoming one of the chief architects and a champion of UC’s sustainable food movement.

“I had never eaten tomatoes like that. Growing up, I was used to those translucent beefsteak tomatoes,” Galarneau said. “Here are these wild purple things that looked like a Rorschach blot. I bit into it and there was an explosion of flavor.”

Galarneau was a teenager living in suburban Albany, N.Y., when he visited his uncle’s Santa Barbara ranch and tasted fresh, handpicked produce for the first time.

His astonishment led to an interest in agriculture, food systems and how they are tied to environmental, economic, labor and social issues. He moved west for college and ended up at UC Santa Cruz, where beginning in 2002 he was instrumental in student movements to support sustainable practices and transform the campus dining halls into a model for sustainable food service.

Path to sustainability

“There was no going back once I came here. I found my path in life,” said Galarneau, who is now a food systems education and research specialist at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

As an undergraduate, Galarneau helped lead a campaign that passed a student referendum for a self-imposed fee that raises $250,000 annually for sustainability projects and programs.

After graduating, Galarneau advised and supported subsequent efforts to pass student referendums to fund additional sustainability initiatives, including programs for implementing sustainable food and farming practices on campus.

The campaigns fostered a culture of collaboration that helped UC Santa Cruz change its practices, Galarneau said. Part of that was the effort to develop a sustainable purchasing policy for campus dining halls.

UC Santa Cruz dropped the outside contractor that operated its dining facilities for more than 30 years. The campus began managing its own food service and created a pioneering program that established goals for buying food that is locally sourced, organic, fair trade and produced in a humane manner.

Spurred on by that success, Galarneau and others throughout the UC system set their sights on other campuses. In 2009, their efforts led to a university-wide sustainable food policy that includes sustainable food procurement, waste reduction and facility efficiency goals.

The policy commits UC campuses and medical centers to purchasing at least 20 percent of their food from sustainable or local sources by 2020. As a result, UC locations now offer more healthy meal options and work to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.

‘The Alice Waters of campus foodies’

Galarneau’s impact has not gone unnoticed. Mother Jones magazine has called him, “the Alice Waters of a burgeoning movement of campus foodies,” and, in 2011, the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference named him the UC Sustainability Champion.

Galarneau’s activism has spread beyond the University of California.

In 2010, Galarneau co-founded the Central Coast School Food Alliance, a partnership between UC Santa Cruz, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County that promotes nutrition education and access to healthy, fresh food for children in the region.

Galarneau was also a facilitator for 40 Garden Enhanced Nutrition Education trainings across the state to more than 2,000 K-12 school staff members and educators. The UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology partnered on the farm-to-school training project with the California Department of Education’s Nutrition Services, the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis, the Resource Conservation District of San Diego County and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers.

Nationally, Galarneau helped launch the Real Food Challenge, which aims to convince thousands of universities and colleges across the country to set goals to buy 20 percent of their food from sustainable sources by 2020. The shift in purchasing would drive roughly $1 billion more annually toward sustainable food production by the next decade.

All the work is an effort to build community engagement and leadership to combat the more than $4 billion a year spent on food advertising, much of it marketing junk and processed foods to young people, Galarneau said.

“Schools don’t have $4 billion to market healthy and sustainable food options,” Galarneau said.

The constant barrage of food ads makes it even more important that schools can offer healthier alternatives, Galarneau said. And the foods themselves often provide a learning opportunity.

UC Santa Cruz’s dining halls, for example, pioneered events such as Healthy Mondays, an offshoot of a national Meatless Monday initiative, and Farm Fridays, which brings farmers to campus to talk about how produce is grown.

Students enjoy a healthy meal, and in the process, learn about where their food has come from. And they gain a better understanding about why sustainable and locally sourced food is better for their health and the environment, Galarneau said.

“The more we provide the story behind food systems and the connections, the more people see where they fit in the food system and the more they see what kind of food system they want to be part of,” Galarneau said.

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Filmmaker Spotlight: Meet Daniel & Mirra of The Perennial Plate

| Contest News

Meet Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, the filmmakers behind The Perennial Plate and creators of Homeward,’ Grand Prize winner of the 2014 Real Food Media Contest. 

When did you first start making films? What is it about film that drew you?

Daniel: I made my first film in 2005-6 with my brothers and cousin – we traveled from Cairo to Cape Town, filming stories about the impact (positive and negative) of foreign aid in Africa. I knew very little about film going into the experience and “learned on the job” – then it was a matter of editing down 300 hours of footage into 80 minutes. It was an extremely challenging (and rewarding) process. It wasn’t until a few years later when I was tired of cooking professionally that I decided to take up film again. I wanted a way to combine my passion for food, activism and film together into one project. The Perennial Plate – our weekly documentary series was born from that mashup. Mirra, who had never picked up a camera before, was dragged into the mix back in 2009 by chance, and ended up being a natural.

Mirra: The camera allows you to meet people and find yourselves in situations you would have never dreamed of. It gives us a chance to see a day in a person’s life that is different than our own, and really hear their story… which is something I really enjoy and feel grateful to be doing.

The key to our job is finding a way to make our subjects feel comfortable enough to truly open up. And I think that’s what draws me to documentary filmmaking most of all.


How did you learn about CAXTLE oregano cooperative and the people in your film?

We have the amazing pleasure of traveling the world looking for stories about what we (and you) like to call “Real Food”. When we knew we were going to Mexico, we reached out to Steve Sando who runs an incredible bean company, Rancho Gordo, out of California, but also has a lot of great connections in Mexico. He immediately thought of this Oregano collective. The collective was a bit nervous about coming on our own, so Steve actually flew down and made the trip with us. We rented a truck and drove way up into the mountains. Once we were there, we fell in love with Isaies – we knew he had a beautiful story to tell, it was just a matter of getting him on his own to share his experience.


What do you hope people walk away from ‘Homeward’ thinking about?

All of our films share the theme of “food”, but when it really comes down to it, the films are about people. And so we want viewers to walk away with a personal connection to the people in the film. Maybe it will make them think differently about farm workers, about cooperatives, about Mexico — maybe it will make them wonder who it is that grows the oregano at their local grocery store.


What are the main themes you’re trying to bring to life in ‘Homeward’?

There were a couple themes in this story which we thought were important. The first, of course, is shifting U.S. perspectives on Mexico. Mexicans generally don’t want to leave their country, it is economic pressure that necessitates the move. Another theme is the impact of community/cooperation along with leadership — and how it can provide an amazing avenue for change.

During filming — when we first arrived at the cooperative in Hildago, we were welcomed with the sights of the farmers building the barbacoa. We saw that meal as a good jumping off point for a film about the power of community. It was just wonderful to see this community of farmers coming together to make this incredible meal and to have this united excitement over an organic crop that was actually giving them a strong livelihood.

So much news about Mexico is bad news, so to share the proud story of someone who doesn’t want to make the dangerous trip to the US, but would rather build up his own community was especially inspiring. I think that is what most people want — it’s just not always an option. So it’s amazing to see these folks in the mountains of Mexico doing just that.


If you had more time, what other issues would you have expanded on? 

We talked to a lot of the other oregano farmers, almost all of whom had traveled to the US and come back after years of working in various jobs. They were excited about this opportunity to be home and their stories would have helped show what a difference this collective was making. Also, Isaies was very much inspired by his brother who recently passed away. Together, they had been working on this mission. Including that story would have added a further personal element.


Who inspires you? 

We get inspiration from a lot of different places as our work covers several areas: food, activism, travel and film. We are constantly inspired (and blown away) by the quality of other’s work. Watching films, talking to farmers, visiting other parts of the world and being reminded of the inequality and injustice that continues to thrive all around us. Because of our work we get to meet so many inspiring people. We were very impacted by our trip to Mexico — beyond the story you see here, we also filmed stories on corn and chocolate and we found individuals with deep rooted commitment to food transformation. Amado Ramirez Leyva from Itanoni Restaurant in Oaxaca for example.


What’s next for you – do you have another project in the works?

We have spent the last 14 months traveling around the world documenting stories of the people who produce their own food in a sustainable way. Homeward was one of those stories. We are very lucky to have an amazing sponsor, Intrepid Travel, who funds our project but gives us complete creative control. I don’t know how we got so lucky. We put out short (4-6 minute) videos every other week on our website: These videos will be coming out until late summer. After that, we are in the works of a larger project that hopes to involve other creators.

Watch Homeward:

Daniel and Mirra are based in Minneapolis, MN. Stay connected and follow their work at

logo_twitter_bird_18x13  @perennialplate + @kaleandcola

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| Contest News, Press

Joanna Dillon, Real Food Media Contest

Haven Bourque, HavenBMedia

Revival of Community, Pride in Farming and
Respect for Labor at the Heart of Sustainable Food Stories

SAN FRANCISCO — March 4, 2014 — A stunning range of food and farming stories from across North America took top honors in the first annual Real Food Media contest, which today announced its final five winners in the food movement’s newest, most vibrant competition for short films about sustainable food and farming. Cash prizes totaling $10,000 were awarded to the top five films, chosen from a treasure trove of over 150 submissions from 25 states and the District of Columbia and 4 countries around the world.

The winning films, though diverse in style, perspective, and place, share common themes: revival of pride in farming as a way of life, resilience of rural communities and cities growing food sustainably, and renewal of respect for the labor and natural resources at the heart of food production. The winning films are:

Grand prize: Homeward, by Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine of The Perennial Plate in Minneapolis, MN
After watching friends and family leaving their community in Mexico for the United States, entrepreneurial farmers in Hidalgo created a thriving cooperative, keeping their families together with organic oregano. As the grand prize winner, Homeward will be screened at the Food & Farm Film Fest in San Francisco in April 2014.

1st runner up and People’s Choice winner: Green Bronx Machine, by Brendan Van Meter of Suffern, NY
Green Bronx Machine feeds the minds, hearts and stomachs of students in the poorest congressional district in America. Stephen Ritz and his community plant school gardens and harvest organic citizens. *Green Bronx Machine was also selected as the ‘People’s Choice’ winner, earning nearly 2,000 online votes from the film’s supporters.

2nd runner up: A Greene Generation, by Tim Grant of Charlotte, NC
In rural western North Carolina the Greene family runs a small, organic, family farm. 14-year old Nathaniel Greene and his siblings are passionate about caring for their pigs, their land, and about producing good food.

3rd runner up, tied: Who Keeps the Beekeepers, by Timothy Powers of St. Petersburg, FL
We’ve heard about the bees, but what about the beekeepers? The voices of the last remaining beekeepers talk about the future of our food supply.

3rd runner up, tied: The Gift, by Jean-Marc Abela of Montréal, Québec
On a small speck of land off the island of Vancouver, Dan Jason farms seeds. In this poetically shot short film, Jason shares his vision of the bounty of nature.

The archive of over 150 short films may be one of the largest ever created in service of the good food movement. The contest, directed by national best-selling author and sustainability advocate Anna Lappé, is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project and an extension of the highly regarded Food MythBusters series, viewable at

A prominent panel of judges representing diverse perspectives on the food system made the selections. Judges included: Michael Pollan, Padma Lakshmi, Alice Waters, Byron Hurt, Eric Schlosser, Robert Kenner, Norman Lear Center’s Johanna Blakley, Sundance Institute’s Keri Putnam, The Jamie Oliver Foundation and organic farmer Emily Zweber.

“What impressed me about Green Bronx Machine is the huge impact this urban farming project is having on an entire inner-city community. Not only are kids learning about healthy plants and vegetables, but they are learning team work, hard work, and the dedication to see a project through,” said judge Emily Zweber of Zweber Farms in Elko, Minnesota.

Seen through the lens of these filmmakers, these stories illustrate the deep connections between all of us to our food, farmers, beekeepers, seeds and soil.

“The Gift reminds us that we have the power in our own hands to feed the world. It’s hope for mankind in a small package.” said judge Padma Lakshmi, Top Chef host, cookbook author, actress, and model.

The contest generated over 100,000 views of the top finalists’ films, with votes coming in from over 40 countries — planting the seeds for what may become an annual event that taps the storytelling artistry and passion so prevalent in the good food movement. The Real Food Media Project is a collaborative initiative to spread the story of food with this film contest, creative films, a web-based action center, and grassroots events. Visit to learn more and to view the top 10 films and final five winners. Engage with us on Twitter via @FoodMythBusters and @AnnaLappe with hashtag #RealFoodContest and on Facebook at Real Food Media Project.


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Fixing Food in Four Minutes or Less

| Contest News, Press

by Anna Lappé
Cross-posted from Huffington Post, 2/18/2014

Last fall, when I launched the first-ever Real Food Media short films contest with project partners around the country, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I just knew that there were incredible stories of people farming, growing, cooking, and sharing food as well as fighting the good fight to fix our broken food system that people weren’t hearing. I wanted to create a platform to bring those stories front and center to be shared widely.

I invited some of my favorite people in the film industry, restaurant business, and advocacy world for sustainable food and farming to be advisors and judges for the contest. We reached out to food changemakers, filmmakers, and film and sustainability students from around the country to encourage them tell their stories through short films. And we were blown away with the results, with 156 films from all over the country and the world pouring in.

Honestly, I was hoping we’d get 25 submissions, and crossing my fingers for 50. But 156? Never would have guessed that we’d receive this much interest from such high-quality filmmakers. I was concerned that we might just get films about artisanal mayonnaise in hipster Brooklyn, but instead we received films that reflect the true diversity of the food movement and represent a range of topics, from topsoil to bees, urban agriculture to seeds, beginning farmers to backyard gardeners.

After a tough task of choosing the 10 finalists, we’re thrilled to announce the official selections of the first Real Food Media Contest. From the streets of the South Bronx to an oregano cooperative in Mexico, the films turn their lens to food, in all its beauty and complexity. From a doc-style short film about the threat of another Dust Bowl to a first-person narrative about a young farmworker in the Northwest, each film is unique and powerful. We hope you will enjoy them!

We’re counting on you to help us select the people’s choice, so head over to and let us know which film you like best. Or do what we’re doing and host a screening party, potluck or brownbag lunch to watch the top 10 with friends and colleagues and vote together on your favorites. Weigh in at, or give your two cents on Twitter with the hashtag #realfoodcontest. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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Invite your Friends: Watch the Top 10 Finalists!

| Contest News

Host a brownbag lunch at your office, in your dorm — invite friends for a potluck, organize a gathering for your CSA community, school group, or Slow Food chapter — and cast your vote by March 2, 2014.

Homepage Voting image

Hosting a screening? Download customizable invites and flyers and our Screening + Discussion Guide


Connect with us!

Promote your screenings and upload photos of your gatherings to #realfoodcontest to link up with our community on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

[More images are available on our Screening Resources page]

RFMC Community Screening Invite






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Short Films to Watch (and Vote on) Right Now

| Contest News, Press

By Anna Lappé
Cross-posted from Civil Eats | 12/12/2014

What do beekeepers, oregano farmers, and poetic seed savers have in common? They’re just some of the amazing people profiled in the first Real Food Media Contest’s top 10 films.

I launched the Contest last year along with a coalition of amazing food and farming organizations—from Real Food Challenge to Sustainable Table to the Food Chain Workers Alliance—to create a platform for creative new voices to share the untold stories of our food system: The good, the bad, and the exquisite.

With some fabulous advisers, we took on the arduous task of pairing down 156 films to 10 finalists. Now, we’re calling on you—the voting public—to weigh in on a “People’s Choice” Award at Judges from the food and film industry–including Michael Pollan, Padma Lakshmi, and Alice Waters–will then cast their votes for the top three films by March 2nd and all the winners will be announced on March 4, 2014.

It’s no surprise to me that the national interest in our food system has spiked to unprecedented levels, but I would have never guessed we’d get such a great response to our first call for entries. The films range in topic from the crisis in commercial beekeeping to the success of an urban gardening program in the South Bronx, and they prove just how hungry young filmmakers and community advocates are for a deeper exploration of our food. The archive of over 150 short films may be one of the largest ever created in service of the Good Food Movement.

Here’s are three films to whet your appetite:

Hands in the Orchestra

Go behind the scenes in San Francisco restaurant kitchens in this rocking short about the hands that feed us.

The Berry Picker

A college student in Oregon spends her summers picking berries with her parents.

Reaping the Whirlwind

The Dust Bowl is not just a chapter in U.S. history books. This short doc talks about why we could face another Dust Bowl and what we can do about it.

Now head on over to to watch the rest of the films and cast your vote. While you’re there, you’ll also find materials to help you host screening parties and spread the word on social media.

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| Contest News

‘People’s Choice’ open for audience vote on a favorite sustainable food and farming story

SAN FRANCISCO — February 12, 2014 — The nation’s newest, most vibrant competition for short films about sustainable food and farming — the first annual Real Food Media Contest — announces that it has chosen the top 10 films from among a bumper crop of over 150 entries. Public voting for the ‘People’s Choice’ film is now open to all food and farming community members at The top three films and ‘People’s Choice’ winners will be announced and cash prizes awarded on March 4, 2014.

National interest in our food system has reached an unprecedented level in recent years. The overwhelming response in both the sheer volume of films submitted and the breadth of topics — from the crisis in commercial beekeeping to the struggle of farmworkers in the Northwest to the success of an urban gardening program in the South Bronx — proves how hungry young filmmakers and community food advocates are for a deeper exploration of our food. The archive of over 150 short films may be one of the largest ever created in service of the good food movement.

The contest, directed by national best-selling author and sustainability advocate Anna Lappé, is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project and an extension of the highly regarded Food MythBusters series, viewable at

“I was blown away by the 156 submissions: creative filmmakers turning their lens on food, in all its beauty and complexity,” says Anna Lappé, director of the Real Food Media Project. “After a tough task of selecting the ten finalists, we’re thrilled to announce the official selections: from a doc-style short film about the threat of another Dust Bowl to a first-person narrative about a young berry picker in Oregon, each film is unique and powerful.”

A star-studded panel of judges will select the top film. Cash prizes will be given to the best 10 films and the People’s Choice winner, including a $5,000 grand prize and a screening at the Food & Farm Film Fest in San Francisco in April 2014.

Contest judges include:
• Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author, actress, model and television host
• Michael Pollan, journalist and author, Omnivore’s Dilemma
• Robert Kenner, Academy Award-nominated director, “Food Inc.”
• Eric Schlosser, journalist and author, Fast Food Nation
• Johanna Blakley, managing director, Norman Lear Center, USC
• Byron Hurt, director and producer, “Soul Food Junkies”
• Alice Waters, Chez Panisse and Chez Panisse Foundation
• Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute
• The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)
• Emily Zweber, organic farmer

“This contest is the first of its kind, creating an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to make their mark. Now, more than ever, we need these stories to be told,” says Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and a contest judge.

“Corporate interests are investing vast sums of money in storytelling designed to influence Americans’ food choices. I am encouraged that so many original voices have come forth in this contest, keeping the food and farming dialogue in the hands of the people,” says journalist Michael Pollan, another contest judge.

The Real Food Media Project is a collaborative initiative to spread the story of our food with this film contest, creative films, a web-based action center, and grassroots events. Visit to learn more, view the Top 10 films, and vote for the ‘People’s Choice Award.’ Deadline for voting is March 2, 2014.

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What to Expect this Week

| Contest News

In case you missed it, we’re still catching our breath from the 156 entries that you all submitted to the contest! Many of the films were uploaded in the day or two before the deadline, so we are still working our way through and we want to give our advisors time to do the same. Don’t rush a good thing, right? You all put so much energy into making those four minutes, we find ourselves needing a few more to give them their due.

Top Ten Films

We’ll announce the top ten films by the end of the day on Tuesday, Feb. 11. These are the films that:

  •  judges are voting on to determine top honors
  • – have a chance at the 1st place film debut at the 2014 Food + Farm Film Fest in San Francisco
  • – are eligible for the People’s Choice Award


Yes, that’s right: people’s choice – which means we need you, the people!
Online voting opens on Wednesday, Feb. 12th: get your family, friends, office mates, neighbors, CSA-ers together to celebrate by screening your film and all the top contenders! Whether it’s a potluck night, a happy hour, a real food throwdown, get it on the calendar before March 2nd to watch the entries and keep the momentum going:


Throw a Real Food Party w: logo

+ Announcing: Staff Picks

Ten spots is hard. (Too hard.) We decided that we want to showcase more films that don’t land in the top ten: films that we loved, that we learned from, that are shedding light on important aspects of the food system. An encore round, if you will. More on this soon, but it’s clear that there are stories to tell – so we’re looking for more microphones.

If you have any questions in the meantime, let us know! We’re at info <at>

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156 entries to the first-ever Real Food Media Contest

| Contest News, Judges

Wow, you all brought your A game.

Our team is overwhelmed, touched, and INSPIRED by the stories you all have sent in. Incredible accounts of the on-the-ground, real deal work, sacrifice, victories, innovation and conviction that represent the heart and soul of this growing movement.

You put your lens on farmworkers in the fields, struggles against consolidation, food incubators, youth flexing leadership muscle, the role of community in supporting local agriculture, the importance of beekeepers, meat production with integrity, food education for all ages, urban agriculture models that are healing the planet, and indigenous traditions that are being honored and revived, whoa. (WHOA.)

We laughed, we cried. (No, really. We did.)  We learned a lot along the way and are more affirmed than ever that we are shifting the tide to more sustainable and meaningful relationships – with our food systems, this planet, and each other. THANK YOU for sharing your stories for this contest, for bringing to life the people and projects that drive you and letting us into your world.

Real Food Media Contest posts


From here, we’re sending them off to the judges and will be uploading the top films live to the website on February 12 to open online voting and determine the People’s Choice award. Voting closes March 2, so get your friends, family and farmers together to watch the entries and get inspired.



Just add friends

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Vimeo Uploads – Hold Tight!

| Contest News

To those who are having trouble uploading your films, please hold tight! There is an issue at Vimeo and they are working to resolve it. You can monitor it here along with us:

We’re confident they’ll have it sorted soon!

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10 days and counting!

| Contest News

We’re officially coming up on the contest deadline for submissions on February 3!

(Ahem.) That’s right, folks. Get your air guitars and 80’s hair ready. It’s the final countdown.

So get your submissions in, don’t put it off!

Triple check the guidelines to make sure you’re ready and ask your questions now.

Once we hit 9pm EST on February 3rd, there’s no turning back.

We can’t wait to see your films!

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Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship

Another great opportunity for reporting on food and important intersections around the world:

2014-2015 Competition Deadline: February 28, 2014 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time

The Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship is a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program that provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and digital storytelling in up to three countries on a globally significant social or environmental topic. This Fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society.

The wide variety of new digital media tools and platforms has created an unprecedented opportunity for people from all disciplines and backgrounds to share observations and personal narratives with global audiences online. These storytelling tools are powerful resources as we seek to expand our knowledge of pressing transnational issues and build ties across cultures.

Through the Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, Fulbrighters will undertake an in-depth examination of a globally relevant issue, comparing and contrasting how that issue is experienced across borders. Utilizing a variety of digital storytelling tools, including text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media, Fellows will tell their stories, or the stories of those they meet, publishing their work on National Geographic media platforms with the support of National Geographic’s editorial team.

For the 2014-15 academic year, applications will be accepted for projects focused on one or more of the following themes:

  1. Biodiversity

  2. Cities

  3. Climate Change

  4. Cultures

  5. Energy

  6. Food

  7. Oceans

  8. Water


Read more and apply here

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UC Berkeley Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship

| Judges

Attention all early and mid-career journalists interested in reporting on food and farming!

The UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is offering eight $10,000 postgraduate Food and Farming Journalism Fellowships:

In a new program established by Michael Pollan (also a Real Food Media Contest judge), the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley, the Fellowship is aimed at early and mid career journalists and presents an opportunity to report ambitious long form stories on the full range of subjects under the rubric of food systems: agricultural and nutritional policy, the food industry, food science, technology and culture, rural and urban farming, agriculture and the environment (including climate change), global trade and supply chains, consolidation and securitization of the food system and public health as it relates to food and farming. The Fellowship is a project of the Knight Center in Science and Environmental Journalism, and is supported by a grant from The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation.


  • $10,000 Fellowship
  • Applications Due March 1, 2014
  • Open to print and radio journalists for 2014 (to expand to multi-media and video in the future)
  • Eight journalists will receive $10,000 to travel and report these stories
  • Preference to U.S. focused stories


Online applications are due March 1, 2014, and should include a one-page pitch with a clearly defined story idea, not just a subject. The pitch should reflect some preliminary research, providing a clear sense of place, characters, narrative and reporting strategy. The application also requires a CV, two letters of recommendation and published clips. UC Berkeley will announce this year’s fellows by May 1, 2014.

Those interested in applying will need to be available the week of June 24-28, 2014 for a 4-day workshop at UC Berkeley with the 2014 cohort of fellows, fellowship director Michael Pollan, guest editors from national publications and managing editor Malia Wollan. Travel, lodging and meals for the meeting will be covered by the fellowship. During the first session, fellows will refine their story pitches with the help of the editors, and develop a reporting and publishing or broadcast strategy. Fellows will also have opportunities to meet with and interview faculty members and researchers doing work relevant to their stories at UC Berkeley.


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School Ambassador Profile: Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis

| Ambassadors

The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis brings together the expertise of more than 70 UC Davis faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate student researchers and undergraduate students to address big emerging issues related to food and farming sustainability.   We partner with farmers, ranchers, agribusiness, nonprofits, policymakers and local communities to ensure that our research and teaching respond to the needs of the people of California and the world.  ASI is working to create a more sustainable food system in several ways:


We nurture the next generation of leaders in agriculture through an innovative new undergraduate major in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, and we teach children and adults throughout various communities about food, nutrition and the environment.


We work with many partners on large-scale research endeavors on topics ranging from the sustainability of global supply chains, nutrient management and clean water in agricultural production, and access to markets for beginning and ethnic farmers.  Our research strives to ensure nutritious and accessible food, fertile soil, healthy communities and environments, and prosperous farms and ranches.


We work hard to ensure that research done at the university is widely communicated to our stakeholders, and prioritize our work based on the feedback we receive from stakeholders and partners.

ASI houses a number of projects including the UC Davis Student Farm, the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility.

More information on ASI at UC Davis and our various projects can be found at

For a complete list of School Ambassadors, click hereIf you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email us.

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