Food Dialogues℠: New York

Food Dialogues New York

Join the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) on Thursday, Nov. 15 for The Food Dialogues: New York. Farmers, ranchers, industry experts, pundits and media will meet for in-depth conversations on today’s most provocative topics concerning food and its production – antibiotics, biotechnology, and media, marketing and healthy food choices.

To RSVP for this event or sign-up to receive more information, please click here.

Panelists – As of October 4, 2012:

The Media, Marketing and Healthy Choices panel will examine how the media’s coverage of food and its health benefits has impacted consumer choice. This discussion also will address what more can be done to answer Americans’ questions about how their food is grown and raised. Expert panelists include:

  • Tracie McMillan, author, The American Way of Eating
  • Debbi Beauvais, RD, SNS, New York School Nutrition President and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson
  • Blake Hurst, President, Missouri Farm Bureau
  • Craig McNamara, California organic farmer
  • Richard Ball, New York vegetable farmer
  • Carolyn O’Neil, MS, WebMD, RD

For the Your Toughest Questions Answered on Antibiotics and Your Food panel, experts will discuss antibiotics and its use and application in animal agriculture. USFRA has secured:

  • Barb Determan, Pork Producer (Iowa), Heartland Marketing Group
  • Dr. Christine Hoang, DVM, MPH, CPH, Assistant Director of the Division of Scientific Activities of the American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives, Consumers Union
  • Keith Ayoob, pediatric nutritionist, Albert Einstein School of Medicine
  • Dr. Karen Jordan, Brush Creek Swiss Farms, North Carolina – dairy farmer and veterinarian

Your Toughest Questions Answered on Biotechnology (GMOs) and Your Food panel will include experts who are well-versed in the use of biotech seeds, including the benefits and concerns related to long-term health and food labeling including:

  • Dr. Bob Goldberg, plant molecular biologist currently using genomics to identify all of the genes required to “make a seed”, UCLA
  • Jerry Slocum, Mississippi soybean farmer
  • Dr. Julie Howard, Chief Scientist, Food Security, USAID
  • Gregory Jaffe, Director of Biotechnology, CSPI
  • Fred Kirschenmann, president of the board of directors, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and distinguished fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University
  • Cheryl Rogowski, New York organic farmer

In addition to the panel discussions, USFRA has plans to announce farmers and ranchers who are finalists for its Faces of Farming and Ranching program.

There is no charge to attend The Food Dialogues: New York. To RSVP for this event or sign-up to receive more information, please click here.

Post-Hurricane Sandy Volunteer & Donation Opportunities

Hurricane Sandy Volunteer and Donation Opportunities

Neighbors Together

If you are looking for a way to contribute directly to those in need post-Hurricane Sandy, Neighbors Together could use your financial support as they repair the damage to their industrial freezer and refrigerator and recover from food loss at their soup kitchen. Help them be able to resume feeding meals to their members. Neighbors Together is committed to ending hunger and poverty in the Ocean Hill, Brownsville, and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods of Brooklyn, one of the lowest-income areas in New York City. Donate here. Thank you for your generosity!


Masbia needs help feeding 600+ relocated seniors at the Park Slope Armory. For only $6 they can serve one person a freshly cooked nutritious hot dinner. Donate here. Masbia soup kitchen network is where the rubber meets the road in the fight against hunger. They feed hot, nutritious meals to hungry men, women and children. No statistics. No bureaucracy. No middleman. They deposit food in empty stomachs.

Jimmy’s No. 43

Jimmy’s No. 43 has been a long-time friend and supporter of Food Systems Network NYC and other like-minded good food organizations. Last year, Jimmy’s raised thousands of dollars for relief when Hurricane Irene came through and hurt local farmers. Now, Jimmy’s, located in the East Village, needs help getting power restored to their restaurant and bar. Help them out by buying a gift certificate to the restaurant or ticket to one (or more) of their amazing fall events. Jimmy is committed to making these events happen. They’re down, but not out! To purchase a gift certificate and see a list of available ticketed events, visit the Jimmy’s No. 43 website.

City Meals on Wheels

Leading up to Hurricane Sandy and in the aftermath, Citymeals-on-Wheels has been taking emergency measures to ensure New York’s homebound elderly have access to food. Given the impact on transportation and power, many of the senior centers they work with are understaffed. If you are able to volunteer for meal deliveries, they will need extra help throughout the week. Please see more information here. In addition to volunteers, they need to raise funds to replenish the depleted supplies in their warehouse. Please make a gift today to help them respond to this crisis and prepare for the coming winter months.

City Harvest

Now serving New York City for more than 30 years, City Harvest is the world’s first and the city’s only food rescue organization. Whether you’re part of a group or just one person, there are plenty of ways for you to help in our fight against hunger. If interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities please contact Or, donate to help feed children, the elderly, and all hungry New Yorkers.

Food Bank NYC

Since before day one of Sandy’s assault on our city, Food Bank For New York City has continued to serve their network of charities and needy families. Sandy’s impact is so much more than damage to buildings and trees. As new supplies of water and other supplies requiring no electricity roll into their warehouse, they know that they will be able to continue to meet the needs of hunger and poverty for those who have experienced it in the past and those meeting it for the first time as a result of this disaster. To join them in the fight, please: Donate Now, Volunteer, and Donate Food.

Youth Farm at the High School for Public Service Storm Clean-Up

  • Location: 600 Kingston Ave, between Rutland and Winthrop Ave
  • Date: Saturday, November 3, 2012 – 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • What: Join the Youth Farm at the High School for Public Service this Saturday. They will be spending the day cleaning up the farm from the storm, and putting everything to bed for the winter. Stay for a free workshop on GARLIC.

Edible Garden Festival featuring Mario Batali, Sunday, Sept. 23rd

Edible Garden Festival featuring Mario Batali, Sunday, Sept. 23rd. At The New York Botanical Garden.

Take part in a day long festival of Edible Garden fun exploring “Mario Batali’s Kitchen Gardens,” cooking demonstrations by NYBG staff, gardening activities, and food sampling in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden.

Activity lineup:

  • Take a drop in tour of the chef beds in ”Mario Batali’s Kitchen Gardens”
  • Decorate a harvest bag to use to shop for fresh ingredients for your favorite Mario Batali recipes
  • Make a chef’s hat to wear when practicing your culinary skills
  • Solve Mario’s Menu Mystery to help you explore the chef beds in ”Mario Batali’s Kitchen Gardens”
  • Sit in on cooking demonstrations by Family Garden chefs at 11 a.m., 1, and 3 p.m. at the Whole Foods Market Family Garden Kitchen
  • Enjoy food sampling by vendors offering snacks and organic goodies

Edible Garden Festival ticket includes all Festival activities and All Garden Pass access

Non-Member Adults $25, Student/Senior $22, Kids $10/Members Free (ticket does not include Mario Batali cooking demo) Get your tickets!

Edible Garden Festival with Cooking Demonstration with Mario Batali

Sunday, September 23, Edible Garden Festivities in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Mario Demonstration in the Conservatory Tent: 4:30 p.m.

Enjoy all Edible Garden festival activities in the Family Garden, plus join Garden friend Mario Batali at the Conservatory tent for a demonstration of fresh, seasonal family dishes inspired by “Mario Batali’s Kitchen Gardens.”

Festival ticket with Mario Batali demonstration includes all Edible Garden Festival activities, All-Garden Pass access, and a seat at the cooking demonstration

Non-Member Adults $30, Student/Senior $27, Kids $15/Members Adults $10, Kids $5 Get your tickets!

Garden-to-Table Dinner and Cooking Demonstration with Mario Batali
Sunday, September 23, activities begin at 4:30 p.m.

Join celebrity chef and Garden friend Mario Batali for a truly unique garden-to-table experience! Enjoy all of the Edible Garden festivities, plus special preferred seating at Mario’s cooking demonstration at the Conservatory tent, followed by cocktails in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden and an intimate garden-to-table dinner at the Lillian and Amy Goldman Stone Mill. Mario will enjoy the meal with you and share anecdotes, memories, inspirations, and background information about the four-course menu he has designed.

All ticket proceeds support the Garden’s essential Children’s Education programs.

Urban Educator


Stephen Ritz, Uban Educator at  Bronx New Yok School talks about gardening on.

A celebrated classroom farm that yielded fresh produce and great jobs for students at a South Bronx public high school has been quietly shut down.

For two years, Discovery High School special education teacher Stephen Ritz used vertical garden plots known as “green walls” to teach science and technology.

He grew crops such as tomatoes and celery with his students, who sold some of the produce at school and donated the rest to a local food pantry. Lesson plans developed there are now used by the State University of New York.

“I’m disappointed….the kids loved it,” said Ritz, a veteran teacher, speaking out this week about the school’s termination of the Green Bronx Machine program last August. “It really took root because it cultivated minds and harvested hope.”

The city Department of Education referred questions to Discovery Principal Rolando Rivera, who failed to return repeated requests for an interview about why the program was shut down.

Ritz first began growing food with students years ago when he worked at Millennium Art Academy in Soundview. They cultivated plots at local community gardens. He created Green Bronx Machine at Discovery after meeting George Irwin of Green Living Technologies, a vertical garden manufacturer based upstate Ritz and Irwin set up green walls at Discovery, began growing veggies and developed a curriculum.

Meanwhile, students trained by Irwin through Green Bronx Machine snagged summer jobs installing green roofs. “We still get calls from all over the world to implement the program we developed in the Bronx,” he said. “We engaged students in science and math and gardening. We provided living wage jobs to young adults who society had written off. I don’t understand why the program was shut down.”

Ritz teaches troubled, low-income teenagers, but said every student who took part in the program has begun attending college or is on track to. “In the Bronx, we tend to eat not healthy,” said Discovery and Green Bronx Machine alumnus Nathali Soriano, 18, now at Monroe College. “But when you walked into our classroom, it had an organic vibe. It felt fresh. “Green Bronx Machine really put me on the right path,” said Soriano, an aspiring environmental lawyer. “It really helped me.”

The program won several awards and parents stopped by Discovery to buy fresh food. “Steve is a guy who can get people energized about healthy eating,” said state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who attended a farmers market at Discovery. “He has proven he can get students to care about school. I hope that continues.”

Green Bronx Machine withered last August when Ritz was moved to a basement classroom and told to stop growing food at Discovery, he said. Ritz did not blame Rivera, who he said was a “tireless, dedicated” educator. But Ritz admitted he is disappointed about the fate of Green Bronx Machine and hopes to revive it elsewhere.