Last week, I wrote asking you to join Food Tank and reminding you about all that we accomplished together in 2018.
Now let’s look forward. Our plans for 2019 are simply amazing, and we are embarking on our greatest organizational expansion ever. The good food
The Food Tank Team
movement demands this as we try to keep up with the explosive growth of worldwide energy towards building a better food system. I won’t go on and on about the personal benefits of you joining, because I know that you are most interested in us building, convening, and amplifying this amazing food movement. I promise you that every dime you donate (which are all tax-deductible) will be stretched for maximum impact—we survive because of grassroots donors like you.
Here are some of the plans we already have up our sleeves for 2019:
Building a Permanent Voice for The Good Food Movement in Washington, D.C.
Food Tank will start hosting a series of ongoing conversations about bi-partisan food policy opportunities, held right in the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. These luncheon events will have a carefully curated and balanced audience by invitation only (featuring policymakers, advocates, and key staff). Topics will look for solutions around issues where all sides have shared values, such as preventing food waste, eliminating hunger, improving children’s nutrition, protecting family farmers, and much more.
Releasing the 1st State of the Food System Annual Publication
Food Tank will publish an annual book, “State of the Food System,” created with Island Press and built for the general public—but also geared specifically towards food studies programs and incorporation into the university curriculum. Bringing together the biggest thinkers in food, I will curate it in short chapters based on the themes. I’ll also visit classes as a guest lecturer through live video, and Food Tank will survey professors to develop topics/themes.
Growing our Investigative Reporting and the Food Talk Podcast
Our free podcast, “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” interviews some of the biggest names in food and agriculture twice weekly. The podcast has already charted #3 in the iTunes nonprofit category and appears on Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher as well as on FoodTank.com. Interviews have included Sam Kass, Michel Nischan, Karen Washington, Spike Mendelsohn, Questlove, Jim Perdue, Tamar Haspel, Hari Pulapaka, and dozens more. I’ll be expanding on the podcast to feature video versions of our conversations engaging with food system advocates around the world through regular forums on Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Periscope/Twitter Live, and more.
Additionally, we will continue to expand our reporting and do deeper investigations to unearth the stories not being told. Already, we have developed collaborations with freelancers from nearly every continent to help us conduct on-the-ground reporting in some of the most vibrant and remote places on Earth. We plan on publishing more than 400 original articles in 2019 as well as doing a complete overhaul of our website and mobile app. We will also do even more video storytelling and reporting in 2019, taking full advantage of tools like IGTV, Facebook Watch, YouTube, and more.
Building Permanent, Year-Round Food Tank Presence in Major Cities
This spring, we are launching our first Food Tank city chapter in New York City. It will start as a bi-monthly live event series held in partnership with NYU Steinhardt and the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center. I’ll be hosting several fireside chats with some of the biggest names in food, exploring a different theme at each event. The events will be followed by networking opportunities and delicious food and drinks. Each of the talks will be aired on Facebook Live, posted on our YouTube channel, and released on our “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg” podcast.
In the fall, we will be launching our second Food Tank city chapter in Boston. This will start a bi-monthly gathering held in partnership with the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. The events will be followed by networking opportunities and delicious food and drinks, provided in partnership with local chefs. Just like in New York City, all of our events will be free worldwide via live-stream. We will also post the videos on FoodTank.com and audio on our podcast.
New York City and Boston were chosen because we have more Food Tank members in those cities than any other. Want a Food Tank chapter in your city? Become a member. Once we hit a critical mass, we will unlock your city. We hope to expand to dozens of more cities worldwide, including building a training school program, in 2019.
Convening Food Tank 2019 Summits
Last year, we held incredible and completely sold-out Summits in New York City, D.C., Seattle, and San Diego—so expect more Summits in 2019! Right now, we are pleased to share that New York City will be held in November. The theme is “How Food Businesses Are Pivoting, Shifting, Adapting, and Leading—or Dying,” and we will bring together more than 700 attendees at the NYU Skirball Center. The event will be led by dozens of the most innovative CEOs, disruptors, changemakers, activists, policymakers, and leaders from startups, media organizations, large companies, and nonprofits who are leading the shift in how food businesses look at sustainability. We will continue to partner with top media outlets to serve as moderators including from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and more.
More cities and Food Tank Summits are expected to be announced soon!
Organizing and Speaking at Several Events at SXSW 2019
Food Tank will be hosting a discussion at the SXSW conference entitled “Cultivating the Next Generation of Food Leaders.” We will be curating some incredible speakers as well as speaking at an event called “Vote With Your Fork—Consumers & Regenerative Ag,” among others.
Food Tank has also been invited to speak at more than 100 events on five continents in 2019, including the EAT Stockholm Food Forum, Seeds & Chips, and festival21.
Launching Garjana: The First-Ever Fully Immersive, Original Off-Broadway Musical
Food Tank is staging the first-ever fully immersive, completely original off-Broadway musical called “Garjana,” featuring an all-Broadway cast and centred around climate change and food security. Early Garjana workshops received joyous receptions from audiences at sold-out events across NYC (including the Highline Ballroom and Union Square Ballroom), attracting thousands of participants and rave reviews. Playbill Magazine said it was “about to be New York City’s hottest trend.” The New York Times highlighted the “stars from Broadway, music, film, and television [leading] Garjana.” Billboard Magazine said, “the abundant smiles, encouragement, and laughs left no room to worry.” And Broadway World said, “several recent studies have found that millennials are now choosing dancing over drinking, clean living over cocktails, and connecting with people over isolation with their iPhones. Garjana is their new outlet.”
And this is just 1/100th of what we have planned. We do all of the above with only three full-time staff (!) and dozens of volunteers around the world.
(Danielle Nierenberg is President of Food Tank and an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues. She has written extensively on gender and population, the spread of factory farming in the developing world and innovations in sustainable agriculture.)