U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) hosted the New York Food Dialogues on Nov. 15. Farmers, ranchers, industry experts, pundits and media attended the in-depth conversations on today's most provocative topics concerning food and its production – antibiotics, biotechnology, and media, marketing and healthy food choices.
Click on the topic below to view the panel discussions.
Today’s consumers have more access to information concerning food than ever before. During this panel, the conversation centered on the types of information consumers access and use to make decisions about their food choices. Questions addressed included – What more can be done to ensure consumers have access to the right kind of information? What tools are marketers using to promote certain types of food choices over others? What additional voices are needed to help consumers navigate the supermarket and restaurant menu?
Kat Kinsman is the managing editor of CNN.com’s EPPY Award-winning food blog Eatocracy (@Eatocracy). Kinsman launched the site in June 2010 and is responsible for overseeing the voice, vision and daily operation of the site. She is based out of CNN’s New York bureau.
Kinsman brings a wealth of diversified experience to CNN. Before joining the company in 2010, Kinsman served as the senior editor for AOL Food and Slashfood, worked as a copywriter at Tribal DDB and spent 10 years as an art director at publications such as Maxim, FHM, CitySearch and others. She is a Kansas City Barbeque Society certified barbecue judge, vice chair of the James Beard Journalism Committee and an avid member of the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Besides creating content on Eatocracy, she also contributes to other areas of CNN.com. Kinsman can periodically be seen talking about food on CNN Newsroom and other CNN shows as well as Planet Green’s The Fabulous Beekman Boys. She also tweets rather often as @kittenwithawhip.
Kinsman earned her master’s of fine arts in metalsmithing from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a dual bachelor’s degree in general sculptural studies and painting from the Maryland Institute.
My name is Tracie McMillan. I live in Brooklyn, but I'm proud to say that I grew up in Michigan, about an hour from one of my favorite cities—Detroit. My dad was a lawnmower salesman and my mom had an English degree, and they moved us to Holly, a rural town outside of Flint, for good schools and open space. I was the oldest of three girls, and helped out at home when my mom fell ill around the time I was 7. The insurance company didn't want to pay for her care, so when she got too ill to live at home, she bounced between institutions that would hold off on charging us until the insurance company settled. She left our home when I was 12; we lost the case with the health insurance company when I was 14; and she died when I was 16.
My first job, at 14, was making caramel apples at an apple orchard. At 16, I got a job at Big Boy, stocking the salad bar before moving on to waitress. At 17, I got a generous but partial scholarship to NYU, moved to New York City, and cobbled together the rest of my tuition and living expenses as a tutor, nanny, waitress, personal assistant and intern; at one point I simultaneously juggled five part-time jobs. I stayed here because I landed in a rent-stabilized apartment that kept the city affordable.
I kept tutoring and freelancing until I wrangled myself a job at City Limits as managing editor. I was a copy editor, photo editor, office manager and deadline nag, and in my free time I started writing stories about the things that interested me: welfare, child care, anything, really, about how working families eked out a living. I'm proud, and a little shocked, that I've now won several national awards, including the Harry Chapin Media Award and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, and have been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, for my work on these topics. Even though I'm not on staff at a big, fancy magazine or newspaper, the awards put my work in the same league as the publications I beat to win them: the New York Times, Fortune, Businessweek and Time.
Over time, my work has appeared in a wide range of publications including the New York Times, Harper's, Slate, Saveur, Salon and Gastronomica. In October 2012, I was named a Senior Fellow at Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. (It's unpaid, but the title helps). My first book, The American Way of Eating, a nonfiction project examining food and class in America, was published by Scribner in February 2012.
As a Registered Dietitian Debbi is the District Director of School Nutrition Services at the Gates Chili Central School District and the East Rochester Union Free School District in Upstate NY. Under her direction these two school districts have received multiple best practice awards from both USDA and the NY State Education Department. Debbi also holds the credential of SNS, School Nutrition Specialist, and is active in both the local, state and national dietetic and school nutrition associations. She is the 2012 -2013 President of the New York School Nutrition Association and also a National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics representing School Nutrition. Prior to her tenure in school nutrition, Debbi worked in Healthcare Food Service Management at a variety of locations, as an employee of Saga/Marriott/Sodexho; in addition she worked at a local cooking school teaching classes and giving wellness supermarket tours; she has worked as a corporate nutrition consultant doing cooking demos in the wellness arena and as an adjunct professor for Monroe Community College teaching Community Nutrition for the Biology department.
Blake Hurst was elected president of Missouri Farm Bureau on December 7, 2010. Blake has a long record of Farm Bureau involvement and leadership. He was a district board member on the Missouri state board for eight years, and served seven years as Missouri Farm Bureau Vice President.
He raises corn and soybeans with his father, brothers, nephews, and son-in-laws. He also operates a wholesale greenhouse business with his wife, Julie, daughter, Lee, and son-in-laws Ryan Harms and Matt Schlueter. The family raises flowers in two acres of greenhouses and on another two acres outdoors, employs up to 15 employees, and sells bedding plants in a four-state area.
Julie and Blake have three children. Lee works in the greenhouse with her family, Ann is the development director for their local hospital, and Ben has just finished law school, has been admitted to the Missouri Bar Association and is a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Blake and Julie also have six grandchildren.
Blake is also a freelance writer. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, Wilson’s Quarterly, Reader’s Digest, Today’s Farmer, and the Show Me magazine of Missouri Farm Bureau. He also writes for the web magazine of the American Enterprise Institute; his article, “The Omnivore’s Delusion,” quickly received over 100,000 hits and was featured as the “Idea of the Day” on the New York Times website. He’s debated food policy in New York City and appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Iowa Public Television, and America’s Heartland. The Huffington Post has called him the “infamous agribusiness cheerleader,” a badge he’s happy to wear.
Blake is proud to be a farmer and strives to be a forceful, accurate and articulate advocate for agriculture.
Craig McNamara is the president and owner of Sierra Orchards, a diversified farming operation producing primarily organic walnuts.
By connecting people, policy and agricultural best practices, Craig works to protect the land that feeds us, to promote social justice and support the next generation of farmers.
In that capacity, he serves as the founder and president of the Center for Land-Based Learning, an innovative program that helps high school students build greater social and human capital in their communities.
He is President of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, on the UC President’s Advisory Commission and the UC Davis Dean’s Advisory Council. He is an advisory board member of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, and active in the American Farmland Trust, Roots of Change, and the Public Policy Institute of California.
He is the recipient of several awards including the James Irving Leadership Award, Leopold Conservation Award, the California Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, the UC Davis Award of Distinction and Outstanding Alumnus Award.
He is passionate about sharing his knowledge in sustainable agriculture and leadership with the world around him. Together with his wife and three children he lives in Winters California.
Richard Ball is an active farmer and owner of Schoharie Valley Farms located in the historic Schoharie Valley in Schoharie, NY. The farm consists of 200 acres and produces a wide range of vegetable crops, small fruits, and greenhouse crops. The farm serves both retail customers, through the farm market known as The Carrot Barn, as well as wholesale customers, shipping to brokers and restaurants in the Albany Capitol District and New York City.
Richard is a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Vegetable Growers Association, Schoharie County Farm Bureau, and New York State Farm Bureau. He is co-chair of New York Farm Bureau’s labor committee and past chair of the American Farm Bureau labor advisory committee. He represents Schoharie County on the Governor’s Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, is President of the Schoharie Valley Association and, most recently, a board member of Schoharie Recovery – an organization formed in response to the flooding from hurricane Irene and tropical storm Lee.
Richard, his wife Shirley, and his three children are all actively engaged in the farm with a growing number of potential future farmers amongst the grandchildren.
Noted nutrition expert, award-winning food journalist, and television personality Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD, shares her refreshing food philosophy, “The More You Know, The More You Can Eat!” She is a registered dietitian and award-winning author and journalist who reported on food and travel at CNN for nearly 20 years. O'Neil is the co-author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous! which won “Best Health and Nutrition Book” at the World Food Media awards.
O'Neil writes a weekly column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Healthy Eating Out,” and appears on the Food Network as “The Lady of the Refrigerator,” a recurring nutrition expert on Alton Brown’s hit program Good Eats. She is a journalist specializing in food and nutrition as a contributor to many magazines including Self, Shape, Cooking Light, Redbook, Family Circle, and WebMD the Magazine. She is an adjunct professor of journalism at Emory University.
O'Neil's reporting on food and health at CNN earned three James Beard Foundation Awards. She is a member of the James Beard Who’s Who in Food and Beverage. The American Heart Association, The Institute of Food Technologists, The American Dietetic Association and The National Restaurant Association have presented O’Neil with awards for food and nutrition education.
Carolyn O’Neil has a master’s degree in Nutrition and Communication from Boston University (1980) and an undergraduate degree in Foods and Nutrition from Florida State University (1976). She completed her Dietetic Internship at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, San Diego and has been a registered dietitian for 30 years. Carolyn lives in Atlanta and has two children, Jack 24 and Katie 21.
How are antibiotics used in food production? What more is needed to educate consumers about how their food is grown and raised? Farmers, ranchers and leading experts on antibiotics addressed these questions and more about today’s most pressing food concerns at Food Dialogues: New York.
Barb Determan and her husband, Steve, are independent pork producers from Early, Iowa, where they own and operate the family grain and livestock farm. She is the former president of the Iowa 4-H Foundation and has been a volunteer 4-H club leader for more than 30 years. She is currently president of the Heartland Marketing Group and a member of the National Pork Board committees. Determan has served as a board member of the National Pork Producers Council and was past President of the Council in 2001-02. She studied Agricultural Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Christine Hoang, DVM, MPH, CPH, Assistant Director of the Scientific Activities Division of the American Veterinary Medical Association, received both her DVM and MPH through the University of Minnesota’s dual degree program and is additionally certified in public health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. At the AVMA, Dr. Hoang’s work focuses on providing technical and scientific expertise for policy development, advocacy, and regulatory and legislative initiatives for advancement of the veterinary profession. Her key areas include public health and food safety, as well as zoonotic disease and antimicrobial resistance.
Dr. Hoang has been involved in many of Association’s efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance and promote animal health including AVMA’s innovative Steering Committee for FDA policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials; revisions to AVMA’s Judicious Use of Therapeutic Antimicrobials Guidelines; the Antimicrobial Use Task Force; cooperative efforts with government regulatory agencies, allied organizations, and other stakeholders on issues such as the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on extra-label use of cephalosporins; and several Congressional testimonies on advancements in animal health, antimicrobial resistance, and the use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine.
Dr. Hoang has also recently been active educating veterinary students, producers, and even traveling internationally to expand on the role of veterinarians in these key areas. Since at the AVMA, she has served on the planning committee for the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Board of Directors and several committees of the US Animal Health Association, and participated on behalf of the AVMA as a part of the US delegation to the Codex Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance. Her prior experience includes the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the National Pork Producers Council, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Keith-Thomas Ayoob is an Associate Clinical Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He is also Director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at Einstein, where he has maintained a clinical practice for over 25 years, specializing in obesity, child nutrition, and family dynamics. Much of his work focuses on children with special needs.
He helped formulate a highly regarded global nutrition policy for the Walt Disney Corporation in 2006 and updated those landmark guidelines in 2011, which were endorsed by Michelle Obama. Additionally, he helped develop a nutrition profiling system and consumer education tool, now known as NuVal, and which is now in over 2500 supermarkets across the US.
Dr. Ayoob chairs the Scientific Advisory Board for NuVal and also sits on a number of other advisory boards, including the Academic Advisory Board of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the National Advertising Review Council.
Often a primary resource for news media for his commentary on timely nutrition research, Dr. Ayoob has participated in over 1200 interviews in the print and electronic media. He has long advocated against fad dieting and in 2004 he testified before Congress against the marketing of diet pills to children. He also co-authored the American Dietetic Association’s position paper on food and nutrition myths and misinformation. Dr. Ayoob was an American Dietetic Association national media spokesperson from 1995-2004. In 2005, he wrote The Uncle Sam Diet, the first book about the 2005 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Dr. Ayoob received his doctorate degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College, his Master’s degrees from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and he did his undergraduate work at the University of California at Davis.
Jean has worked on food safety and sustainability issues at in the Yonkers Office of Consumers Union for the last 25 years. She frequently speaks at conferences and to the media, who tap her expertise on subjects ranging from mercury in tuna fish to pending food safety legislation. She also works with consumer organizations globally and helped develop international standards for safety assessment of genetically engineered food at the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
Karen is a graduate of North Carolina State University where she received her DVM and BS degrees. She is married to Norman Jordan, Jr. of Siler City, North Carolina where they own and operate Brush Creek Swiss Farms, a registered Brown Swiss herd and are producer members of Dairy Farmers of America. They also raise Percheron horses.
Karen operates Large Animal Veterinary Services with approximately 90% of her practice focusing on dairy production medicine. Her practice focuses on twelve dairy farm families whose average herd size is 150, but varies from 500 cows in milk to 30 cows in milk.
Karen currently represents Dairy Farmers of America as the chair of the Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). She also has served on the technical writing committee of the Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention: Producer Manual of Best Management Practices, and currently serves as chair of the technical working group for the National Dairy FARM Program Animal Care Manual (FARM – Farmers Assuring Responsible Management).
What impact do GMOs have on the environment and long-term health? What more is needed to educate consumers about how their food is grown and raised? What role does science play when addressing issues tied to food, including health concerns, drought and feeding a growing population? Farmers, ranchers and leading experts on biotechnology (GMOs) gave straight answers to today’s most pressing food concerns at Food Dialogues: New York.
Bob Goldberg is a plant molecular biologist who is currently using genomics to identify all of the genes required to "make a seed." Professor Goldberg received a B.S. in Botany from Ohio University, a Ph.D. degree in Plant Genetics from the University of Arizona, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He joined the UCLA Faculty in 1976 and is currently a Distinguished Professor of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.
Professor Goldberg served as Director of the Plant Genetics Program at the USDA and was the Founding Editor of The Plant Cell, the leading journal in the area of plant biology. Professor Goldberg is also a Co-Founder of Ceres. Inc., a Thousand-Oaks-based Energy Crop Company and was Director of The Seed Institute, an intercampus “institute without walls” within the University of California dedicated to unraveling the processes that control seed development. Professor Goldberg has received many awards recognizing his contributions to the field of plant molecular biology, including election to the US National Academy of Sciences. Bob Goldberg is highly committed to undergraduate education and has received many awards for his novel teaching approaches, including the UCLA Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, the UCLA Gold Shield Prize for Excellence in Research and Undergraduate Education, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) University Professorship, and was listed as one of the ‘Top 15 Professors’ in UCLA’s history. Recently, Professor Goldberg’s class on Genetic Engineering was named as one of the top 10 “hottest classes” in America
Jerry Slocum is currently president of North Mississippi Grain Company – a family-owned country grain elevator business. He also owns and operates a corn, soybean and wheat farming operation in Tate County, Mississippi.
Currently, Jerry serves on USDA’s Secretary Tom Vilsack’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture. Prior to this, he served on the committee for both former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman and Secretary Ann Veneman.
Jerry has been a member of the United States Soybean Federation Board of Directors since its inception in 2009 and is currently serving as president of the Federation. He also serves as Chairman of the Midsouth Soybean Board and Chairman of the Delta Council’s Soybean and Wheat Committee. Other associations Jerry has been a long-time member of include the Mississippi Soybean Association Board of Directors, Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, Mississippi Feed and Grain Board of Directors and Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.
From 1991 through 2002 he served on the United Soybean Board. While on the board, Jerry held various leadership positions including Chairman of the Board, Chairman of the International Marketing Committee, Chairman of the Biotechnology Task Force and was a member of the Better Bean Initiative. Jerry has traveled internationally 13 times to present the American farmer’s position on biotech crops to foreign governments, regulators, importers, and farm organizations.
Dr. Julie A. Howard is the Chief Scientist in the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Food Security, which leads the implementation of Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative. She also serves as Senior Advisor to the USAID Administrator on Agricultural Research, Extension and Education. In this role, she oversees the implementation of the Feed the Future research strategy and leads related new programs to advance innovation in global food security efforts, working with both global and national partners.
Dr. Howard previously served as Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future, where she led a core team in elevating interagency engagement in Feed the Future strategic planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Before joining USAID in 2011, Dr. Howard served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, an independent nonprofit coalition dedicated to increasing the level and effectiveness of U.S. assistance and private investment through research, dialogue and advocacy. She is also the co-author, with Emmy Simmons, of “Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Assistance in Transforming the Food Security Outlook in Sub-Saharan Africa” in Jennifer Clapp and Marc Cohen, (eds.), The Global Food Crisis: Governance Challenges and Opportunities (2009).
Dr. Howard served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic, and has written on agricultural technology development and transfer, the development of seed and fertilizer systems, and the role of farmer associations in agricultural development in Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Somalia. She holds a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Michigan State University, and master’s and undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Davis, and The George Washington University.
Gregory Jaffe is the Director of the Project on Biotechnology for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (“CSPI”), a non-profit consumer organization located in the United States. Mr. Jaffe came to CSPI after a long and distinguished career in government service as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division and as Senior Counsel with the U.S. EPA, Air Enforcement Division. He is a recognized international expert on agricultural biotechnology and biosafety and has published numerous articles and reports on those topics. He was worked on biosafety regulatory issues in the United States and throughout the world, including the countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, and Nigeria. He was a member of the Secretary of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture from 2003-2008 and was reappointed for a new term in 2011. He was also a member of FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee from 2004-2008. Gregory Jaffe earned his BA with High Honors from Wesleyan University in Biology and Government and then received a law degree from Harvard Law School.
A longtime national and international leader in sustainable agriculture, he shares an appointment as Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center and as President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. He also continues to manage his family's 2,600-acre certified organic farm in south central North Dakota.
He is a professor in the ISU Department of Religion and Philosophy and holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago. He has held numerous appointments, including the USDA's National Organic Standards Board and the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production operated by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and funded by Pew Charitable Trusts.
In April 2010, the University Press of Kentucky published a book of Kirschenmann's essays, Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher, that trace the evolution of his ecological and farming philosophy over the past 30 years.
He converted his family’s farm in North Dakota to a certified organic operation in 1976. He developed a diverse crop rotation that has enabled him to farm productively without synthetic inputs (fertilizers or pesticides) while simultaneously improving the health of the soil.
Kirschenmann’s farm has been featured in numerous publications including National Geographic, Business Week, Audubon, the LA Times and Gourmet magazine. In 1995 it was profiled in an award-winning video, My Father’s Garden by Miranda Smith Productions, and is still widely used as a teaching tool. Kirschenmann also has been advisor for several documentaries including American Meat and Symphony of the Soil.
Kirschenmann served as the Leopold Center's second director from July 2000 to November 2005 and has been recognized widely for his work. He was one of the first 10 recipients of the James F. Beard Foundation Leadership awards in 2011 and will receive the 2012 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from Practical Farmers of Iowa.
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