Food Tank: The Food Think Tank

How To Make Your 2024 Food Predictions Come True

Food Tank: The Food Think Tank sent this email to their subscribers on January 4, 2024.

Hey Food Tank: The Food Think Tank—it’s Dani. This newsletter is a unique place for news, analysis, and my perspectives on global food system transformation. As always, I'm glad you're joining me. Tell friends to to join Food Tankers in this global conversation!
2 \FOOD TANK v NEWSLETTER
Dear Food Tank: The Food Think Tank,

I hope your new year is off to a good start!

I’m thinking about what changes this new year will bring: Will we take meaningful national and global policy action on food systems? Will we bring our eating patterns into alignment with what’s healthy for the planet?

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the transformations I’d like to see in the world—and reading some very smart people’s predictions for the food system in 2024.

Climate and sustainability are top-of-mind, of course, as are food prices, which could start to go back down after years of inflation. Technology and food, especially artificial intelligence, is a big topic, too: Companies like Winnow are using it to help cut food waste, and other analysts are talking about ways it can be integrated into farm tech and even meal planning.

Personally, I want to do more than try to predict the future—I think we can make a better future come true. So as the world continues to change over the next year, here are five concrete steps that’ll put us on the right side of history and help build meaningful change right now.

1. Eat planet-healthy foods, because they’re good for our own bodies, too.

One of the most common questions people ask me is what foods they should eat—or should avoid!—if they care about food and agriculture systems, farmers, food workers, and the planet. The answer is almost deceptively simple: The foods that are healthy for the planet are healthy for people, and vice versa.

Millets are a great example of a nutritious, resilient grain. Buckwheat, too, is an easy cover crop that’s also high in protein and fiber. "It’s gonna be buckwheat’s year," Cathy Strange, the Whole Foods Market Ambassador of Food Culture, told the New York Times. Or, just go to your local farmers market, so you can find fresh ingredients that haven’t been too processed.

The Food is Medicine movement will be crucial to helping us achieve better diets in an equitable way. From the White House to local clinics, we’re seeing significant growth in strategies and programs that empower medical providers to incorporate the power of food into health care, which has the potential to address barriers toward accessing foods that are healthy for people and planet.

2. Make carbon "the new calories."

This is one of my favorite quotes from experts’ predictions: "In 2024, carbon will be the new calories," Julia Collins, Founder and CEO of Planet FWD, told Forbes.

So, let’s count carbon. Let’s be aware of the environmental impacts of the food we eat—and let’s put pressure on food corporations to use true-cost accounting to be transparent about their practices. Some chefs are even talking about "climate-change cuisine," which could involve climate labels on menus or more frequently rotating out dishes.

3. Recognize that water gives us life.

Many communities around the world are already facing water shortages, and the current climate trajectory is set to make that problem even more serious. In 2024, let’s continue to make water a top priority.

That means buying crops from regenerative and organic farms, because healthier soils use water more efficiently. It also means eating more sustainable blue foods—fish, seafood, ocean plants, and more—which are particularly healthful and have a significant potential to help feed a growing world population.

I want to remind you of the words of Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe: "This society, this modernization, has decided that it’s OK to dump everything and anything into waterways. Whereas the old way was that this water is precious, this water is life. You take care of this water. You don’t go throwing things in there. You pray to this water."

4. Stand up for food system workers’ rights and embodied knowledge.

Movements to organize food system workers have made significant progress over the past few years, from Starbucks employees fighting for a union to groups like the Farm Labor Organizing Committee’s efforts to ensure that farm workers are treated justly and paid fairly.

These forms of community mobilization around the globe are all rooted in food sovereignty, through which local communities have direct control over the production of their own culturally relevant foods. As Ousmane Ndiaye of the African farmers’ organization ASPRODEB told me when I visited Senegal last year, "farmers are knowledge producers too."

We can support unionized food businesses, not cross picket lines, and honor traditional and Indigenous knowledge systems. We can also use art to show solidarity and share stories: If you’re in the Boston area in February, I hope you’ll join us for a reading of Food Tank’s play, "Little Peasants: A Behind the Scenes Look at Union Organizing in the Food Sector." You can get tickets HERE, and Food Tank members can join us free by emailing [email protected].

5. Take care of one another.

Going into 2024, we’re faced with devastating challenges, from the climate crisis to year four of Covid-19 to global hunger. Food insecurity, undernourishment, and hunger are getting worse, which is appalling, and climate-based resource shortages could make the situation even more tragic.

But in the face of difficulty, we can all make a difference by creating what the economist and food systems expert Raj Patel calls an economy of care. This means taking steps to build a society that incentivizes and facilitates community support, rather than exploitation. Our work can take many forms—and Food Tank's list of 124 impactful organizations in 2024 is a good place to start!

Building an economy of care is more than just a kind way to exist in the world—it can actually help make us healthier.

This year, let’s uplift our local communities and build deeply rooted, resilient food systems. This year, let’s make our predictions for a better world come true!

On last week’s episode of the Food Talk podcast, I shared more of our own predictions for what’s to come in 2024, and several special guests joined me to discuss the opportunities they hope to see during the year. I hope you’ll listen to the show HERE.

What do you think is in store for food systems in 2024? What changemakers in your community are already stepping up to make change? Email me at [email protected] to share your thoughts and stories. I look forward to hearing from you!

Onward,

Dani

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New On The "Food Talk" Podcast
FOOD TALK with DANI ISO 1) & guests
We have a really great pair of conversations on the podcast this week from fireside chats at COP28: First, with Million Belay, General Coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, and then with Sandra Uwera, Global CEO of Fairtrade International.

Tune in for our discussions of the need to invest in youth and women, the connection between fair prices for farmers and environmental sustainability, and community-grounded food systems.

Articles You Shouldn't Miss
The organization recently launched the Oceans Futures Platform, which will be used to identify global seascapes at risk of maritime conflict or food insecurity because of climate-driven fisheries migration.

The Prison Agriculture Lab, which conducted the first-ever nationwide study of prison agriculture in the United States, seeks to answer the where, what, and why of agricultural practices in the criminal punishment system.

Careit, a food donation and rescue software, connects businesses and institutions with excess food to local nonprofit organizations addressing food insecurity.

Kids in Nutrition (KIN) is teaching nutrition education to elementary school students across the U.S. to increase food literacy, instill healthy and sustainable dietary habits, and promote chronic disease prevention and health equity.

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Twitter
 
Youtube
 
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• Food Tank: The Think Tank for Food, 1915 Bank Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, United States


Text-only version of this email

Hey Food Tank: The Food Think Tank—it’s Dani. This newsletter is a unique place for news, analysis, and my perspectives on global food system transformation. As always, I'm glad you're joining me. Tell friends to to join Food Tankers in this global conversation! 2 \FOOD TANK v NEWSLETTER Dear Food Tank: The Food Think Tank, I hope your new year is off to a good start! I’m thinking about what changes this new year will bring: Will we take meaningful national and global policy action on food systems? Will we bring our eating patterns into alignment with what’s healthy for the planet? Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the transformations I’d like to see in the world—and reading some very smart people’s predictions for the food system in 2024. Climate and sustainability are top-of-mind, of course, as are food prices, which could start to go back down after years of inflation. Technology and food, especially artificial intelligence, is a big topic, too: Companies like Winnow are using it to help cut food waste, and other analysts are talking about ways it can be integrated into farm tech and even meal planning. Personally, I want to do more than try to predict the future—I think we can make a better future come true. So as the world continues to change over the next year, here are five concrete steps that’ll put us on the right side of history and help build meaningful change right now. > 1. Eat planet-healthy foods, because they’re good for our own bodies, too. One of the most common questions people ask me is what foods they should eat—or should avoid!—if they care about food and agriculture systems, farmers, food workers, and the planet. The answer is almost deceptively simple: The foods that are healthy for the planet are healthy for people, and vice versa. Millets are a great example of a nutritious, resilient grain. Buckwheat, too, is an easy cover crop that’s also high in protein and fiber. "It’s gonna be buckwheat’s year," Cathy Strange, the Whole Foods Market Ambassador of Food Culture, told the New York Times. Or, just go to your local farmers market, so you can find fresh ingredients that haven’t been too processed. The Food is Medicine movement will be crucial to helping us achieve better diets in an equitable way. From the White House to local clinics, we’re seeing significant growth in strategies and programs that empower medical providers to incorporate the power of food into health care, which has the potential to address barriers toward accessing foods that are healthy for people and planet. > 2. Make carbon "the new calories." This is one of my favorite quotes from experts’ predictions: "In 2024, carbon will be the new calories," Julia Collins, Founder and CEO of Planet FWD, told Forbes. So, let’s count carbon. Let’s be aware of the environmental impacts of the food we eat—and let’s put pressure on food corporations to use true-cost accounting to be transparent about their practices. Some chefs are even talking about "climate-change cuisine," which could involve climate labels on menus or more frequently rotating out dishes. > 3. Recognize that water gives us life. Many communities around the world are already facing water shortages, and the current climate trajectory is set to make that problem even more serious. In 2024, let’s continue to make water a top priority. That means buying crops from regenerative and organic farms, because healthier soils use water more efficiently. It also means eating more sustainable blue foods—fish, seafood, ocean plants, and more—which are particularly healthful and have a significant potential to help feed a growing world population. I want to remind you of the words of Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe: "This society, this modernization, has decided that it’s OK to dump everything and anything into waterways. Whereas the old way was that this water is precious, this water is life. You take care of this water. You don’t go throwing things in there. You pray to this water." > 4. Stand up for food system workers’ rights and embodied knowledge. Movements to organize food system workers have made significant progress over the past few years, from Starbucks employees fighting for a union to groups like the Farm Labor Organizing Committee’s efforts to ensure that farm workers are treated justly and paid fairly. These forms of community mobilization around the globe are all rooted in food sovereignty, through which local communities have direct control over the production of their own culturally relevant foods. As Ousmane Ndiaye of the African farmers’ organization ASPRODEB told me when I visited Senegal last year, "farmers are knowledge producers too." We can support unionized food businesses, not cross picket lines, and honor traditional and Indigenous knowledge systems. We can also use art to show solidarity and share stories: If you’re in the Boston area in February, I hope you’ll join us for a reading of Food Tank’s play, "Little Peasants: A Behind the Scenes Look at Union Organizing in the Food Sector." You can get tickets HERE, and Food Tank members can join us free by emailing [email protected]. > 5. Take care of one another. Going into 2024, we’re faced with devastating challenges, from the climate crisis to year four of Covid-19 to global hunger. Food insecurity, undernourishment, and hunger are getting worse, which is appalling, and climate-based resource shortages could make the situation even more tragic. But in the face of difficulty, we can all make a difference by creating what the economist and food systems expert Raj Patel calls an economy of care. This means taking steps to build a society that incentivizes and facilitates community support, rather than exploitation. Our work can take many forms—and Food Tank's list of 124 impactful organizations in 2024 is a good place to start! Building an economy of care is more than just a kind way to exist in the world—it can actually help make us healthier. This year, let’s uplift our local communities and build deeply rooted, resilient food systems. This year, let’s make our predictions for a better world come true! On last week’s episode of the Food Talk podcast, I shared more of our own predictions for what’s to come in 2024, and several special guests joined me to discuss the opportunities they hope to see during the year. I hope you’ll listen to the show HERE. What do you think is in store for food systems in 2024? What changemakers in your community are already stepping up to make change? Email me at [email protected] to share your thoughts and stories. I look forward to hearing from you! Onward, Dani Share this resource: Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram New On The "Food Talk" Podcast FOOD TALK with DANI ISO 1) & guests Building Resilience on the Ground: Investing in the Farmers of Today and the Future We have a really great pair of conversations on the podcast this week from fireside chats at COP28: First, with Million Belay, General Coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, and then with Sandra Uwera, Global CEO of Fairtrade International. Tune in for our discussions of the need to invest in youth and women, the connection between fair prices for farmers and environmental sustainability, and community-grounded food systems. Listen HERE → Articles You Shouldn't Miss Predicting Global Fisheries Risks: Inside WWF’s Oceans Futures Platform The organization recently launched the Oceans Futures Platform, which will be used to identify global seascapes at risk of maritime conflict or food insecurity because of climate-driven fisheries migration. Read → Harvesting Hope: How the Prison Agriculture Lab Exposes Exploitation in Prison Agriculture The Prison Agriculture Lab, which conducted the first-ever nationwide study of prison agriculture in the United States, seeks to answer the where, what, and why of agricultural practices in the criminal punishment system. Read → How Careit Turns Food Surplus into Community Solutions Careit, a food donation and rescue software, connects businesses and institutions with excess food to local nonprofit organizations addressing food insecurity. Read → Empowering Kids with Nutrition Education Kids in Nutrition (KIN) is teaching nutrition education to elementary school students across the U.S. to increase food literacy, instill healthy and sustainable dietary habits, and promote chronic disease prevention and health equity. Read → #FoodTank Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram View web version • Food Tank: The Think Tank for Food, 1915 Bank Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, United States
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