Browsing Category

Event Recaps

Event Recaps


April 12, 2016

Food Lovers Unite to Join the Conversation around Food, Just Food
by Beth Reed @simplywithout


March marks the beginning of the change of weather, new growth and life. As gardens begin and flowers bloom, so do ideas and motivation around food, policy and access at the Just Food Conference at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City.

The night before the Just Food Conference reminded me of the last day of summer vacation as a child. I would dream of what the year ahead would have in store, who my new classmates would be, the lessons that would be taught, and what adventures I would go on. The same feelings and emotions came up on the eve of the inspiring New York City food conference hosted by Just Food in partnership with the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy. The night before, I dreamt of the food based workshops, the presenters, conference goers, lectures and connections to be made. I woke up giddy with excitement the morning of the conference—which workshops would I choose, who would I meet and what new ideas would inspire me.

Walking into the conference brought an amazing feeling—so many like-minded people coming together to talk, learn, inspire and connect around topics of food. It was a huge event, with hard working staff, volunteers and people behind the scenes, and flowed seamlessly on the large Teachers College campus. Workshops were not the only teaching points—lunch was vegan with a low carbon footprint and zero waste, as all components were composted or recycled.

I chose a seed saving workshop presented by the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, located in the Hudson Valley. The workshop was hands-on, engaging, and brought a feeling of connecting back to our roots when food was food, not modified nor manipulated.  I learned that seed saving is more than digging out your tomato seeds and letting them dry in the sunshine, and brought new ideas and seeds back to my students in Brooklyn that we planted the following week. Often I have students sneak seeds into their pockets to plant at home or in the school garden, and I left feeling more qualified to teach about the seed saving process. The image of the futuristic looking vault in the North Pole as the only place to save seeds has quickly been replaced by images of houses, apartments and schools.  We can all take part in sustaining a future of quality food and health starting with just seeds.


The conference closed with a keynote from the women of Rise and Root Farm, rooted in farming, food, and connecting and inspiring communities. The presentation was playful—each woman telling her story and talking about the farm, all while bringing us on their journey through their mission and work.

I left bursting with energy, ideas, stories and information—have you ever felt so inspired you wanted to shout from the rooftops? The Just Food Conference will do just that. This conference comes once a year and brings together many people of various strengths, projects and ideas all in the name of food, just food.

The biggest thing I learned is that anyone can inspire, motivate and engage others—just share your beliefs, get a platform to communicate, talk and connect. There are people out there with similar ideas and interests—tap in and see where you go. Start small or go big, and next year I’ll see you at the Just Food Conference! But until then, connect about food, policy, recipes, books, films, markets and more over at Foodstand.

Event Recaps


April 7, 2016

Is It Just About Food? A Day At the Just Food Conference
by Noni Vaughn-Pollard @darkchocolatepeanutbutter

Photo credit: @simplywithout

Photo credit: @simplywithout

On Sunday March 13th, the Just Food Conference at Columbia’s Teachers College brought together people with good food expertise—from high school students to urban farmers. The day provided information about nutrition education, urban agriculture, food policy and food business for anyone familiar with the good food movement. People were filled with enthusiasm to learn and discuss with others about our food system.

One of the seminars I attended focused on maintaining optimal liver health. Andrea Beaman, a holistic health coach, discussed how traditional Chinese medicine can help us to de-stress our liver and our overall physique. I’ve learned about the basic functions and significance of the liver in school, however I’m unfamiliar with Eastern medicine’s views on the human body. I thought it was fascinating that in Chinese medicine inflammation in the liver affects other parts of the body such as the eyes or the skin. For instance, she discussed how itchy and tired eyes are a sign that the liver is overworked. She emphasized, “A cup of warm water with lemon is a great way to help your liver to detoxify your body!” To help the liver, Beaman also suggested avoiding fried foods, eating small meals throughout the day, eating sour and astringent herbs and foods, and drinking dandelion and milk thistle tea. Since the liver is a magnet of stress, she suggested yoga, meditation, and engaging in creative activities like coloring. She even showed us how to build energy in our body by tapping our body with our fists. Overall I enjoyed the talk and learned to appreciate my liver for its daily hard work. For more information, you can visit Andrea Beaman’s website.

Learning what different cultures can teach us about our relationship with our bodies was a significant takeaway from the seminar. I think some people tend to stereotype Eastern medicine as a hippy phenomenon but I feel that keeping an open-mind about how different cultures treat their bodies can help us as well. It’s ironic since many of us are aware of the benefits of Eastern medicine. For instance, Indian cuisine uses turmeric in their cooking and the Japanese love miso, two foods that Americans are now raving about for their nutritional benefits. Eastern medicine has always been classified as “alternative medicine” however it feels like it is becoming the new normal in Western culture. I would like to know from others—who uses traditional Chinese medicine for healing, exercise and nutrition?

I’m glad that the Just Food Conference sponsored this event on liver health because it was a topic that interested a wide array of people. I enjoyed listening to Andrea Beaman—she had an extroverted personality and was happy to answer any questions from the audience. And I feel the conference had a strong focus on changing the image of the good food movement to a more diverse one—one that included female urban farmers of color. I’ve always had a concern over the image of good food, but I was definitely satisfied with the various speakers and audience members I saw at Just Food.

Event Recaps


April 4, 2016
The audience listens on at a recent Good Food Spotlight held at Brooklyn FoodWorks.

The audience listens on at a recent Good Food Spotlight held at Brooklyn FoodWorks.

From Shark Tank to Foundermade—food entrepreneurs are getting more stage time to present their businesses to investors and audiences, but the Good Food Spotlight, co-produced by Foodstand and Slow Money NYC, has been a monthly staple for good food entrepreneurs. 

This month, the Good Food Spotlight, co-produced by Foodstand and Slow Money NYC, convened at Foodstand’s Headquarters on 5th Avenue to gather together for their monthly pitch fest.

The crowd was larger than the last by at least two dozen people—a testament to the growing hunger and excitement around food entrepreneurship. Over 100 people—ranging from fellow food entrepreneurs and investors to food writers and straight up food-interested folk—buzzed about the smorgasbord of food, provided by Local Roots NYC, a pick-as-you-please CSA, and artisan cheese supplier, Murray’s Cheese.

The concept of Spotlight is elegant yet simple. As Edible Manhattan, earlier described, “Entrepreneurs can pitch their businesses to a panel of experts for feedback in front of a supportive crowd, or book short, private appointments with an industry expert.”

“This is the place to find exciting food products and services that are really startups…The real time tweets on the screen behind the presenter form a mosaic of Haiku market consumer intelligence and insights,” said Richard Gray, a seasoned food vet who has worked with the likes of Vital Choice Seafood, Balducci’s and Organic Avenue—and who was a first-time panelist and coach after attending an earlier Spotlight. “[T]here’s a lot of insights and professional feedback for the presenters,” he stated.

“This is the place to find exciting food products and services that are really startups…The real time tweets on the screen behind the presenter form a mosaic of Haiku market consumer intelligence and insights.” ~ Richard Gray

Businesses of any size can apply to be a part of Spotlight—from those who are just starting out—like Bija Bhar, one of the presenters from the evening who creates organic, minimally-processed, portable, superfood products at newly-minted Brooklyn FoodWorks, to Kickstarter breakouts like Omar Rada’s Misen, which crowdsourced $1.1 million for a snazzy, affordable chef’s knife—to well-capitalized or well-on-the-path companies, like BonBite, which is a local, sustainable lunchbox and catering business that already services the likes of Etsy, Vogue and Casper.

The judges in March’s Good Food Spotlight panel weigh in. From L-R: Yusha Hu (Local Bushel), Devita Davidson (FoodLab Detroit) and food pioneer Richard Gray.

The judges in March’s Good Food Spotlight panel weigh in. From L-R: Yusha Hu (Local Bushel), Devita Davidson (FoodLab Detroit) and food pioneer Richard Gray.

Other presenters from the evening included Jalapajar, a Smorgasburg-crowd fave salsa company, to whom Gray suggested and encouraged owning the “breakfast salsa” category; Barley and Oats, a meal delivery service incubated out of the Hot Bread Kitchen Incubator and designed specifically to support mothers throughout pregnancy to postpartum, which Gray heartily announced is, “a winner!”; and Spread-mmm’s, a definitively cheeky olive tapenade hand-crafted in Harlem, which gave the crowd a few good laughs. “The police lady…” first-time panelist and Co-director of FoodLab Detroit, Devita Davidson said, motioning over to the Spread-mmm’s logo. “I’m trying to figure it out…Is that like when the police say, ‘Spread ‘em’? It’s a little suggestive!”

Yes, there were definitely some laughs at Spotlight—and also great takeaways. The three panelists—Gray, Davidson and Yusha Hu (CEO of Local Bushel), dug their heels deep after each 4-minute pitch. “Start with one SKU—and either direct-to-consumer or wholesale” was the resounding sentiment from the panelists for Anjali Bhargava’s company Bija Bhar, while the crowd texted in, sharing their opinion that the real saleable point of her product is that it’s “minimally-processed and low in sugar.”

Who thought olive tapenade could be so fun? Spread-mmms gets a laugh from the crowd.

Who thought olive tapenade could be so fun? Spread-mmms gets a laugh from the crowd.

Ashly Yashchin, founder of Barley and Oats, was shocked to learn that 9 in 10 mothers are micronutrient deficient at conception, which was part of the reason why she started her food delivery service for new and expecting moms. “I’m looking at the numbers coming up [for the question] ‘If you were a mother at what phase would you order the most from our service?’,” Davidson said, referring to the crowdsourced feedback from the audience, “And it looks like the majority right now are coming in as postpartum recovery—the first 12 weeks post birth”, implying that Yashchin might want to focus her segment. There was also a suggestion by Gray to “think national” and consider having multiple kitchens, moving to flash frozen products, or modifying packaging to keep the freshness from 10 days to 2 weeks.

The panelists chimed in to the Jalapajar presentation, whose co-founders shared that they were looking to open up a small restaurant after the resounding success at Smorgasburg. Considerations of risky real estate, setting up near university settings, and serving more than one dish was the principal feedback. The crowd agreed that breakfast tacos were the way to go, and provided all sorts of ideas of other dishes that can be served with salsa—from eggs to ceviche. Davidson suggested that Jalapajar could cut their rent dramatically by heading to her hometown. “There are quite a bit of Brooklyn chefs and Brooklyn entrepreneurs moving to the city of Detroit simply because rent is so darn cheap…And not only can they afford the rent but then can buy the building!”

The Jalapa Jar founders realized they could own the breakfast salsa category after presenting at Spotlight.

The Jalapa Jar founders realized they could own the breakfast salsa category after presenting at Spotlight.

“Foodstand Spotlight was a great experience on every level and something that forced us to get our plan together,” said Steve Smith, co-founder of Jalapajar said. “I will definitely recommend this event to all the companies we know that are looking for a platform.” Gray concludes, “Spotlight…is truly a forum to get a business idea out there for feedback. It’s providing the premier forum for this level of startup in the New York area.”

Join Foodstand and Slow Money NYC for our next Good FoodSpotlight event: Monday, May 16th in NYC!

Want to see Spotlight in your hometown? Email us or reach out on our app and tell us why your city should be next!

Event Recaps


April 1, 2016

ReFED’s Roadmap: 27 Solutions to Solving the U.S. Food Waste Problem
by Emily Summerlin @etsummer

In early March, the release of ReFED’s Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste brought together a diverse audience at Stanford University to celebrate the launch of the report and discuss solutions to the country’s prevalent wasted food issue. Foodstand ambassadors Emily Summerlin (@etsummmer) and Jenna Zimmerman (@jrzimmer) were in attendance and share their experience.


Imperfect Produce CEO Ben Simon speaking at the March 9th ReFED gathering. Photo @jrzimmer

The United States “spends $218 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, growing, processing, and transporting food that is never eaten.” Put simply by Sam Kass, NBC’s Senior Food Analyst, “that is insane.”

In addition to the huge economic costs this problem incurs for the country, this is tragic not only in the sense that one in seven Americans are food insecure, but also in that this wasted food emits a harmful stream of greenhouse gases as it decomposes in the landfill, further contributing to global climate change. It is incomprehensible that this issue, so monstrous and detrimental to our economy and human and environmental health, has only recently emerged into the mainstream spotlight and found its way into the consciousness of American eaters, largely thanks to a segment on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight last summer.

Fortunately, this momentum has come at a perfect time, coordinating with the recent release of ReFED’s Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste, a comprehensive report laying out the plan to reduce the country’s food waste by 20% through a number of feasible, cost-effective, and scalable solutions. The report boasts a new approach to looking at the food waste issue, being the first comprehensive report to examine the food waste problem and lay out solutions using economics and data analysis.

In early March, fellow Foodstand ambassador Jenna Zimmerman and myself were lucky enough to join the folks behind the ReFED report as well as a number of other good food professionals and innovators at Stanford University on the day of the report’s launch. The half-day summit was a gathering of around 150 individuals from diverse backgrounds—farmers, chefs, policymakers, entrepreneurs, students, etc.—all in attendance to find a way forward to put an end to the food waste debacle. The joke was made several times that it felt like we were at a family wedding, not solely due to the intimate seating arrangements, but because the mood in the room was light and celebratory. We were coming together to send this revolutionary report out into the world.

A number of speakers and panelists took the stage to cover the basics of the strategy and actions the report lays out, which are organized under the four pillars of education, policy, innovation, and financing. After a welcome and opening remarks from ReFED, Sam Kass gave a brief address in which he laid out the problem of food waste, and made the remark mentioned above addressing the complete absurdity of this issue. However, he finished up with the inspiring statement that with the publication of the report, “We now have momentum which is the most important thing. Once you have momentum, everything is possible”.

ReFED’s main finding re: total investment and societal economic value of pursuing the solutions presented in ReFED’s roadmap. Photo @jrzimmer

ReFED’s main finding re: total investment and societal economic value of pursuing the solutions presented in ReFED’s roadmap. Photo @jrzimmer

Several panels followed throughout the afternoon, giving insight into the possibilities behind each of the proposed solution areas. Without getting too into the weeds, the bottom line finding after the extensive research and modeling that went into the creation of the report is that “an $18 billion investment in 27 solutions to reduce US food waste by 20% will yield $100 billion in net societal economic value over a decade,” a figure that includes tons of food recovered, gallons of water saved, business profit, consumer savings, tons of greenhouse gas emissions reduced, and jobs created.

One key image the presentations kept returning to was a curve laying out 27 solutions ranked by their potential impact vs. cost in three categories: prevention, recovery, and recycling. The solutions that came out on top for greatest economic value per ton were: standardized date labeling, consumer education campaigns, and packaging adjustments; while the solutions with most diversion potential were: centralized composting, centralized anaerobic digestion, and water resources recovery facilities with anaerobic digestion. While the solutions with most diversion potential do require a large amount of planning and capital investment, something that ReFED accounted for in their economic analysis and section on financing, the diversion that will come from consumer education campaigns is not insubstantial.

What does this mean? It means that as individuals, we can take action right now and make a huge difference. At present, 43% of food waste occurs in homes, which equals 27 million tons of food wasted each year. Hopefully, with the release of this report, date labeling laws and consumer education campaigns will begin rolling out soon (proposed legislation on expiration labels is already popping up in San Francisco), but right now it is in the consumer’s hands to educate ourselves and do everything we can to reduce food waste in our own lives.

The first step in doing this is to change our attitudes about food waste, and think instead in terms of wasted food. The word “waste” implies something old, useless, and without value, but the 63 million tons of food being wasted in the U.S. is perfectly edible, nourishing, and delicious. There are numerous resources where you can find tips on smarter grocery shopping and how to cook with parts of fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t utilize. Additionally, look for organizations in your area that focus on fighting food waste through food recovery, either through saving “ugly” produce from rotting in the field or by facilitating donations to food banks. Acting on these individual solutions will enable us to in turn scale up the solutions as a society and touch on the three pillars of the solution that ReFED lays out beyond education: policy, innovation, and financing.

I walked away from the ReFED summit feeling truly inspired not only by the hard work put in by the team on the report itself, but also by the stories and thoughts of all the stakeholders seated in the room around me. The collaborative nature of the production of this roadmap, which boasts a list of nearly 100 contributors from backgrounds as varied as the USDA to Walmart, drove home the point that this is a truly pervasive issue that not only affects every person in our country on multiple levels, but on the positive side presents numerous areas for improvement.

Event Recaps

Chefs Tasting Pop-Up Recap!

July 21, 2014

On June 30th Foodstand co-hosted with Welcome Table a local chef’s tasting pop up at Purpose.

We’d like to share a quick recap of this SOLD OUT event!

First, we would like to take a moment to appreciate our co-host – Welcome Table. Welcome Table is a private chef booking service that supports Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) organization that helps chefs dedicated to good food in finding jobs.

We were able to book 3 local amazing chefs for the event – Chef Flo, Chef Jin & Chef Mukti.


We had over 65+ diners that joined us — food lovers, writers, entrepreneurs, journalists, and most importantly dear friends of Foodstand and Welcome Table fans. All diners got three colorful delicious tastings from the chefs. Each chef also got to share their own stories, ingredients of the dishes and had time for a question/answer session.



Meet Chef Flo from Serve M.E. Now 

Chef Flo created Italian-inspired dishes featured in his “Pasta Perfect” Cooking Class.


  • Homemade Tagliatelle tossed w/ Pesto alla Genovese
  • Traditional Bruschetta topped w/ a Pea Pesto & Fresh Jersey Tomatoes drizzled w/ a balsamic reduction featuring NYC Rooftop Honey
  • Farmer’s Stand Micro Greens dressed w/ a Grilled Tomato & Thyme Vinaigrette


Meet Chef Jin from Jin’s Journey


Chef Jin created Summer inspired dishes.

  • Summer Market Risotto
  • Blueberry Lavender Doughnuts

Meet Chef Mukti from Mukti’s Kitchen

Chef Mukti created her favorite Indian dishes.

  • Chickpea masala aka chole
  • Vegetable pulao with onion, carrots, raisins and cashews.


We were so excited to wash down all this delicious food with Switchel cocktails!

 Switchel Cocktail Recipe.

  •  1 oz Tito’s handmade, 4 oz Switchel 
  • freshly muddled cucumbers,
  • lime,
  • mint 

Shaken and served chilled. So refreshing and good! 

 Thank you to Switchel for sponsoring the refreshing drink!

Thank you to everyone who came, we heard great things from diners and made a lot of new friends. Thank you again to our co-hosts, Welcome Table, Switchel, our drinks sponsor, and Susan Yao, our photographer, and last but not least our lovely army of volunteers who made this event a huge success. 

Want to see more photos from event? Click here.

Ideas on our next event? Email us at

Want to learn more about foodstand and how to get involved email us.

 Keep cool this summer and see you soon!


Event Recaps

Storytelling & Food – Our First Event!

May 29, 2014

We were thrilled to kick off our first big event this Tuesday in collaboration with the organization that brings you TEDxManhattan each year, Change Food. During Storytelling & Food, five talented artists shared their work and discussed the ways storytelling can shape the way people look at food. 

Tattfoo Tan’s (@tattfoo) art practice seeks to find an immediate, direct and effective way of exploring issues related to the individual in society, through which we collapse the categories of ‘art’ and ‘life’ into one. Tattfoo has presented, collaborated and shown his works in various venues and institutions including: Staten Island Arts, Queens Museum of Art, Parsons the New School for Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, and dozens more. You may have seen some Tattfoo’s work around NY, including the Nature Matching System. The giant grid of color, inspired by fresh fruits and vegetables, was one of largest public art projects seen at the Port Authority and in Dumbo. NY Art Beat says, Tattfoo’s work “force(s) us to question what we eat, how we use our land, why we are wasteful with food and with our materials, and they suggest new ways to consider these questions.” 

He is currently showing S.O.S. at the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island

Ava Chin (@avachin) is the author of Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal, which Kirkus called “A delectable feast of the heart.” The former Urban Forager columnist for the New York Times, she has written for the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Saveur, the Village Voice, and Martha Stewart Online. Huffington Post named Ava as one of 9 contemporary authors you should be reading. Vogue named her book one Spring’s best food books. A professor of creative nonfiction at CUNY, she lives and forages in New York City.

Sean Kaminsky (@sesameproject) is an award winning documentary filmmaker and writer whose work focuses on environmental and social issues. His past projects have been broadcast on PBS, Sundance Channel, and HBO. “Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds” is his first feature length documentary as director.

Lee Brooks is a composer for film, television, and advertising, specializing in modern orchestral music. His work is noted for using strong emotive melodies and often chilling use of neo-romantic harmonies and exciting builds. He is also a singer-songwriter, matching those melodies with ethereal vocals and orchestral influences.

Henry Hargreaves (@henry_photo) is a New York City based photographer and artist whose work has regularly been covered by the media and represented at the Venice Biennale and at Art Basel. Henry’s work includes several collections of food photography, including some of our favorites, such as “Food maps” and “Burning Calories,” Henry’s take on the fast food industry. 

We were also thrilled to have local, delicious treats for our guests from the following sponsors, Quinciple, Sweet Loren’s, Super Eats Kale Chips, Casare Casella, and Harmless Harvest. 

We hope to do many more of these events, so if you have ideas on presenters, collaborations, or other unique programming, please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at or drop us a line on Facebook. We would love to hear from you. 

Stay tuned for pictures and video from the event!