Liveblog: Food Blogging for Change


Welcome to the live blog for the BlogHer Food '11 session Values: Food Blogging for Change panel.

Liveblog: Food Blogging for Change Saturday Session Two

Elaine Wu - (e)
Andrew Wilder - (a)
Michelle Ferrier - (m)
Betinna Luescher-;; (b)
Mrs. Q - (mq)
audience comment/question (aud)

Elaine Wu, marketing communications director for Blogher introduced the panel, referenced above.

E: Why did Bettina decide to work with the WFP
B: storyteller, CNN anchor...when time ended in broadcast i wanted to work with the UN and WFP. Amazing thing for me is how we can share stories we see in the field and how the web can enable sharing of these stories provides avenues for impact.

E: Andrew, how long and why
A. starting blogging about a year ago - getting out of the entertainment industry - started eating well, dropped 30 lbs., and became passionate about food and eating. became an expert by starting a blog.

E: Michelle, tell us
M: blog came out of a grant challenge - pitched an idea for women's community news. when began looking for areas where women were making a difference I found it was around family and food. Had done stories on local and community farmers market. realized social commentary was happening at the farmers market rather than the town center. Food as a pathway to local change.

E: agree - food is a springboard

E. Mrs q - tell us your inspiration for your anonymous blog.
MQ: 2009 i became aware by way of my child's school lunch program of the need for change. decided to start eating a school lunch for a year. am anonymous.

e: this is a very diverse panel so everyone will have very different perspectives.
e: any questions so far?
aud: mq, how did you get away with anon and take pics: mQ: get a lunch and take to a room

e: how do you address budget, taste, and health
b: budget is a big challenge. funding cuts create challenges to aid operations. Health, hunger is the #1 killer in the world - solutions can be so easy. ex: .25 a day feeds a schoolchild which allows for better learning and a possibility for better future.
a: i look at "what can you do" Taste - number one reason people choose something to eat. folks know they need to eat healthy - time is a factor in change and knowledge -knowing what is healthy. budget: vt study farmers market vs grocery store study showed fm cheaper
M: local foods - educate readers on local foods
mq: school foods, you find people on both sides of the budget debate so I try to present both sides of the argument.

e: that brings up a question,,is safe healthy food a viable option
m: food and environmental atlas online information now available via fda to help people find safe, healthy foods communities are developing food hubs for gathering, processing and distribution of healthy food. also food trucks are being used in the community to deliver safe and healthy.
b: international scale we are using some of those same ideas and methods. as aid organization we have buying power to purchase from small scale farmers (generally women) support the farmer to pool food and produce large scale distribution.
mq: community gardens are huge and urban farms are around
a: food desert in la that started a shuttle service to allow community to get to local grocers who provide fresh and healthy.
b: in haiti we are buying milk from local farmers so they have an income and then we give to children in school meal programs with keeps it local and makes a huge difference.

e: using your voice to make a difference, andrew, do you think social media can have an impact in the food communities you work in...starting with michelle.
m: website leads to facebook and twitter and allow one to communicate to different audiences with different content. twitter: fast facts, facebook: more personal information.
a: change happens one person at time...twitter is one person reading post at a time. created a hashtag for a project and so recognition of project grow and spread to national media outlets
b: twitter account has over 20K follower...appeal to you in the room to be a voice. its not a guilt trip its a power trip.

aud: difference of scale in the wfp has a huge problem to tackle...but can through top down process develop a milk program in haiti that supports a whole community. while in the us it seems to be a more grassroots process.
mq: food justice issue going on in school food programs
b: such an investment in the future

e: you are all discussing the same issue - just on a different scale and perspective

aud: I work for a national nonprofit tackling childhood obesity where school is a do you see the hunger issue being tackles in america
b: starts with knowledge, how to share and tell stories and present solutions. simple tricks to use - rewards.
m: stories - we all have images of hunger..turn story on its head and recognize all children starve for good food in the us. start small scale to address the issues.

aud: on cookingmatters thing we are working on is ending childhood hunger - the irony between obesity and hunger - search out work going on addressing this issue

aud: can you share success stories how you battle compassion fatigue? and policy change?
mq: cf is real - one way is define yourself around one cause. don't become overwhelmed with all the issues. using sm: power is that you can reach so many people
b: cf - come at is that food is celebration and community that keeps me going and enthusiastic...mindset and small steps can combat cf. good food is everybody's right
a: cf - surround myself with new people and become reinvigorated. ie coming to this conference. start a foodblog in your community or get involved in the one that is there. focus on readers is better not best. perfect food doesn't exist.
b: we try to make it combat cf. share success stories of the participants recipients not the organization

aud: b, what is your stance on gmo.
b: seeds are not provided. expertise on gmo lies more with world health organization. we leave it up to the government of the countries and let them make the decision on gmo.

aud: i give 10% to children and food. there is such a disconnect. if you had $50 where would you put it...would you spend locally or globally
a: i would send to slowfood usa or cspi
mq: look in your community for where to put the $50 ie common threads - food camp for kids
m: acting locally - that $50 could start a small garden in the neighborhood...
b: i encourage you to look for both local and global opportunities
e: b brings up a very good point even tho she is with a large org - it has many local focused projects

aud: speak to working with big brands
mq: i tend to completely ignore more brand have to decide which brands you believe in and work with those and don't regret it
a: i have trouble with branding partners decision making. I talk to company directly and make decisions that enable me to sleep at night. stand up for what you believe in.

b: from you guys, how can we do a better job - make a more meaningful relationship with bloggers
aud: get involved first hand with projects that have meaning to you-blog it
m: empower children to make a difference
b: interactive rice program example
aud: i think it would help if larger orgs could communicate that what is being done is results of actual projects...use transparency via social media

e: wish we had more time to food policy...what 3 changes are on your wish list for fp change
mq: leg. changes...fries are not a vegetable; chocolate milk needs to go; processed meat banned.
m: towns recognize that food security is just as important as everything else; home econ at the elem school level; school lunch program policy change - last child - first child
a: need to flip organic/commercial legal requirements; any marketing language off any food package every; stop subsidizing corn and instead fresh foods subsidy
b: no leg funding cuts in child hunger programs - ever on any level
e: thank you panelists.

live blogger: Sara Anne Gibson