Food and Future collaborated with Bitten to dedicate an evening to food conversations (YES!!!)- specifically revolving around the topic of transparency. This evening kicked off an incredible weekend in Boston in more ways than I imagined - and so began a trip of fully immersing in an environment of growth that was both energizing and intellectually challenging.
It went a little something like this...I hop off the plane, successfully manage to navigate myself through Boston straight to the event, show up to this incredible set-up (I'm talking this breathtaking view overlooking the water, the sun is setting, there's buzzing conversation, 'Good Times' playlist bumpin' on Spotify) and of course.. my luggage in one hand and lots of salad and lots of wine in the other. This was my place. Balance, right?
Make some friends. Take a seat. And get ready for an incredible evening of conversations.
Here are those "DAMN" moments:
Nadia Berenstein: The History of Transparency in Food - flavor historian.
- This banana picture raised the question - "is it actually bad to consume foods with words on the labels we cant pronounce'"(typically, the 'rule of thumb' to steer clear of shit that shouldn't go in our body's)…are these daunting chemistry words nothing but ways of communicating our world's make up? For example this pure banana right off the tree - there is nothing "fake" about this...BOOM, and so begins the conversation of "transparency"
- Artificial vs Natural - how might we use labels to educate?
- When creating labels ask the questions - "does this give a better idea of what's in the product? What it is communicating?"
Deb Roy: Algorithms and Transparency - MIT lab director for social machines
- Apples are old AF…did you know that? Over a year by the time you consume it..and much lower nutritional value
- The picture above explains the casualty between #bacon and transparency through twitter data aka when the WHO released in 2015 it's relation to cancer...everyone flipped out (spike in talk) and (drop in consumption)..eventually in the long-term it doesn't do anything
- Fake news and food tribes. This is real, my friends. Just as we tend to 'herd' and affiliate with a political party (and how we make assumptions off who someone is and what they believe...implicit bias) - this is also found in 'foodies' ...like..hypothetically, let's say I Instagram a picture of my food (I would never) and how you make conclusions (even subconsciously) of who I am and my 'tribe'
- Side note: I've never been more fascinated by data in my life - if it was possible to take a VR trip through the social architect of this data, it would be a better trip than any amusement park ride
- The implications this research could have on positive behavior change - the social architecture of the language of food influences can affect our habits - who does it best? The analysis clustering the inter-connectivity between vegan, vegetarians, gluten-free, paleo, raw, keto, …Canadian mom's...tells a fascinating story
- "Agriculture" and "food" are used interchangeably but agriculture includes cotton, which includes our clothes... (so if you care about food, listen.)
- We've reached PEAK STUFF. We've never owned so much at so cheap.
- We wear the average piece of clothing 7x
- 150 billion units of clothing are DUMPED every year (that's an average of an attire wardrobe per person a year)
- Less than 2% of American's clothes are made in the US
- Apparel is 10% of carbon foot print
- This IS NOT what the consumer wants, but what we are made to think we want (gave me major inspo in terms of business marketing)
- The google search "tidy up" is peaking - more than ever we have an interest in taking control of our shit and we are reaching mental exhaustion of consumption
- Purposeful consumption isn't just eating
- The cost of cheap material: The remains of our clothes are found in our food...and wool's waste is 8% that of Polyester..so less in your food (this is one reason why I love AllBirds **and FYI - I wouldn't break them in by walking 7+ miles walking around Boston ..however, for the record they wash soppy puddles of blood out perfectly)
- Brands lose control of the supply chain when sourced over seas (s/o to Dr. Maier for the pre-knowledge in Thursday's lecture)
- The fashion industry is 20 years behind the food industry - "it's hard to provide a solution when people don't even realize what the problem is"
- ACTION ITEMS: 1. check the tags 2. check the seams 3. LOVE what you buy 4. ASK the brand Q's on the factories, names of mills and certifications 5. Think of your purchases in terms of cost per wear (amortization!)
- Clearly Asian fusion restaurant ideas are the good way to go #Fueled
- "Follow your gut, especially when you're hungry"
- Ask the why to develop the what
- PURPOSE! Purpose. Purpose. Purpose. Why is the design the way it is? The food? The style? Focusing on the intentional, human-centered design makes + food that is there for reason - it makes your biz rock.
- Cooking isn't just about having a restaurant - it's about a process, a story, relationships, people, having something to say - it's about food, community and collaboration.
Panel: Transparency in the Dairy Industry
- Carrie Mess - Went from never milking a cow to pro-Dairy Farmer and Founder of the DairyCarrie.com Blog
- Sue McCloskey - Founder and Farmer - Fairlife and Fair Oaks Farms
- Ellen Miseo - Chief Scientist, Illuminate & Food + Future
- This was interesting…I haven't consumed dairy in seven years…and truthfully, I have differing opinions and beliefs on dairy than the panelists. However, listening provided incredible perspective and I appreciate their passion for what they do
- We need good ass science
- Olive Oil is the most fraudulent food in the world (Milk second and Honey third)
- At the end of the day, food choice is important…and you should be well informed
An hour past the expected event ending time...and 110% worth it. I took the train (I may have messed that up a couple times..not the first time this has happened) and made it to the wonderful home of the friend of a friend who so generously provided me the comfiest couch (for four days) in Boston. Round two of fun began the next morning where I joined 20 people at the Food and Future HQ with Bitten to continue the conversation's from the evening's Salon through a workshop and rapid design-thinking process.