Tag Archives: diane hatz

Change Food Year-End Update

Following is an end-of-the-year update from my nonprofit program Change Food….

As Change Food approaches the end of our first fiscal year (which is July 31st), we are taking the opportunity to look back at what we’ve achieved.  We’re proud to have spearheaded another successful TEDxManhattan event, as well as organizing our first Change Food Salon, “Storytelling & Food.”  We’ve also begun taking steps to implement future projects, including a video library, education kits, organizational database and statement of principles.

Change Food’s projects all support the overall goal of raising awareness of problems with our food system, as well as offering potential solutions.  For more information, see our Projects page.

TEDxManhattan was once again a resounding success in 2014.  This year’s event had a capacity audience of 375, as well as moreSteve Ritz than 13,000 individuals who watched the live webcast, and 150 viewing parties were held around the U.S. and overseas.  Total video views for all TEDxManhattan talks from 2011 to today are approaching 6 million.  Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook summed up TEDxManhattan’s impact when he said on stage, “This institution, TEDxManhattan, has changed the food movement.”

TEDxManhattan’s social media reach continued to grow as well, thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers.  More than 65,000 people were reached via Facebook during TEDxManhattan, and 10,285 tweets were sent with our hashtag, #TEDxMan.  We had an estimated total Twitter exposure of nearly 8 million.

Storytelling and Food

We also moved ahead with new projects.  Change Food hosted its first Salon, “Storytelling and Food” on May 27, 2014.  The event, which attracted a capacity crowd of 80, was co-hosted with Foodstand, a project of the company Purpose.   The salon gave a platform to five artists working in diverse media to bring attention to issues around food. Videos of the talks are on our YouTube channel.

Educational kits are being developed around various TEDxManhattan talks, with the goal of making the talks more useful as teaching tools.  These kits will include study guides, discussion questions and materials, and links to further information.  We are finalizing our first two educational guides around Peter Lehner’s 2013 food waste talk and Megan Miller’s 2014 talk on eating insects.  We worked with The Creative Kitchen and Edible Schoolyard NYC, respectively, to develop the guides.

We put together a plan, and are now seeking funding, for the Change Food Video Library, which will consist of the best short-length videos about issues around sustainable food and farming.  These will come from a variety of conferences, events, organizations and outlets.  We will also pursue partnerships with organizations that have high-quality video content; for example, we have formed a partnership with Anna Lappe’s Real Food Media Project.

We also developed a plan for the a Sustainable Food and Farming Database, a national, interactive database of sustainable food and farming organizations, where groups will be able to connect and interact with each other, share ideas and ask for assistance.  It will also allow groups to develop joint projects and allow the movement to create a bigger groundswell around critical issues.

Matthew Moore

We are involved with the formation of AgArts, an effort by various individuals in the food/farming/art world to develop an organization that will help use the arts to promote issues around food and farming.  Examples of this are Matthew Moore’s and Sam Van Aken’s talks at TEDxManhattan 2014.  A creative brief and strategic plan are in the early stages.

At TEDxManhattan 2014, Diane Hatz called for the food movement to come together and sign a Statement of Principles pledging that groups will make more of an effort to work together collaboratively and to help each other. The Statement is currently being finalized and will be circulated and online shortly.

(This was copied from Change Food’s 2013-14 Year in Review page.)

Change Food – my new program

I’m pleased to announce that I am the Founder and Executive Director of a new program called Change Food.  Read on to find out more about what I’m doing….

Change Food’s vision is to help shift the U.S. food supply to a regional, sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all.

Change Food’s mission is to help individuals change the way they eat by raising public awareness and educating consumers about problems with the U.S. food system.  It highlights what can and is being done to dismantle the ill effects of industrial agriculture as well as promoting sustainable solutions so that all people have access to healthy, nutritious food.

Goals of the program are to:

  1. Develop and implement creative projects that raise awareness and educate individuals about various aspects of the sustainable food and farming movement, as well as highlight problems with industrial agriculture and promote possible solutions
  2. Inspire and invigorate the sustainable food movement
  3. Reach beyond the already converted to a broader audience

The first project of Change Food is TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat.”  Change Food is a sponsor to the annual event and works throughout the year to market videos of the talks, disseminate educational materials related to speakers’ subject matter and bring innovative ideas from the event to the widest possible audience.

Change Food is headed by founder and executive director Diane Hatz.  Hatz brings with her 15 years of experience in the food movement, including her previous positions as executive producer of The Meatrix movies, founder and director of Sustainable Table, founder of the Eat Well Guide, and co-founder and director of The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming.  She is currently the organizer and host of TEDxManhattan.

“Not only do we need to raise more public awareness about problems and solutions with the U.S. food system, we also need to find ways to support each other and promote the work so many experts are doing,” says Hatz.  “And that is why Change Food has been launched.”

The ChangeFood.org website is currently in development.  In the meantime, you can like the program on Facebook at www.facebook.com/changefood or follow Change Food through Twitter @changeourfood.

5 Reasons Sustainable Food is the Answer

This post originally appeared on CSRWire’s TalkBack blog…..

Can organic farming really feed the world’s billions?

Earlier this summer, United Nations expert Olivier De Schutter held a special meeting in Brussels that concluded agroecology (or sustainable farming) outperforms industrial agriculture and could be scaled up to feed the world while also protecting the environment and reducing pollution that’s contributing to climate change.

The widest study ever undertaken on agroecological approaches (Jules Pretty, Essex University, UK) concluded that this type of farming increased crop yields by 79 percent in developing countries.  Successes from this type of farming can be found around Africa as well as in Cuba and Brazil.

In addition, a 2008 United Nations report, commonly referred to as the World Agriculture Report, concluded that the world must move away from chemical-dependent industrial agriculture toward sustainable farming.

Why are an increasing number of studies and reports concluding that sustainable farming is the best method to feed the world and ourselves? Here are five of a multitude of reasons:

1.     Higher yield. 286 projects in 57 developing countries, representing 37 million hectares, were studied, and the average crop yield gain was 79%.  In the United States and UK, studies have shown that organic crop yields equal industrial yields and are sometimes even higher.

2.     Less chemicals used. Farmers use manure from their animals to fertilize the soil, as well as crop rotation systems, thus minimizing or eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers.  In addition, through planting specific crops next to each other and introducing certain types of insects and birds, chemical pesticides are not used.

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Media That Inspires

This was an interview I did last month on Participant Media’s blog TakePart.com.  You can find more in their Media That Matters section.

“Media That Inspires” is an ongoing conversation at TakePart that recognizes the power that films, books, and other media have to compel change and prompt action. TakePart is asking people who make a difference every day about the works that have inspired them.

Diane Hatz co-founded and is the director of The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming. The Institute is a creative action tank working to shift the U.S. to a regional sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all.  Her past work includes founding and directing the consumer education program,Sustainable Table, executive producing The Meatrix animated movies on factory farming and co-founding and directing Eat Well Guide, an online sustainable food directory.

Q: Which film or book was a wake-up call and made you truly aware of an issue?

A:When I was fairly young, an early teen, To Kill a Mockingbird opened my eyes to prejudice, racism and the human condition. I think it was the first time I was able to see beyond my little suburban bubble and into another world that was made incredibly real through Lee’s writing. Everyone should read this book at least once in their life—it is simply one of the best books ever written. Another book is George Orwell’s 1984it was also an eye opener, especially having read it before 1984, and introduced me to Big Brother and corporate/government control.

Q: Which film or book inspired you to take action and get involved in an issue?

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The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming launches

This is the press release that went out recently announcing the official launch of The Glynwood Institute.


Geralyn Delaney Graham,  geralyn@resourcescommunications.com,  direct 281. 980. 6643  | mobile 917. 826. 5094

Diane Hatz, The Glynwood Institute, dhatz@glynwood.org, mobile 917.848.1081

For Release: April 14, 2010

The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming  www.GlynwoodInstitute.org

Co-Founder & Director Diane Hatz, former founder/director of Sustainable Table, and Co-Founder and Glynwood President Judith LaBelle envision the Institute as a “creative action tank” that finds realistic solutions to critical problems in food and farming.

Cold Spring, NY – In celebration of the upcoming 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Glynwood is pleased to announce the launch of its new division, The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming.

“Our vision is to shift the U.S. from an industrial-based system of agriculture to a regional, sustainable food supply,” says Co-Founder & Director of The Glynwood Institute Diane Hatz.  “One where healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all.”

“To do that,” says Co-Founder and Glynwood President Judith LaBelle, “we support leaders in sustainable food and farming and also develop projects that help communicate or raise awareness about today’s food.”

Innovation + Awareness  = Change

At the heart of The Glynwood Institute is the Innovation Program, where selected leaders or emerging leaders within the sustainable food and farming movement are supported as they develop, launch or promote a project that addresses a critical need or issue within the field. In addition, The Institute helps develop marketing and communications strategies to educate, raise awareness about, or expand the Innovators’ work.

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What’s the best way to feed Haiti’s starving masses?

This post appeared on the CSRwire.com Talkback blog on January 29, 2010….

The Bible says, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” Sustainable food expert Diane Hatz takes that dictum to heart in her prescription for food security for Haiti after the earthquake.

Rebuilding Haiti’s Food System
by Diane Hatz

The earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12th shocked the world. Immediate relief efforts must continue for as long as necessary and need to focus on providing food, shelter and medical care for the millions of Haitians affected. But, at the same time, experts must start looking at ways to rebuild the country, and a strong focus needs to be put on agriculture and the country’s food system.

The United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called for $23 million for agriculture to support farms, backyard gardens, urban agriculture and rural development. And to be most effective, a sustainable system of agriculture needs to be introduced, where many farmers work small plots of land to yield many types of crops, and minimal to no pesticides or fertilizers are used.

In addition, the government needs to rebuild infrastructure such as roads and canals, provide subsidies for Haitian farmers, reforest destroyed land and increase tariffs on imported foods. Efforts must be made to help Haitians become self-sufficient so food riots like in April 2008 do not happen again.

This is vital to the rebuilding of Haiti. According to the United Nation’s World Food Programme, 76% of Haitians live on less than $2 day and 56% on less than $1 a day. The FAO reports that around 80% of Haitians are involved with agriculture, but they do not have the necessary expertise or equipment. Haitians need to be given the tools – training, seeds, hand tools, livestock such as pigs and chickens – in order to rebuild their food system.

In a developing country such as Haiti, expensive inputs such as chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides need to be replaced with natural ways to grow food – compost, beneficial insects, crop rotation, diversified crops. These types of inputs are low to no cost and are more practical for the type of farming that needs to be done in the country. Because of the rugged mountainsides, large machinery is not feasible which saves on costs for parts and oil.

Haiti should look to its neighbor Cuba for inspiration. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba imported over 50% of its food and had an industrial-based agriculture system. After the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991, Cuba had nowhere to export and nowhere to get their pesticides, chemicals and industrial inputs from, so they were forced to create a sustainable food system.

Large farms were broken up into smaller plots and urban agriculture was introduced on a large scale. According to Food First, by 1999 sustainable urban agriculture produced 65% of Cuba’s rice, 46% of fresh vegetables, 38% of non-citrus fruits, 13% of roots, tubers and plantains, and 6% of eggs. Farmers and researchers from around the world now visit Cuba to learn more about their sustainable food system.

The planting season in Haiti is March, and the hurricane season begins in June. With so much effort now needed to provide emergency food relief and secure shelter for the upcoming storm season, there isn’t much focus on providing Haitians ways to produce their own food in the long term. But it is necessary. They need to plant as many crops as possible come March and also to look at how they can become a food secure country.

Diane Hatz is the Co-Founder & Director of The Glynwood Institute for Food and Farming, which focuses on solving critical problems with food and agriculture and will launch April 2010.


The Guide to Good Food blog series is coming along quite well – I already have interest from some publishers about turning it into a book and it’s being syndicated on a bunch of other blogs. Recent posts include Asking Questions (part 1 and part 2), Summer Days, Genetic Engineering and Buying Food. Check them out.

I’m also in the process of founding another program – it’s too soon to talk about it yet, but I can say that I’m no longer doing day-to-day Sustainable Table work, I’m working on a couple books, and I’m starting up a program that has the potential to be big big big…..

More soon!

Why Buy Sustainable?

(This is my post this week for the Guide to Good Food on The Daily Table, Sustainable Table’s blog.)

Farmers market fruitIn last week’s post, Sustainable vs. Industrial, we compared sustainable farming with industrial agriculture. This week, we have eight reasons why you should buy sustainable.

1. Tastes better. This is what convinced me to eat local sustainable and/or organic food. Many people believe that sustainable food simply tastes better – but you won’t know until you try it yourself, so might want to do your own taste test. Buy an organic or local sustainable apple and one of those large, waxed perfect-looking apples in the grocery store that come from a large industrial farm. Compare and let us know what you think!

2. Healthier. More and more health benefits are being found with sustainable food. Pasture-raised beef, for example, has two to six times more of the Omega-3 fatty acids needed for heart health and optimal brain function than grain-fed industrial meat. Eggs from pasture-raised chickens are not only higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, they’re also lower in cholesterol and calories. Organic fruits, vegetables and grains contain higher levels of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

3. Environment is protected. On a sustainable farm, animals graze on pasture and their manure fertilizes the fields. These sustainable farms only take from the land what they can put back, so the land and the environment are preserved for future generations. They do not pollute the surrounding soil, air and water with manure, chemical pollution or runoff.

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Sustainable vs Industrial

(This is today’s Guide to Good Food blog post from the Daily Table….)

hog-cafoIn the past two weeks, we’ve talked about sustainable and organic food, as well as industrial agriculture and factory farming in our Guide to Good Food. This week, we’re going to compare sustainable with industrial so you can see a side-by-side difference.

In general, the biggest differences between sustainable and industrial farms are the size of the operation (industrial farms are much bigger), the amount of pollution/effect on the environment (sustainable farms do not pollute the environment and they replace the resources they take), and the quality of food you get (small local sustainable farms provide fresher foods that not only taste better, they’re better for you).

To break it down and give you more specifics, I’ve done a comparison of the two types of farming so you can see how different these practices can be.

Industrial farming: Industrial crops contain more nitrates and are often heavily sprayed with pesticides. Unsanitary conditions on factory farms and in industrial slaughterhouses cause high levels of meat contamination, which can cause food poisoning. In the U.S., food borne illness sickens 76 million people, causes 325,000 hospitalizations and kills approximately 5,000 people a year.

Sustainable farming: Food is grown with minimal or no use of pesticides or other dangerous chemicals. It can be healthier and more nutritious than industrially-raised food. Organic foods have been found to contain higher levels of antioxidants, which help fight certain types of cancer. Some types of organic crops contain more vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorous.

Antibiotics and Hormones
Industrial farming: Low doses of antibiotics are given daily to animals to ward off illness and disease that can develop from unsanitary and overcrowded conditions. This contributes to problems with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans. Both antibiotics and hormones are used to make animals grow faster.

Sustainable farming: Antibiotics are only given if the animal is sick, and hormones are never given to the animals.

Industrial farming: Responsible for massive topsoil erosion, depletion and pollution of underground water supplies, and the reduction of genetic diversity. Industrial farms also pollute our air, surface water and soil with animal waste, hazardous gases, toxic chemicals and harmful pathogens.

Sustainable farming: Protects the natural environment, with farms managed in a responsible way, maintaining the fertility of the land and preserving resources for future generations. Sustainable farms use waste as fertilizer and don’t raise more animals than their land can handle.

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Factory Farming and Industrial Agriculture

(This is the third in my blog series Sustainable Table’s Guide to Good Food that I’m posting up on the Daily Table blog.)

cows21Last week we talked about sustainable and organic, and the difference between the two. This week, we’re going to delve into the real issue – factory farming and industrial agriculture. The differences between sustainable and organic aren’t as big when you compare them to industrial food production.

Factory farming and industrial agriculture are unsustainable systems that produce large volumes of food but have little to no regard for the environment, animal welfare, soil and water quality, food safety, worker rights, farmers or local communities. The focus is on maximizing profit and efficiency – but at great cost.

The terms factory farming and industrial agriculture are used interchangeably, though factory farming is generally used to explain industrial animal production and industrial agriculture tends to describe or include intensive crop production.

What is a factory farm?

A factory farm is a large industrial operation that raises many animals (usually cows, pigs, chickens or turkeys) in overcrowded, confined conditions. Some animals are raised indoors in metal sheds, where they never see sunlight and often live on concrete slats, their feet never touching the earth. Other animals (cows mainly) are raised outdoors on large feedlots, huge tracts of barren land, where they stand in mud and their own feces, with no grass or trees nearby. These animals are not permitted to carry out their natural behaviors, like rooting, pecking and grazing.

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What are sustainble and organic?

I’ve started a blog series on my work blog – the Daily Table.  You can read the first installment (explaining what I hope to do) here….

(This is the second installment of Diane Hatz’s series – Sustainable Table’s Guide to Good Food.)

Exactly what are sustainable farming and/or sustainable food, and what is organic agriculture?  Those are questions I hear quite often.  A general concept of organic has been seeping into the mainstream, but many people are still confused by both terms.  And to make it even more confusing, organic can be sustainable and sustainable can be organic, but they don’t have to be.  What?

To start with, sustainable farming is more of a concept or a philosophy than a literal definition.  With sustainable farming, food is raised that’s healthy for consumers, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage to the farmer, and supports and enhances rural communities.  At Sustainable Table, we also believe that sustainable food should be grown as close to home as possible.

Yes, that is a bit of a mouthful – a shorter answer would be to say that sustainable farming provides food that’s healthy for consumers, farmers, the environment, animals, and local communities.

The challenge with sustainable is that there isn’t a government approved label or certification system, so you need to educate yourself and ask questions before you buy.  Also, there is no standard for what’s healthy for consumers or humane for workers.  There is no chart saying when the environment begins to be harmed, and so on.  That means that each of us has to learn as much as we can about the issues and decide what we think is best.  We’re not here to tell you what to do – we’re here to give you information, encouragement and perhaps advice; but it’s up to you to decide what you think is best for yourself.

Since 2002, organic food has been regulated by the government.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines organic agriculture as “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity.  It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”

Another mouthful.  To put it more simply, with organic farming
•    most synthetic (and petroleum derived) pesticides and fertilizers are prohibited;
•    all antibiotics, genetic engineering, irradiation and sewage sludge are prohibited;
•    all organically produced animals must have access to outdoors and be fed organic feed; and
•    all processed products labeled organic must have 95% organic ingredients.

They look rather similar, don’t they?  But there are differences….  Let’s do a comparison.

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Eat Well Guided Tour of America 2007

Last year, I was lucky enough to travel cross country on a biodiesel tour bus for 40 days to celebrate and promote local food – all by eating pies.  Lots and lots of pies.  Along the way, we met up with Curt Ellis from the excellent movie King Corn – below is a clip from his visit with us.

You can read about the tour in our Tour Journal on the Sustainable Table website – http://www.sustainabletable.org/roadtrip/archives.php 

I’m pooped from working so long today – if I ever get the energy, I’ll write more about my experiences on the trip.  Until then, there are dozens of entries in our Tour Journal.