Local Food And Grassroots Local Brands

PSFK explores “Eat Drink Local Week,” a celebration of the local NYC foodshed.

As part of an 11 day long festival in New York focused on a dialogue with the local food movement, Edible Magazine along with The New School hosted an afternoon comprised of four panels discussions featuring the city’s leaders in journalism, agriculture, mixologists, chefs and entrepreneurs.  A continuation of Edible Magazine’s first conference in Santa Fe with of their titles from across the country, this seminar marked the follow up of what is sure to be a continued force in the food space.

PSFK was there to chronicle each of the sessions with speakers; the opening panel focused on the reasons for Brooklyn’s emergence of communities that were creating brands at a grassroots level and included Tom Mylan (The Meat Hook), Arian Daguin (D’Artagnan), Cathy Erway (Not Eating Out in New York) and Kennon Kay (Queens Country Farm), moderated by Gabrielle Langholtz, Editor in Chief of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn.

Daguin recounted her own experience of starting D’Artagnan, bringing with her the rural traditions of France to the US, a country experiencing a strong convenience culture due to technology; ‘you can buy more chicken parts here more than you can a whole chicken’.  As the new Director of Agriculture, Kennon concurred, reminding the audience that the Queens Country farm is historic, dating back to 1697, meaning New York has always had a strong farming tradition, it is just becoming more embraced at the moment.

Mayles and his business partners conceptualized The Meat Hook over a bourbon as an organic development from the formation of The Unfancy Food Show in 2006; a now annual event scheduled at the same time as the more corporate Fancy Food Show but showcasing small food upstarts from Brooklyn.  He believes that the current rise in DIY enterprises is Brooklyn ‘voting with their dollar’, a response to the economic climate.

Erway identified food as ‘a medium to express creativity in New York’.  With the emerging food purveyors, cooking clubs, pie bake off events and mushrooming food trucks, it seems individuals who have a passion for food are using food as a vehicle to have a voice and present their individuality.

All agreed that taste was a major issue; with industrialization designing cookie cutter fast food brands, packaged goods and produce designed to all look the same, flavor has been compromised and it’s rebirth much awaited.

Check out the rest of the events going on till October 6th.

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