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Overheard at the 2015 JBF Food Conference

Maggie Borden

October 22, 2015

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Photo by Kent Miller

This past week’s 2015 JBF Food Conference explored the future of food, from farm to kitchen to table. Experts and thought leaders from across the industry examined how the choices we make and the steps we take today will impact what we eat, drink, and grow. From chefs to farmers to even the Secretary of Agriculture, the conversation tracked the highs and lows of what the future of our fields and our plates could look like.

Here are some of the most memorable things we heard at the JBF Food Conference:

1) “It’s hip now to talk about food.” — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, @USDA

2) ”Fear of empty stomachs leads to revolution.” — Dr. Rachel Laudan, food historian at the University of Texas: Austin, @rachellaudan 

3) “Convenience is supposed to make everything better, but convenience brought us cheap and easy food. Not just in homes and airplanes but in schools, too.” — Bill Telepan, Wellness in Schools, @billtelepan

4) ”Fertile soil is a living metaphor of human beings on a healthy planet.” — JBF Award Winner Eliot Coleman

5) "It's important that we learn about the hardships of farmers." — JBF Award Winner José Andrés, @chefjoseandres

6) “I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere near the promised land until we give people the strategies to do it. If we don’t connect food to health, than it’s going to be very hard for an analyst or politician to make that connection for us.” — JBF Award Winner Sam Kass, NBC News, @chefsamkass

7) “Start with the visceral to ignite the cerebral and end with the political.” — JBF Award Winner Bryant Terry, @bryantterry

8) "There's an immense cost to cheap food.” — Duskie Estes, @duskieestes

9) ”The average age of the American farmer is 58. We need to make sure we support the next generation." — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, @USDA 

10) "The largest population in U.S. agriculture is immigrants, and they are the most abused population in agriculture."— JBF Award Winner Don Bustos 

11) ”It's amazing and absurd to me how hard it still is to be a woman in this business." — Duskie Estes, @duskieestes

12) “From our perspective, this is a revolution in education, to be teaching doctors and students how to cook. It’s a disruptive technology—we’re changing what we think is important about health.” — Dr. Geeta Maker-Clark, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

13) “For the people who say we should all go back to the early things: a) there’s no way we can feed the world that way, and b) that’s giving up our best trick as our society.” — Nathan Myhrvold, @moderncuisine

14) “One in five private sector workers work in food—we can’t address the food system without talking about the workers in it.” — JBF Award Winner Saru Jayaraman, ROC-United, @SaruJayaraman

15) “If you want there to be more good farmland out there, make sure you’re purchasing food from the people who are growing it that way.” — JBF Award Winner Eliot Coleman

16) “Through agriculture I’m able to teach through a decolonized lens. It’s important to protect indigenous people, indigenous seeds, and indigenous knowledge.” — Tyrone Thompson, FoodCorps Service Member

17) “Today we know what better nutrition is. The challenge for us is how we simplify. You don’t have to shoot for the moon as perfect. There is no such thing as perfect when it comes to health and nutrition.” — Ashley Koff, RD, @ashleykoff

18) “People trust chefs, for better or for worse. We have this trust, and we have this platform, and now it’s up to us to help reveal the messy stuff behind the scenes.” — JBF Award Winner Andrea Reusing, @andreareusing

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Missed any of the action? Catch up with all our archived footage of the 2015 JBF Food Conference.