The idea of “being a Food Leader” can be a bit abstract and confusing. It is definitely different from being a Food Entrepreneur, which is a leader who takes the initiative to create something that does not currently exist in their society. Being a Food Leader is more diverse, it is something everyone can be.
How to become one? Well… You don’t have to “startup” your own food project–even though that would be really awesome! Food leaders first focus on their relationship with food, make changes as they feel needed, then share and learn with others their experience. It requires is one understand why we eat the way we do and then have the motivation to make improved food decisions everyday. Every bite, every dollar, every hour has an impact on our food system.
Now don’t get me wrong, we need entrepreneurs and change makers greatly in society. Many of them begin the dialog, ask the initial question (Why doesn’t UT have an academic program to study food?!)… But not everyone can be an entrepreneur. Great teams are full of leaders with unique and individual skill sets.
Being a Food Leader doesn’t mean you have to make all of the decisions, but you will to have to understand how you play an important role in changing the food system. So begin to ask yourself, why do I eat the way I do? Am I ok with that? Why? Why not?
These were some of the questions UT Food Studies Alumni Alejandra and I decided to ask some of the Local Food Leaders at the 2012 Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) Conference. We wanted to understand what do “Food Leaders” do and more importantly why. So, we created a short video for you, the next generation of food leaders, to help inspire your food studies and projects. Share it with your friends, teachers, mentors, co-workers and everyone who loves food, because we can all become Food Leaders simply by beginning to use food as a lens to understand ourselves and the world around us.
Great thanks to all the Food Leaders that participated in the video and sharing their story.
Jerry Cunningham, Proprietor of Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill
Alexandra Maria Landeros, Writer and Editor for Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
Nick Latham, Founder of My Country Co-op
Brandi Clark, President of Austin EcoNetwork
Marla Camp, Publisher of Edible Austin
Ronda Rutledge, Executive Director of the Sustainable Food Center
Michael Olson, Author of Food Chain Radio and MetroFarm.com
Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch
Dustin Fedako, CEO of East Austin Compost Peddlers
Aurora Porter, Marketing & Communications for Vital Farms
Scott Price, Consultant for Slow Money Austin and SRP Consulting
Kathryn Hutchison, Marketing for Greenling.com & VP Austin Food Blogger Alliance
Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
Pamela Walker, Author of Growing Good Things to Eat-Texas A&M
Kelsey Coto, President of Food Studies at The University of Texas at Austin
Ellen, Blogger/Educator for The Homegrown Revival
Heather Frambach, Outreach Manager for HOPE Farmers Market
Evan Driscoll, Farm Hand at Green Gate Farms
Jessie Griffiths’, Chef/Owner of Dai Due Supper Club
Video Produced by Daniel “Asiago” Heron