Fitness and nutrition for foodies, from foodies.
"90% of money spent on food in the United States in spent on proccessed foods."
- Eric Schlosser, author of Food Inc.
This past Saturday, March 30th, I attended the second day of the Just Food conference at the food and finance high school in Manhattan. I went with three goals: to meet people as interested in food justice as I am, to learn more about the current state of food production, and I'll be honest- to eat the amazing catered local, organic food.

(I may or may not have looked up the menu the day prior to daydream about what I'd be eating the next day... Guys. I really love food.)

I had such a lovely afternoon at the conference. As I've decided to explore my
passion for health and nutrition, I've been trying to figure out my
place in the community. The Just Food conference not only taught me quite a bit, it gave me a hunger (pun intended) for more. 

We started the morning with an amazing breakfast catered by Beth's Farm Kitchen, Chobani, Orwashers, Vitamix, Red Jacket Orchards, Hot Bread Kitchen, Wilklow Orchards, and Organic Valley. Needless to say... this was a huge highlight of my day.

The keynote speaker on Saturday (I was sad to miss the day prior that featured some great panels, but alas- I work Fridays,) was Byron Hurt, the award-winning filmmaker responsible for Soul Food Junkies. We watched clips and reflected on what community/ culture means for our own health and relationship with food. Now, to workshops!

Workshop 1: Food for thought: An introduction to food systems. Presented by The Food Project (Boston).

The Food Project works with youth communities to raise awareness about our highly processed foods. We did excersizes to demonstrate the state of processed food in the United States, such as arranging drinks in order of added sugar (pictured).

The amount of processing our food goes through is both scary in terms of our own health and threatening to our environment. We talked the FTGE (Florida Tomato Grower's Exchange) and their horrible livelihoods/wages. We also talked about how long it takes proccessed foods to travel from the source to our mouths. What stuck with me was when we passed around a two-year old plate of a mcdonald's strawberry milkshake, with the "ingredients" list right behind it. Can you say creepy?

Workshop 2 - Growing microgreens: The secret to a healthier lifestyle with Brendan Davidson.

Brendan Davidson is the founder of Good Water Farms. He started by growing micogreens in his own apartment and expanded into his the greenhouse he works out of now. He talked about the highs and lows of figuring out his place in the food/farming community.

Brendan grows microgreen tendrils- mustardseed, sunflower, kale, pea, broccoli, and much more depending on his mood & the season. Apparently, business has been better since a recent study published that microgreens can have 4 to 6 times as many nutrients than macro. I left the seminar bummed we didn't get to try any... but then was pleasantly surprised to see he provided one of the salad's for our catered lunch!


Catered by Owashers, Whole Foods, Good Water Farms (Brendan!) and Great Performances. I'm including this because, again... food is my favorite part. Of everything. And this food was delicious. If I had to choose a favorite, I'd go with the farro salad by Great Performances with chickpea, olive, and artichoke. I usually don't like olive, but something about the vinegarette/farro combo made it all so smooth. I obviously went back for seconds.

Workshop 3 - Curd Nerds: The basic of milk chemistry and cheesemaking with Sascha Anderson.

Oh, this was so neat. Sascha Anderson from Murray's Cheese taught a packed cafeteria what milk is on a molecular level and how you can make your own cheese right in your kitchen. She explained the different kind of cheese consistenties and how they're achieved, and discussed the process not just from the cow to our mouth- but from the cow's mouth to it's digestive track. The kicker? She made cheese. As she taught us about milk and cheese. It was a little soupy, but at the end, you could go up and play with it. Attendees were also welcomed to enjoy delicious samples which I will let you drool over:

Closing Panel: Breaking Ground - Advice from Beginning Farmers

Our day was summed up with an awesome panel by local farmers. They discussed the challenges of being a farmer in this day and age- i.e., how difficult it is to find a community/consumer that care about where their food comes from. They ended positive- saying they would never trade the feeling of waking up to their own farm every morning.

Overall, I had a blast. Although, it made me think a lot about this blog and what goals I hope to achieve with it. Here's the thing: anyone can make their own blog nowadays. But I don't want this to be like that! I want to be as well-researched and current as I can so that what I'm relaying to you is thorough. So... I'm asking you to join me, talk to me (what interests you?), and be patient with me. I'll keep working, growing, reading, meeting- and with time, I hope this blog will be specific and as fun for you to tune into as it has been and will be for me to write.

If you're interested in learning more about this particular conference, JustFood, or are interested in joining a CSA/finding out what a CSA is (at a basic level, you pair with a local farm to have them deliver fresh food to you,) - check out their website at I personally love their mission and their work, and look forward to whatever upcoming projects they have in store.



04/03/2013 6:54am

Hi Jillian,

Thanks for this post! Just wanted to let you know that the "Curd Nerds" workshop was actually led Sascha Anderson from Murray's Cheese. So glad you had a good time and hope you'll join us next year!


04/04/2013 1:53pm

So sorry about that, Carrie! Should be fixed. Thanks again for a great conference.


Leave a Reply