Growing Cities Blog

Q & A with Emily Snyder from Food Day

October 1st, 2014
Sophie Brinker

This last week Growing Cities had the opportunity to talk with Emily Snyder about Food Day 2014! Emily joined the Food Day team in August of 2013. Prior to this, Emily worked on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Nutrition Action Healthletter. Emily earned a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University, and completed the Cornell Dietetic Internship. She is a Registered Dietitian, and a member of the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Area Dietetic Association (DCMADA). Click the photo below to learn even more about how you can get involved with Food Day!


Sophie: What is Food Day ​and how do you​ ​all ​support local and sustainable agriculture?

Emily: Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies. October 24 is a day to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level. In 2014, Food Day will have a special focus on food access and justice for food and farm workers.

Food Day aims to support sustainable and organic farms. Currently, sustainable farms receive little to no federal support and often lack market access to keep them competitive. Meanwhile, the largest 10 percent of industrialized farms—which contribute to poor health and severe environmental degradation—receive 75 percent of all farm subsidies.

Sophie: How long has Food Day been happening, and where did it get its start?

Emily: Food Day was created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in 2011, but it is powered by a diverse coalition of food movement leaders and organizations, including student leaders, public offices, school districts, and local organizers.

Food Day invites you to be a part of the movement that seeks to transform the way Americans eat.

Sophie:​ How can people get involved with Food Day in their community?

Emily:There are a number of ways to get involved depending on your time, interest, and resources. Here are a few:

•Spread the word about Food Day to your friends, family, and network, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

•Advocate for a food or nutrition policy in your community. 35 Ways to Change the Food System: The Essential Food Day Toolkit is a great resource.

•Host an event or organize an activity, whether large or small.

•Coordinate Food Day activity for your area.

•Attend events in your community.

Sophie: ​What’s your favorite part of our film, Growing Cities, and why?

Emily: I first saw Growing Cities in April 2014 at a film screening that Food Day hosted in Washington, DC, and I loved it.

While it’s hard to pick a favorite part of the film, I think it has to be the part about Windowfarms. I live in an apartment building in Washington, DC, on the sixth floor. I have no yard for a garden.It’s neat to see innovative ways to grow food wherever we are. From the film: “Instead of blinds [in windows], why don’t we use that space for farming? … They can also be something beautiful that we live with.” I have a windowsill herb garden, but now want to get a Windowfarm also!

Sophie: What’s one issue in the food movement you wish people were more aware of?

Emily: Justice throughout the food chain—from farm workers to child consumers. And that is one of the reason’s that Food Day 2014 will have a special focus on food justice, as well as increasing Americans’ access to healthful food.

America’s food system is extraordinarily productive, but aspects of it represent injustices to workers on farms, in slaughterhouses, and in restaurants; to child and adult consumers; to farm animals; and to the environment. To find out more, check out this infographic we created as part of Food Day’s focus on food justice.

Sophie: Anything else you’d like to add?

Emily: Please get involved in Food Day! However you and your community chooses to celebrate, the key is participation. For more information, please get in touch with us at or202-777-8392.

These good food interviews are part of Growing Cities “Grow Where You Are” campaign to inspire and empower people to get more deeply involved in their local food systems and create healthier, more sustainable, and just communities.

Green Bridge Growers

December 9th, 2013

Check out this group, Green Bridge Growers! What follows is an excerpt from a blog post on their website.

We’ve been working with our  Hannah and Friends partners almost weekly in the past month – Lauren, Chris, and Jan have worked with residents and day program participants to teach some of the important features of aquaponics.  What makes a system work in harmony, how to test the water chemistry, fish biology, and the basics of plants have been the topics of the day at Hannah and Friends!

7835835The balance in an aquaponic system, where the fish and vegetables rely on each other to grow productively, is of huge importance!!!  We’ve focused on how to measure and monitor  important features of a system like pH, oxygen levels, temperature, and mineral content.  If any of these go off-kilter, we won’t be able to keep our plants healthy.  Everyone understood the importance of this monitoring, and dove right in to learning how to keep good, accurate records – and to observe everything they can about our fish and plants!

Read the remainder of the post, HERE!

Here’s more about their fundraising goal –> Indiegogo


Ted Talk on Healing and Our Land

November 26th, 2013

Thanks to The Green Horns blog, for presenting this Ted talk.  Take a look!

Allan Savory

They ask that you…

Join us for this two-day conference in beautiful Chico, CA. We have an amazing line-up of speakers. Super-star Robb Wolf, New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Solution, will be talking about eating the way humans were designed to. Our very own Allan Savory will be talking about how properly managing livestock can reverse desertification, restore grassland ecosystems and stop climate change. We’ll also have world-famous blogger and author Jenny Mcgruther who is the amazing woman behind one of the most popular food blogs in the world, Nourished Kitchen. Jenny will be talking about bringing these concepts home and how to implement them in our daily meals. We’ll have Dr. Cindy Daley, of Chico State, who has done incredible research, that’s being touted all over the globe, on the nutritional benefits of grass-fed meat and milk. We’ll also have a panel comprised of grass-fed livestock ranchers from around the north-state sharing a bit of their lifestyle and talking about how to make grass-fed meats more available to the masses.

Read more HERE!

A Different Approach to Feeding Styles

November 18th, 2013



Check out the excerpt below, from Sustainable Eats for more information on how to hone skills that have been lost with technology and industrialization.

Sometimes ideas are too good to let them die. Two years ago when I dreamed up the urban farm challenge it was a way to ease people into what might seem an overwhelming task: to completely change the way they approach feeding themselves and their loved ones. It was a great idea but the schedule of coming up with prizes and hosts and challenges while trying to start up my own farm nearly killed me. My own farm is clipping along still but I miss sharing that knowledge with people and I really enjoy physical interaction. Last winter I taught a few cheese classes out of my home and I loved every minute of it.

So this year I am partnering with one of my best friends, Patti Pitcher, to offer a nine month course covering much of the same material as the urban farm challenge in an intimate setting, in person and in more depth. We are both incredibly excited about the class, and both bring different skillsets and experiences to teaching it. The classes run from October to June, the second Sunday of each month and I will also be offering classes on the Saturday before separate from this program. These Saturday classes will complement the year-long course, although a few of the cheese classes may duplicate material. I’ll be offering a Saturday stay at my house for one or two people interested each month so you can really get the hands-on and individual attention you may need, or look at it like a mini vacation on a farm with an old friend. Check it out!


Put yourself on the path to independent, conscious living by reclaiming the lost skills and healing arts of the traditional farm wife. In the old days, the farm wife knew how to grow, preserve, cook, nourish and heal her family. She could take a small leaf from the garden and turn it into a healing salve, or preserve it for a winter’s meal. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one fun series of classes that could teach you all this and more?

Read more HERE!

Grow Where You Are!

November 8th, 2013

Check out our brand new infographic co-created by Sustainable America. You can always grow something somewhere, Grow Where You Are! Here are some ways you can get involved in growing in your community!

Grow Where You Are

Mapping Food Justice!

October 28th, 2013

Here’s a site that maps organizations that deal with food justice. Check it out to find out what is going on in your area!


Natasha Bowens describes herself as a “young, brown female who likes to farm.” And while she didn’t grow up doing it, she’s now dedicated her career to creating a network of other people of color in farming and food justice.

In 2010 she  began a blog titled Brown.Girl.Farming, and soon after started working on The Color of Food, a multimedia project that gathers stories of people of color leading farming and food justice initiatives in their hometowns. Bowens traveled across the country, doing interviews and taking photographs, and is set to publish a book in the spring. Based on what she learned in her travels she also developed the Color of Food map—which charts farms and food justice initiatives owned or operated by people of color. Anyone in the world can add to the map. There are already 272 organizations featured on this list.”

via Color Lines

Food Day 2013: A Look at Happenings on a College Campus

October 24th, 2013

This post is presented by Civil Eats and written by Kate Klein.  This post comments on the journey of students reaching out, trying to make changes for a more sustainable food economy.

photo courtesy of Civil Eats

photo courtesy of Civil Eats

Cutting Food Stamps? No GMO labeling? More ethanol subsidies? Last Farm Bill 5 years ago?

Congress can’t get their act together, but young people can. Real food policies must start from the ground up — and today on Food Day, students are making that happen.

In the fall of 2010, students at Johns Hopkins University came together under a common vision: What if they could get their university to invest its purchasing power, much larger than any of theirs individually, in building a sustainable and just food economy? It was a powerful idea, one thousands of other students across the country united by Real Food Challenge were imagining as well. So in the spring of 2011, they dug in and began auditing their university’s food purchases for products that qualified as ‘real’: sourced from farms and food producers with fair labor practices, grown within 250 miles, raised in an ecologically sound manner, and humanely raised. The result? Only 7 percent real. Determined to increase this percentage, in the fall of 2011, they gathered over 500 petition signatures in support of a real food policy and engaged in conversations with university administrators about how to make their vision a reality. After 3 years of building their case, their university president has agreed to officially commit Johns Hopkins to purchasing 20 percent real food by 2020.

This is Real Food Hopkins’ story. And they’re not alone.

At 2 other major universities — The University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Northeastern University — students also just won big campaigns to achieve sustainable and just food policy.

These three universities are all formally signing on to Real Food Challenge’s Real Food Campus Commitment, pledging to source 20 percent of their food from local, fair, sustainable and humane farms and food businesses. Together, these institutions bring the number of signatories to 22, representing over $55 million in annual purchases devoted to ‘real food.’ Each school will also inaugurate a new food policy committee on campus that will adopt rigorous new transparency standards regarding product origin and vendor social responsibility.

Read more HERE!

Get Ready for Food Day!

October 21st, 2013

Get excited for all of the Food Day events happening on the 24th of October!  Find out how to get involved here!


If you are in New York City, participate in the BIG APPLE CRUNCH!

“The Big Apple Crunch is an attempt to set the world record for the “Most Participants in an Apple-Crunching Event.” This event will take place on FOOD DAY – October 24, 2013. New Yorkers can participate by finding a crunch near you: at any of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Farmers’ Markets or another location near you or by hosting a crunch yourself! We want it to be the crunch heard ’round the world! Please pledge to take a bite with us at 12pm or at any time during the day that works for you.”

Big apple Crunch 2013


Of course, this isn’t just going on in New York! Find out more about events near you or learn how to host your own event at


Food Waste Rework and Disco Beats

October 17th, 2013
Courtesy of Feeding the 5000

Courtesy of Feeding the 5000 (via NPR)

I ran across this article on NPR–post World Food Day–and I felt a need to share it here, as food waste in large part is tied to urban farming and our necessity to not only grow new foods in the urban environment, but to also take advantage of those foods we have readily available that have not yet passed the point of no return.  We should be utilizing our land and what the land has provided us.  Here’s one interesting look at how some are doing this.

This piece was written by Eliza Barclay, an NPR reporter

This year, activists are trying to make the day a little spicier with pots full of disco soup to highlight the absurd amount of food thrown away that could feed people: one-third of all the food produced every year.

What is disco soup, you ask? It’s the tasty outcome of a party designed to bring strangers together to cook food that would otherwise end up in the trash. Oftentimes, the soup is donated to the hungry. Oh, and as the name suggests, there’s music involved, too.

The first disco soup party was held in Germany in early 2012 by some folks affiliated with the . The organizers collected discarded fruits and vegetables from a market, blasted some disco music and made a huge pot of soup.

Two months later, a group in France threw a disco soup party and attracted 100 people. More parties followed, in Australia, South Korea, and beyond. You can check out an earnest little video of another French disco food event here:

Read More HERE!!





Remember! To Use Your Voice!

October 12th, 2013



Just a bit of re-posting and reminding here. This is super important for small farmers!

NYFC is led by an Advisory Committee of farmers and farm service providers. (photo from website)

What follows is an excerpt from a post on the NYFC Blog, all about the proposed Day of Action.

New food safety regulations are coming to a farm near yours!  (Actually, they’re coming to your farm too.)

As we have previously reported, the FDA is writing an entirely new set of food safety laws.  There are a lot of huge changes, many of which will have an impact on beginning farmers, organic growers and local farms alike.

Join the National Young Farmers Coalition for a National Day of Action to protect local farms!

Read more HERE!

Also, take this survey to show NYFC how these impending rules could impact your farm by filling out this survey.  Consider making a donation! :D

Contact Tracy at to get more info and to sign up.



ARUNDEL, ME: Southern Maine Young Farmers Coalition Kick-off Mixer! – September 28th 
Come learn how to build a high tunnel at Frinklepod Farm at 12pm and join us for a potluck celebration with Allagash beer, Green Bee Soda, live music, a bonfire and fellow young farmers! 5pm at Neverdun Farm in Arundel.  Click here for more info.

ATLANTA, GA: Southeast Young And Beginning Farmer Alliance Lunch Mixer – September 28th 
Join us for a series of monthly post-market lunches on Saturdays.  The first one is at the Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Atlanta, GA.

FRANKFORT, KY – Kentucky Beginning Farmers Conference- October 5th
A one-day statewide event for beginning farmers, including workshops, great food, and networking opportunities.  Stay tuned for more details!

OKANOGAN, WA: Washington Young Farmers Mixer – October 6th
Fourth annual WAYFC Mixer, to be held at Filaree Farm, in Okanogan, WA.  Details to be released soon. Visit the Washington Young Farmers Coalition website for more information.

BURLINGTON, VT Vermont Young Farmers Coalition Tractor Maintenance Workshop and Mixer at the Intervale Center – October 6th
Join VYFC in gathering for a tractor maintenance workshop and mixer.  Starts at 3pm. Email Brittany at to get involved.

SEBASTOPOL, CA: North Coast Young Farmers Guild Meeting – October 8th 
Join other farmers from the North Coast for the monthly Guild meeting at GrowKitchen, 245 Ferguson Rd. Sebastopol, CA.

JOHNSTON, RI: Young Farmer Nights Farm Tour – October 10th 
Join other young farmers for a tour of Tour of Freedom Food Farm in Johnston, RI.  Contact for details.

PALISADE, CO: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers of Mesa County Hoe Down and Harvest Party – October 13th 
An end of season celebration with the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers of Mesa County!  Food donated by Field to Fork CSA and Roan Creek Ranch.  Wine provided by Mesa Park Vineyards.  Apples for bobbing, pumpkins for picking. Live music, fun and games. Contact Brooke at for more info.

WILLITS, CA: Mendocino County Young Farmers Guild Meeting – October 15th 
Get together with other young farmers in Mendocino County for this inaugural guild meeting!  At the Willits Grange Hall.

AUSTIN, TX: Texas Young Farmers Coalition Meetup – October 16th 
Blackstar Coop. Come join us for our monthly- 3rd Wednesday farmer meetup! Beers and conversations abound.  Contact for more info.

AUSTIN, TX: Texas Young Farmers Coalition Farm Tour – October 19th 
Join us as we head to A+S Farm and Ranch for a skill building workshop on sheep. Sean will cover grazing,processing  and shearing topics among others. Contact for more info.

JAMESTOWN, RI: Young Farmer Nights Farm Tour – October 22nd 
Join other young farmers for a chicken processing training with Pat’s Pastured at Windmist Farm, Jamestown, RI.  Contact for details.

CONNECTICUT: Farmland Access and Affordability Forum – October 25th 
The purpose of the forum is to brainstorm strategies to address farmland access and affordability in Connecticut and to engage an expanded coalition of key individuals, businesses, organizations and agencies in developing a common agenda around these issues. For more information contact Susan Mitchell, New Connecticut Farmers Alliance, at

SOUTH CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA: Young Farmers Mixer – October 26th 
In the Harrisburg area, details TBA. Contact Emily at to get involved!

SONOMA COUNTY, CA: Sonoma County Young Farmers Guild Meeting – October 27th 
Get together with other young farmers in Sonoma County for this inaugural guild meeting!

FALKVILLE, AL: Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network Young and Beginning Farmer Potluck – October 27th 
Join other young and beginning farmers for ASAN’s potluck!  Click here for more info.

AUSTIN, TX: First Annual Moontower Agricultural Coop Harvest Party – November 9th 
Grab your ticket and join farmers and farmer friends alike for a dinner and homebrew beer feast. Other events include Farmer Olympics and a panel discussion involving inspiring people in the Texas farming and food community. Contact for more info on tickets.