Change Food Meets 1 – NYC

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Our inaugural Change Food Meets… was held on Monday, February 12th, at Le Botantiste Soho – and what an event it was! (Okay, I organized it, so I’m a little biased.)

The evening kicked off with 40 of NYC’s finest food movement movers and shakers convening at the newest Soho vegan eatery – Le Botaniste, founded by Alain Coumont, also Le Pain Quotidien’s founder (and, full transparency, on Change Food’s Advisory Board).  

Brendan from Beaconhouse Media (back) contemplating the deliciousness of the Tibetan Mama dish while Diane from Change Food, Henry from Agritecture and Marissa from Brightfarms (L to R) do some posing.

Attendees included Rachel from the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals; Lynette and Claudia from Cornell Cooperative Extension on Long Island; Mary, a rockstar farmer on Long Island; Ben from Heritage Foods USA;

Esther, a professor at NYU’s Food & Nutrition Studies Program; Emmanuel from Rouge Tomate restaurant; Christina from IDig2Learn and SO many more amazing people representing equally amazing programs and companies!  I don’t think we could have asked for a better group of people.

Conversation and wine flowed; connections were made; and hopefully some collaborations will come out of the evening.  What makes Change Food Meets… different than other events is that we bring together people from all parts of the food movement so we can bring down silos and get people connected across the wide and diverse landscape of food.

The highlight of the evening were the Quickbites – short talks by 10 people that were filmed and will shortly be online. (We’ll link to them when they’re ready and up on our Change Food Video channel.)  

Our speakers:

  • Alizee Wyckmans, Le Botaniste manager – We got a background on Le Botaniste, the philosophy around the 

    Alizee Wyckmans from Le Botaniste kicks off the evening

    restaurant and the amazing, delicious food

  • Diane Hatz, Change Food (me) – Description of Change Food meets and how we’re looking to host them in cities across the country when invited by a local food person
  • Christine Rico – Supporting access to growth capital via CFO on Speed Dial and connecting companies and investors through Slow Money NYC
  • Ricky Stephens, AgTech X – spoke on creating new opportunities in urban agriculture and sustainable food systems
  • Loren Cardeli, A Growing Culture – discussed small farmers in Africa and the database of information his organization is putting together to help save farming knowledge
  • Mia McDonald, A Bright Green – Shared her anti-factory farming work in the global arena, mostly the global South and China
  • Kelly McGlinchey, Slow Food NYC – Her organization supports food education programming throughout the NYC school year and a working farm during summer months
  • Marissa Arguelies, Brightfarms – Her company grows greens in places like Chicago and Philadelphia
  • Brittany Barton, Aerofarms – Shared new developments on minimizing food waste at the company

Brittany Barton from Aerofarms, one of our speakers. (And we’re happy to say a former part of Change Food.)

Each speaker was given two and a half minutes to discuss who they are, what their mission is, and a project they are working on.  They also were allowed one ask of the audience (though it could not be financial). If their talks are not linked here yet, they will be soon.

Each Change Food Meets… will be organized in a similar way.  These short talks will be tagged and housed in the Change Food online video library, eventually resulting in a national, searchable database of videos from groups across the food spectrum.  This is in an effort not just to connect people locally but to also expose great work being done on a grassroots or community level to a wider, more national audience.

Change Food believes that real change happens from the ground up, in communities where residents have the answer to their local problems.  

Interested in hosting a Change Food Meets… ?  For now, you can email us for more information. Shortly, we will have more info on our website.

We hope you’ll join us at a future Change Food Meets… – it’s time we all met each other and found ways to work or at least support each other.

The next Change Food Meets… is April 18 with AgTech X at their new location with Agritecture.  The 3rd Change Food Meets… is currently being planned for May 11 in San Francisco. Many more to come – let’s have one in your city!

Ricky Stephens from AgTech X excited to be hosting our next Change Food Meets on April 18th at Agritecture

(Special thanks to Advisory Board members Donna Adan for helping to organize the event and Alain Coumont for graciously allowing us to use his space!)


Change Food® works toward a healthier food system for people, animals & the planet.  Learn more about Plant Eat Share – planting food in public spaces. For free.