How are you doing?
It would be great to talk and learn your thoughts about our work on My Food
and what you would like us to focus on
these next two months. I am free on Monday, then Tuesday I fly to San Diego
and will be there for one week. Also, I hope we might meet at the end of
February when I go to the Bay Area for one week.
I spoke today with Carlos Ortega Ayala of Oaxaca, Mexico. I will be
traveling to Mexico for two weeks this month and spending most of my time
there. He will help me meet independent thinkers for our lab. I understand
that you're working together, too. I also spoke with his friend Mark Beam of
and he will also advise. I expect to find some new
participants for My Food Story and our Social Agriculture and Global Villages
I am very thankful for this opportunity to work for you on My Food Story. It
is very opportune because it allows us to build a repository of first hand
experiences which are great for our investigations and the business
opportunities that our lab might best pursue.
One of my concerns is to know what kind of shape you'd like us to give My
Food Story so that you would be very happy with it. What is your vision? We
have lately been getting encouraging responses from some of the leaders in the
field such as Guillermo Payet of Local Harvest, Barry Glassner of The Gospel
of Food, and Brazilian government biofuel leader Milton Maciel (thank you
I was recently concerned how we would meet our target of 1800 entries. It is
a bit of a challenge, and I will need our help and ask for it. It is in many
ways my main concern because I want to win our bonuses! I have made a page
of sources for such stories,
some in the Public Domain (Voice of America reports), and others that suggest
organizers who might be happy that we use their collections. Also, there are
"motherlodes" of links such as Delicious list of 5,000 links for "farmer",
and Flickr's list of 2,000 photos of "farmer" under the Creative Commons
attribution license. I think it is doable but we have about 200 so far and
we need to do another 200 per week.
Also, I will be appealing to all of our leaders to think about their
investigatory questions and consider how collecting food stories might
coincide with collecting first hand experiences that are relevant for their
investigations, as I have asked Tom Wayburn. This is a key use of our
archive that will ensure momentum into the future.
I have been thinking that instead of an official registry of related websites
- I have yet to see a real need - it seems to make sense to use the tags to
pair a wiki page for it with related stories. And an "official" participant
would be one for whom we create a wiki page and use their name as a tag.
Registration would simply be a matter of whether they or their representative
are active at that page, so it would be more a matter of activity. We might
integrate from their RSS feeds if they are active online. Also, the content
of the wiki pages would be community centric so that ours reflects first our
Minciu Sodas lab community. Then if the Columbus, Ohio or the Piacenza,
Italy community would like to have their own repository, then they could take
whatever set of stories and pages they like as their nucleus and start from
there and rewrite to suit their needs.
I will make a wiki page that points to our long stories. I think that we
will certainly find 60 of them.
I am very happy that our team leaders have demonstrated a variety of
approaches. This shows the different kinds of potential for My Food Story as
a resource and a hub of activity.
- Samwel Kongere in Kenya has provided outstanding reports from the field on
Watermelon, Pumpkin, Soybean.
- Awne Abozant in Israeli-occupied Palestine has used our interface to upload
perhaps a 100 short stories - many in English and now some in Arabic -
including some wonderful pictures.
- Jeff Buderer and Maria Agnese Giraudo have compiled detailed research on
Integrated Farming and Waste Management and related subjects. Now I'm asking
their help to create people-centered entries from their materials.
- Zita Milkamanovic of the Tartar village of "Forty Tartars" in Lithuania has
provided entries for about 30 Tartar farmers and some photos of her village
and one of the farmers. Zenonas Anusauskas is learning to use our
Markus Petz is just getting going and Pamela McLean, how is your team? and
things in general?
Yesterday, Steve and Linda Bosserman visited us here in Chicago. We went
together and spoke with Bob Scaman, CEO of the organic foods supplier
I am interested in how My Food Story might
be a constructive resource for all of the various roles in growing and
enjoying healthy food. I think it is natural for there to be farms and
businesses of various sizes and yields and that often it is not a matter of
competition but sensitivity. For example, I imagine that if a farm sells
organic food to individuals then that does not generally conflict with its
responsibilities to its larger buyers because simply the amounts of food are
so different. Indeed, the fact that individuals would want to buy from a
particular farm helps establish its credibility as an organic supplier, I
think. This means that our work to help build such relationships might help
suppliers such as Goodness Greeness to keep finding farmers.
In March, I will visit Steve and Linda to pursue further business
opportunities. Steve and Jeff Buderer had discussed some ideas and perhaps
we might think through a proposal together. Our lab's strength are in
boosting the morale of local independent thinkers through a global network.
So one idea is to work with local groceries to encourage city farmers to grow
and share produce, to have a market, perhaps facilitated by a community
currency. Working globally we can provide access and exposure to people with
experience and vision from around the world. For example, there are
experimental technologies such as Solaroof and also George Chan's integrated
farm and waste management that enthusiasts can try out. I believe that often
such connections can provide more business opportunity than the food itself.
The food can then be about our community, our health, our nutrition, our
enjoyment, our surroundings, our fun and play.
Greg, I am very interested in what business opportunities you might see that
we might pursue and build My Food Story further. I am thinking a lot about
business opportunities based on collecting first hand experiences as the
basis for investigations.
I look forward to talking!
Thank you all for our great work!