The Big Food Question podcast

The Big Food Question

Heritage Radio Network

How can our food system rebuild and reimagine amid the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 and a long overdue reckoning with generations of inequity? As every corner of the food world grapples with issues that will define its future, The Big Food Question will tackle practical and philosophical questions alike for eaters, operators, and workers across food business sectors and topics. From restaurants and bars, to processors and distributors, from farms to food banks, The Big Food Question will feature expert guests who help us understand how industries can move forward while prioritizing safety, equity, and economic stability.

45 épisodes

  • The Big Food Question podcast

    What is Regenerative Agriculture, Really?

    18:22

    “Regenerative Agriculture Needs a Reckoning,” wrote Joe Fassler, Deputy Editor of The Counter. Joe started out writing a short news piece, and ended up with a 13,000-word investigation on how regenerative agriculture is being defined, who is defining it, and who gets left out from the debate. Kat Johnson talks to Joe about his reporting and the wider conversation that it kick-started.This episode is produced in collaboration with The Counter – a nonprofit, independent, nonpartisan newsroom investigating the forces shaping how and what America eats. Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

    Is it Time to Reinvent Restaurants?

    13:25

    After closing Meme’s Diner in November 2020, co-owner Libby Willis wanted to preserve the sense of community the restaurant fostered but wasn’t ready to open another traditional restaurant. Instead, she has transformed what restaurant operations can look like. Her new enterprise, KIT, is operating as an incubator of sorts, sharing the burden of business ownership with a cohort of owner-operated businesses while creating a cohesive experience for diners. Gain insight into how KIT is operating and the potential Libby sees for creating a more inclusive industry.Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis episode was produced in partnership with our friends at TD Bank.This project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

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  • The Big Food Question podcast

    Can Online Food Businesses Pivot to In-Person Service?

    14:00

    The challenges presented to restaurant owners during the pandemic have been countless. Some businesses have closed. Others have opted to ditch in-person dining and opted for take-away or delivery models. Both local meal delivery and nationwide shipping of meal kits and pantry staples have gained popularity. A rarer take is shifting a business that solely offered online orders and pivoting to brick and mortar service. But that's exactly what Chef Surbhi Sanhi did. While most restaurants were doing the opposite, Sanhi found a way to turn Tagmo, her online business, into a physical storefront, bringing her unique South Asian sweets to the masses at South Street Seaport.An unedited version of this interview first appeared on episode 81 of Opening Soon.Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis episode was produced in partnership with our friends at TD Bank.This project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

    What Will it Take to Bring Back New York City’s Nightlife Industry?

    18:29

    New York City’s mandated lockdown presented overwhelming challenges for bars, clubs, and restaurants in New York City. The city’s nightlife industry is made up of 25,000 establishments that support nearly 300,000 jobs with $13.1 billion in wages, and $35 billion in economic activity. (Source.) Many of these businesses turned to NYC’s Office of Nightlife for guidance and support during the pandemic.The Office of Nightlife (part of Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment) is a liaison between NYC's nightlife industry and all other City agencies. Its purpose is to help establish and coordinate systemic solutions to support the nighttime economy, culture, and quality of life. In this episode we hear from Rafael Espinal, who sponsored the bill to create the Office of Nightlife in 2017, and Ariel Palitz, the office’s first Senior Executive Director who has played a big role in guiding the industry through Covid-19’s myriad impacts.Read the Office of Nightlife Report here.Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis episode was produced in partnership with our friends at TD Bank.This project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

    How Do You Start A Worker Cooperative?

    20:34

    Worker cooperatives are worker owned and democratically controlled businesses. They have been shown to lower pay disparities and demonstrate resilience in the face of crisis. But how do they run on a day-to-day basis? How can you start one or transform an existing business into a cooperative model? What potential do cooperatives have for strengthening our economy and our food system? This episode addresses these questions and more. Commissioner Jonnel Doris of New York City’s Department of Small Business Services provides essential tips and resources for any New Yorkers interested in starting a cooperative. Steph Wiley and Karna Ray, worker-owners at the Black-led food distribution cooperative Brooklyn Packers, share their experience operating under this model as well as their vision for a more equitable food system. Learn more about becoming a worker cooperative and get resources at owner2owners.nyc or call (646)363-6592.Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis episode was produced in partnership with our friends at TD Bank. This project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

    How Can Small Businesses Find Funding in a Post-Pandemic World?

    18:18

    As pandemic relief funds (like PPP and EIDL) are exhausted, many small businesses are still in need of grants, loans, and other financial services.  In this episode, produced in partnership with TD Bank, we discuss new rounds of relief available through the American Rescue Plan. Plus, there are myriad evergreen opportunities through the Small Business Administration and nonprofit organizations like Acendus and the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation.Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

    How Will Covid-19 Change the Response to Food Insecurity?

    16:55

    During some of the most harrowing months of the pandemic, journalist Simran Sethi set out to explore the definition and dynamics of food insecurity in the US. Simran’s piece doubled and then tripled in word count as she uncovered the complexities of how we define, track, and address food insecurity. She shares what she learned and informs listeners about what shifted during the pandemic, where our response fell short, and the potential to create change in the face of crisis. Read her article, “Hunger and food insecurity are not the same. Here’s why that matters—and what they mean.”This episode is produced in collaboration with The Counter – a nonprofit, independent,  nonpartisan newsroom investigating the forces shaping how and what America eats.Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question  is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

    How Do We Fix Bartending School?

    26:09

    Bartending has existed since, well…. forever. For as long as people have been drinking, there have been people who have made, sourced, and poured those beverages into cups in front of people for money. On this special episode hosted by Greg Benson (bartender and host of Back Bar and The Speakeasy), we look at education for the bar industry. Greg welcomes Nonna Titulauri, a Diageo Bar Academy World Class Finalist who lives and works in San Francisco. She’s been behind bars since she was a 21 year old college student. They discuss why so many ‘bartender schools’ are so lacking and what resources are available to bartenders who are just starting out or looking to build skills. This episode was supported by Diageo Bar Academy.Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

    Is Philanthropy Doing Enough to Support Native Food Sovereignty?

    23:02

    Native enterprises and nonprofits are working to ensure food sovereignty for their communities and neighbors. Land access and capital are key to this mission, and philanthropic grants are often a major source of funding. However, grant money often comes with many strings attached and reporting requirements that bog down the organizations they’re trying to help.Marilyn Noble’s reporting in The Counter examines how philanthropies (often private foundations with large endowments) currently support Tribal communities and what advocates say they could be doing better.Read Marilyn’s full piece hereThis episode is produced in collaboration with The Counter – a nonprofit, independent, nonpartisan newsroom investigating the forces shaping how and what America eats.Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question is powered by Simplecast.
  • The Big Food Question podcast

    What Do Communities Gain When Restaurants Reopen?

    21:08

    As the United States rolls back pandemic era restrictions, many restaurants are welcoming eaters back and expanding their seating capacity. After more than a year of isolation, reopenings offer a sorely missed space to connect. Doug Mack discusses an article he wrote for The Counter, which examines the social and cultural benefits of gathering spaces like restaurants by drawing on the academic concept of a “third place.” Plus, enjoy anecdotes from eaters about what they have missed most about dining out and the reasons restaurants are more than the food they serve. This episode was produced in collaboration with The Counter – a nonprofit, independent, nonpartisan newsroom investigating the forces shaping how and what America eats.Special thanks to everyone in the HRN community who shared their memories and anecdotes: Shari Bayer, Nikki Salazar, Alicia Qian, Caroline Fox and Tash Kimmel. Have a question you want answered? Email us at question@heritageradionetwork.orgThis project is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.The Big Food Question  is powered by Simplecast.

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