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26 June, 2018

Creating Change in the Food Industry

As the sun set over the New York City skyline, 100 Bogart's very own members, Heritage Radio Network, hosted on our rooftop an empowering panel discussion titled Changing the Conversation: Creating Meaningful Change for Women, People of Color, and the LGBTQ Community in the Food World. Over 80 people from the New York City area were brought together to open the dialogue surrounding the difficulties that marginalized communities face in the food industry and was spearheaded by six incredibly knowledgeable professionals from the food industry.


The panel was extremely diverse and spoke to many different communities throughout the food industry. Korsha Wilson is a food writer and Founder of A Hungry Society on Heritage Radio Network. Sari Kamin is the Senior Publicity Manager of Culinary & Lifestyle at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and a Host of Food Without Borders on Heritage Radio Network. Leah Kirts is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an expertise in the intersection of food, gender, social justice, and veganism. Vonnie Williams is the Cofounder of The Black Forks, a website exploring food & culture through the Black Lens. Mayukh Sen is a former staff writer at MUNCHIES and Food52 and a recipient of James Beard Award for his article about Princess Pamela. And lastly, Yemi Amu is the Co-founder of Oko Farms, a company specializing in urban aquaponics, education, and design.


The event was a success due to the panelists' willingness to talk about their experiences working in different facets of the food industry. For instance, Vonnie Williams addressed an issue she experienced where her scope of expertise in food media was limited to her ethnicity. As a first-generation Ghanian-American, Williams was expected to focus on the food of west Africa and west Africa only. However, the bigger, underlying issue is that food media is saturated with European/Western perspectives. There are so many untapped foods and cultures in the world and the only way to genuinely understand these foods and cultures would be to listen to the people that invented them.


The thoughtful, stimulating conversation was only enhanced by the delicious and diverse food served at the end of the event! One of the caterers, Samosa Shack, specializes in samosas with fillings ranging from the traditional potatoes and peas to cranberry coconut macaroon. The other caterer, Oasis Jimma Juice Bar, serves healthy and nutritious food and beverages, but may be better known for its authentic, Ethiopian sambusas. 


We at 100 Bogart love to host events such as Changing the Conversation because it encourages collaborative, productive conversation between individuals that may have never met otherwise! This event embodies the mission at 100 Bogart to provide shared workspaces for people from all types of backgrounds, creating an atmosphere of innovation. Thank you to Heritage Radio Network for hosting such a profound event!