An Unprecedented Year of Action

2021 offered Food Tank incredible opportunities to bring together diverse groups of food systems leaders.

At the start of the year, Food Tank continued its livecast series. Through these conversations, Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg heard from thought leaders and advocates including Director of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub Paul Newnhan, Executive Director and Founder of the Black Feminist Project Tanya Fields, and Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Moss.  

“It was a really eye-opening conversation about how certain foods that are full of salt, sugar, and fat can create addiction in the same way our bodies get addicted to drugs and alcohol,” Nierenberg says about her interview with Moss. “And food companies not only know this, but they exploit this.” 

Food Tank also hosted several livecast panel series. With the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Food Tank co-hosted a seven-part series featuring members of the U.N. Food Systems Network to discuss pathways to food systems transformation. The conversations helped to highlight “voices that don’t often get heard as much as they should, including Indigenous and youth leaders,” Nierenberg explains. 

As part of a week-long series about the intersection of food and technology, Food Tank also partnered with the Refresh Working Group. And in the lead up to Earth Day, Food Tank and the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation brought together chefs from around the world who discussed the double pyramid—which reflects a diet’s impact on health and the environment—and the intersection of food, culture, and climate. 

“We had amazing chefs, including chefs from South Africa who are working to feed their communities during the pandemic, and are still trying to keep people nourished as the omicron variant rages on,” Nierenberg says in reference to the Earth Day series. 

These online gatherings also gave Food Tank the opportunity to highlight the importance of food policy. During an virtual event on antibiotic resistance, farmers, chefs and researchers explained that raising livestock without antibiotics can keep both animals and humans happier and healthier. And in partnership with WW International, Food Tank co-hosted a virtual event to bring attention to the Food Donation Improvement Act, which has the potential to cut food waste and reduce hunger. 

Other Food Tank events, including “One Planet. One Health. Solutions for Sustainable Local Food Systems” and “The Changing Culture of Dairy” explored the ways that community-based projects can support resilient local food systems.

“There are ways all of us as eaters can make different kinds of choices that can nourish both people and the planet,” Nierenberg says. 

Food Tank joined our partners for many more virtual events, forums, and U.N. Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogues. Listen to the full episode of “Food Tank with Dani Nierenberg” below to hear about the other ways that Food Tank advocated for food systems change in 2021 and what we are looking forward to in the new year. 

Photo courtesy of Kasturi Laxmi Mohit, Unsplash

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