5 Thought-Provoking Food Videos, Part II: Lessons From Bed-Stuy

Another highlight from the TEDx Manhattan conference: Melony Samuels on launching a successful anti-hunger project

garden_harvest5.jpg Last week, we looked at urban design researcher Michael Conard's proposal that we could do away with food deserts—regions that lack access to affordable healthy foods—by rethinking regional food distribution. Now, in our second featured talk from this year's TEDx Manhattan conference ("Changing the Way We Eat"), Dr. Melony Samuels, founder and director of Brooklyn's Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, offers another approach to solving the same problem.

Some thinkers, like Conard, offer big-picture ideas about large-scale reforms, and there's a sort of idealistic beauty in these assertions that the entire food system could be different than it is now. Samuels, however, teaches us about the beauty of smallness—about how tweaking the details of a single local initiative can mean the difference between produce rotting on food-pantry shelves and residents leading healthier, fuller lives. Here she describes the evolution of her anti-hunger project, which feeds 10,000 people in Central Brooklyn each month. Notice how its incremental growth is contingent upon a host of small realizations—an awakening about the advantages of a supermarket-style food pantry, for example, or about the need for educational workshops to teach families how to cook vegetables. It's a striking example of local success (and one well worth supporting through donations).


Image: Courtesy of the Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger

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Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

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