Italian farmers cultivate endangered beans — ones boarded onto the Slow Food Ark of Taste. They join forces with chefs to enlist local mayors to embrace Meatless Monday and the taste of place. In short, we must all Let It Bean. Though still in its infancy, this municipal strategy is beginning to bear fruit.
What if we were to rekindle the spirit of ‘48 and repurpose George Marshall's $15 billion European Recovery Program to today's rural America?
The original public market in New Orleans is situated in the heart of the original French settlement. Like many historic markets, it is treasured by locals. However, it is also overrun by tourists. Or, at least that has been its trajectory since 1980. Under new leadership and during a pandemic, the French Market has an opportunity reemerge as a pivotal institution that serves the public good.
I am thrilled to work with a creative team in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's office in Dhaka (Bangladesh). An epicenter of economic growth and social tension, Dhaka is a city of more than 21 million people. Its population grows by more than 3% every year. FAO's Dhaka Food Project asks the question, how can the city's robust, colorful, yet woefully under-managed, public markets better serve vendors, shoppers and the nearby environs? This is where we begin.
Public markets work best when they reach their potential to serve the public good. While it is astonishing that these ancient mechanisms still survive, what's even more amazing are the ones that serve as regional conveners.
Kuni teaches us that we can all be what German sociologist Ulrich Beck describes as “place polygamists.” Live in the city, but dream rural. Live in a rice-growing village, but play also play host to an influx of repeat visitors. Rural innovator Tsuyoshi Sekihara has crafted a new social experiment in the far, rural reaches of Niigata Prefecture in Japan. He calls his ideas, Kuni. I am working with Sekihara to help tell his story, and translate his ideas about scale and survival in rural communities to new audiences outside of Japan.