From Soil to City

Does Labeling Hurt the Local Food Movement?

Join us for a discussion on the power of labeling in our local food movement. Terms like “organic” and “made in Brooklyn” help educate consumers on what they are buying, but sometimes these terms can be misleading because they don’t tell the whole story about the product. Are these labels just buzzwords that encourage consumers to make quick decisions without reading past the label, or are they helping grow local food by reaching a broader customer base?

Where: Raaka Chocolate Factory, 64 Seabring St, Brooklyn
When: Friday, Nov 13, 7-8:30pm
Tickets: $10 suggested donation, RSVP here

Grace Tuttle, Designer, Lecturer at Parsons the New School for Design
Alice Varon, Executive Director of Certified Naturally Grown
Sandor Aaron Mark, Writer, Master’s Student in American Literature at Fordham University
Erica Wides, Owner of Chefsmartypants, LLC

Wen-Jay Ying, Founder and Director of Local Roots NYC

Suggested Donation: $10

Food + Drink

61 Local – pumpkin soup made with Local Roots CSA produce, 61 Local is the Boerum Hill CSA drop off for Local Roots CSA every Tuesday and serves up locally crafted food and drink.

Tradesman Bar – house made pickles with Local Roots CSA produce, Tradesman Bar is located in Bushwick and has been serving the neighborhood for three years; they are dedicated to a locally sourced menu. They host the Local Roots CSA every Thursday.

Fleishers Meats Meat Stix are made from 100% grass-fed top round beef and pasture-raised pork shoulder and belly from a local NY farm. They are ready-to-eat sausages for on the go protein. Fleishers Meats believe in knowing where our food comes from so we can enjoy it with confidence and share first-hand knowledge with our customers. Their family-owned farm partners and world-class standards help ensure transparency at every step.

Beer generously provided by Union Beer Distributors

More about the panelists:
Grace Tuttle is a designer living in Brooklyn. She teaches at Parsons the New School for Design where she received her BFA in 2012 from the Transdiscipinary Design program. Her projects stretch across her diverse interest areas, including public policy, financial services, and communication design. In her practice, her methods include service design and strategic management, combining behavioral insights and design thinking frameworks. She has experience developing and implementing complex projects to enable holistic user experiences.

Alice Varon is Executive Director of Certified Naturally Grown. CNG offers peer-review certification for farmers and beekeepers who use natural practices free of synthetic chemicals and GMOs to produce food for their local communities. In 2010 Alice helped launch CNG’s apiary program to encourage natural beekeeping. She is now working with experts to develop new CNG certification programs for aquaponics and mushroom producers. She is an active member of IFOAM-Organics International, serving as the North American representative on its PGS Committee, a group formed by IFOAM to support the development of grassroots certification programs built on trust, social networks and knowledge exchange. Alice currently lives in Brooklyn, but she keeps her beehives and her newly-inoculated mushroom logs in the Hudson Valley.

Sandor Aaron Mark is a Master’s Student in American Literature at Fordham University. He is also an aspiring writer. In the past, Sandor has written on body image issues in men and culture. His interests in food stem from his interest in fitness and running. After becoming an avid runner, two years ago, Sandor began considering food as fuel. As a consumer he chooses to buy only whole, non-processed foods. His interest in food is also tied into his studies on what he calls “America’s body obsessed culture—how diet and fitness trends are disseminated and how they’ve affected the ways we see our bodies”.

Erica Wides is a chef, writer, and media host from Brooklyn, NY. She’s been in the food business for over 20 years, working in several of New York’s finest restaurants, including Arcadia, Zoe, Savoy and the China Grill, and then as a Senior Chef-Instructor at The Institute of Culinary Education for 15 years. She is the creator and host of “Let’s Get Real; the cooking show about finding, preparing and eating FOOD” on the Heritage Radio Network. She is also a columnist for the Huffington Post and NuMi, and has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, the Food Network’s Top 5 and Chopped, Home Shopping Network, PBS, Sirius Radio, NPR, and in 2013 was invited to speak at TedX Berkeley. Erica is the owner of Chefsmartypants LLC, a restaurant consultancy, developing menus and concepts for clients from idea to opening. She is also a commercial and voiceover actor.


This discussion is part of a lecture series, Race, Place, and Authenticity in the Brooklyn Food Scene,  presented by Heritage Radio Network, Local Roots NYC, and Raaka Chocolate. We’re exploring identity through food and drink in a series of panel discussions on food labeling, beverage culture, and the history of food manufacturing. All events will take place at the Raaka Chocolate factory in Red Hook: 64 Seabring St, Brooklyn, NY 11231.