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Food System


Welcome to The Giving Table 2.0!

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F  O   U   N   D   E   R   '   S    L  E   T   T   E  R   .   J  A   N   1  4  ,  2  0  1  4

D E A R   B L O G G E R S ,   S U P P O R T E R S ,   A N D   F R I E N D S , 

The Giving Table is back! And we have some big goals for 2014.

To those of you who have been following this journey from the beginning, I appreciate your patience immensely as I've prepared for the next iteration of this movement. After a highly successful social action campaign last April, I took some much-needed time to consider our lessons learned,  dream about what can be achieved moving forward, plan a campaign strategy, and redesign the website. So thank you.

I hope you're just as excited as I am about what's on the horizon! 

Our mission of doing good with food hasn't changed, but a new giving model will help ensure that the impact we make in 2014 will be felt worldwide. You can read more about it here, as well as take a peek at The Giving Table's manifesto and FAQ sections.

F U N D I N G   T H E   F O O D   S Y S T E M 

After much consideration, I've decided to host future campaigns on the Causes platform. Causes is integrated with Facebook, the largest social media site in the world, and has the potential to draw even more participants to our activism and fundraising campaigns. If you have a Facebook account (and I'm guessing most of you do), you can access Causes seamlessly. Stop by today and support us! ("Supporting" a cause is the Facebook equivalent of "liking" a page.)

You may have noticed a new word: fundraising. Causes supports donations, which means we'll have the ability to directly impact food projects throughout the world. Through strategic partnerships with food nonprofits, bloggers will donate their posts to causes with tangible results, and micro-transactions from readers (less than $20), offer enormous potential to raise significant funding.

Consider this: Collectively, we have hundreds of thousands of readers. If just 1,000 of them donated $10, we'd have $10,000 for charity! By working together, it really is that simple, and I can't wait to get started.

If you're ready to join The Giving Table in 2014, here's how you can help.

G E T   I N V O L V E D  -  T H E   L U N C H B O X   F U N D   2 . 1 0 . 1 4 


The first campaign of 2014 will be held on FEBRUARY 10, 2014. Here's everything you need to know to get involved.

1. Visit the campaign page and pledge to donate your post. 

2. Review the guidelines to prepare your recipe and post.

3. Tell your friends, invite fellow bloggers, and help spread the word!

T H E   N E W   W E B S I T E 

I'm thrilled about our new space, and hope it inspires you to get more involved in food philanthropy. The photography was generously provided by my friend and fellow food blogger Erin Alderson, and I can't imagine the site without her spectacular images.

As you reacquaint yourself, here are a few places you'll want to visit.

About usBrush up on our mission, manifesto, and find answers to your questions.

Activism. Learn more about our giving model and what it truly means to "donate a post" to The Giving Table.

Social Media. Stop by the Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and check out our offerings on Pinterest.

Newsletter. If you haven't signed up for the newsletter, I encourage you to do so. This will ensure you'll stay updated about news and future campaigns.

Cheers to 2014, and all that we'll accomplish together!

Very sincerely, 

Nicole Gulotta
Founder, The Giving Table



Breaking News: Farm Bill Fails on House Floor

“The price of a farm bill should not be making more people hungry in America,” -Rep. Jim McGovern 

Last week, the proposed Farm Bill FAILED on the House floor by a vote of 195-234.

There are many unanswered questions about where we go from here and what it means if a farm bill is not approved later this year, but for now, it's worth relishing in the fact that this time around, the farm bill didn't simply sail through Congress.

This farm bill proposal included over $20 billion in cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps), $2.5 billion in cuts to food aid, and policy changes that would have substantially increased hunger for years to come. The House bill also included amendments that would have instituted a lifetime ban on SNAP for ex-offenders and imposed harsher work requirements on all beneficiaries.

For the past few months, individuals (like all of you who participated in Food Bloggers Against Hunger and sent letters to your representatives), and numerous organizations have been fighting to make a difference in our food system, and although there is still much to accomplish, our collective voice is starting to be heard.

Here are a few responses from around the web:

Washington Post: The House farm bill unexpectedly failed. So what happens next?

New York Times: House Rejects Farm Bill as Food Stamp Cuts Prove Divisive

Huffington Post: Food Stamp Cuts Derail Farm Bill



Why Chipotle's GMO Labeling is Good for Consumers


Dear Chipotle,

We've come to know you as a leader in sustainable fast food. Your business model includes unconventional practices in the fast food industry, including sourcing ingredients from local farmers, avoiding antibiotics in your meat, and cooking food fresh, on-site every day. We hope to see more companies embracing these strategies in the future.

When you released your ingredients statement yesterday, including a listing of the GMOs found in your products, my first reaction was anger. How can a sustainable fast food company use GMOs? Isn't it against everything they stand for? Chipotle is the only fast food chain I'm willing to eat at. What will I do on nights when I don't want to cook?

When I realized that the ingredients I often consume, including brown rice, crispy chips, and tortillas, contained GMOs, I contemplated what my life might look like without Chipotle. I'll boycott Chipotle, I thought! I'll make burritos at home instead, using ingredients I can source back to the farm they came from! I'll make my own tortillas from scratch! I'll start a petition! This went on for several minutes, but after reading through your statement and really considering it, I came to a different conclusion.

Transparency across all sectors is something consumers are demanding and companies are wrestling with. It's easier to hide behind websites and office buildings, and not come clean. But you chose the path of resistance. You risked losing customers. You chose to do the right thing.

Not only have you clearly stated which ingredients contain GMOs, you also outlined the measures you're taking to eliminate GMOs from your business. Switching from soybean to sunflower oil, working to improve the shelf life of tortillas naturally, and reducing artificial preservatives are important steps.

But even more importantly, you gave me a choice. As a consumer, your transparency has empowered me to make informed decisions about which toppings I'll choose for my salad bowl, or whether I'll eat at your restaurants at all.

Thank you for your honesty, for acknowledging the areas where you can do better, and for actively taking steps to improve your business practices, the fast food industry, and our food system.


A loyal customer




Food Bloggers Against Hunger - The Results!

Food Bloggers Against Hunger Results from Nicole Gulotta on Vimeo.

The results are in!

On April 8th, food bloggers joined forces to help make a difference in the food system and support Share Our Strength and the new documentary A Place at the Table. Today, the ripple effect of this event is still making its way across the nation. (If you missed it, check out the event on Storify!) There are a series of impressive numbers, like almost 17,000 pins on Pinterest, and 2,400 letters submitted to Congress, but the real strength lies in the proof that our collective voice is more powerful than anything we could accomplish alone.

Tom Colicchio shared Anne Coleman's post when he met with 40 members of Congress on April 9th. Representative Jim McGovern tweeted about the work we were doing. The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Civil Eats took notice. And when policies begin to change (and they will), over the coming months, and this issue continues to remain in the spotlight, you will know that you had something to do with it. A big something.

Representatives like John Matheson (UT) have responded to your letters: "While I firmly believe that we all need to make tough decisions and share in the sacrifice to reduce our federal deficit, I do not support balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens."

Many of you have expressed your gratitude for my organizing this event, for giving you a platform to discuss these issues. But I have to extend the same gratitude back to you, because none of this would have been possible without you. Had I posted about this on my own blog, it would have made almost no difference. But the power of 250 bloggers behind this cause made for an incredible day.

Here are some highlights from your blog posts:

"Today, food bloggers across the country are writing about food insecurity. This is not to be confused with foodie insecurity, the worry that your salted caramel bacon doughnut on a stick isn’t photogenic enough for your Pinterest followers."  -Plant & Plate

"Far too many people understand what true hunger is, to not have enough to eat, to feel the twisting agony of real hunger as they lay in the dark night; to open cupboards, the refrigerator and see nothing for sustenance or thirst."   -Kate in the Kitchen

"I am angry that we are a nation of great wealth, and people are going hungry.  I am angry that those people are not given the appropriate tools to eat a nutritious diet.  I am angry that obesity and hunger are relatives.  But, I am also inspired.  I am inspired by people who give a damn!" -Corbin in the Dell

"I feel sickened to my core when I think what it must be like for moms who have to watch their children suffer the pangs of hunger, who have to tell their kids that she’s sorry but there’s just not anything for breakfast today." -Em-i-lis

"The real tragedy of food allergies and food insecurity is that families may take risks with their children's well being." -The Allergic Kid

Congratulations to everyone who participated and supported this event! Special thanks to Feastie and Share Our Strength for providing analytics.


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What would you do if you were hungry?

If you're browsing through your RSS feed or checking your Twitter stream this morning, you might notice a common theme. Today, 200 food bloggers are donating their posts to raise awareness about the issue of hunger in America. And we're planning to make some noise.

This event began last August, when I had the opportunity attend an early screening of A Place at the Table through a local professional network. This was well before Participant Media had designed an action center, but I walked away knowing that this would be a wonderful partnership with The Giving Table. (If you haven't had a chance to see the film yet, I encourage you to do so. If it's not playing in your town, you can also watch it on demand on iTunes and Amazon.)

In preparing for this event during the past few weeks, I've been humbled by the reception in the food blog community, and proud of what we've set out to accomplish together. This event (and this website, really) began because I believe I'm not the only one who cares about these issues. All my feelings have been affirmed as I've watched my inbox fill with RSVPs from fellow bloggers who are standing with us today.

We're all joining together for one reason: to make a difference in our food system. Millions are hungry, and as many as 50 million people are food insecure and don't know where their next meal is coming from. SNAP—the nation’s food stamp program—is at risk for severe cuts that would impact millions of families, especially children, that rely on school meals and food stamps to survive. In response to the film, the country's leading anti-hunger organizations, Share Our Strength, Bread for the World, Feeding America, and The Food and Research Action Center, are asking supporters to help spread the word.

Private sector programs and charities aren’t enough. The only sustainable solution is for government policies to change, so we must make our voices heard.

Here's how you can get involved:

1. See the film

2. Spread the word on social media (follow the #takeyourplace hashtag!)

3. Join thousands of other advocates and send a letter to Congress TODAY (it only takes 30 seconds!)

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