By Jason Stemm @NYCubsFan
We’ve all been questioned about the point of Twitter, and social media in general. You extoll its power of influence and sharing of knowledge, while your doubting friends and family view it as a narcissistic indulgence. I’ve never had a problem in showing the positive impact of the food industry on the common good and how it can be accelerated through social media. This power has been even more evident recently.
The rally of support from the food community for Jennifer Perillo, whose husband passed unexpectedly and much too soon, was overwhelming. An outpouring of offers to help turned into a day when everyone dropped what they were doing to make a peanut butter pie, Mike’s favorite dessert. You may have seen the hashtag #apieformikey. Over 170 posts went up that day in a virtual memorial to a man many had never met. They knew Jennifer though, and realized her life was suddenly turned upside down. Even Danny Meyer showed support by adding Mikey’s Peanut Butter Pie to the menu at Blue Smoke. The support continued as community members are donating their time and ability to raise money for #afundforjennie in support of Jennifer’s two daughters.
Marcus Samuelsson is a chef who tries to make the food world a better place. He has brought attention to the food deserts in poor communities and fought for access to healthier food for children around the world. Last week he teamed up with Food Republic and a group of big name chefs and others for a Twitter live chat and auction to raise awareness and money for people starving from droughts in east Africa. Andrew Zimmern’s tweet is reflective of others who participated, "because raising awareness about hunger issues in E Afr is vital. I have been there. I am a global citizen." Search #Frchat to see how the conversation has continued beyond the 30 minute live chat.
I have found myself participating in more live chats recently. This week alone, I joined #agchat at its regular Tuesday evening time, and #morematters hosted by the Produce For Better Health Foundation. Participants discussed the importance of agvocacy and ways to leverage social media to educate people about the food they put in their bodies. It reinforced the number of voices out there leading the charge and using social media as a tool to educate, motivate and enable people to improve their lives, health and environment with more informed choices.
Last night I had some “real-world conversation” with 20 people gathered around a long dinner table. Hosting the party were Phil Lempert and George Duran, and the group included food writers, bloggers, chefs, TV producers and others concerned with our current world of food. We discussed these worries that included impact of global warming and population growth on food supplies, the alarming rise in obesity, and the lack of time or money that makes the right choice harder to make.
There are many issues keeping us up at night and our ability to enact changes in attitude and behavior will help shape our future. We didn’t solve child hunger or obesity, but the concern and activism I have seen gives me hope. In a world where New York can be impacted by an earthquake and hurricane in the same week, anything is possible.
Photo: Nonprofit Law Blog