Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Research, Communications
and Strategies for Sustainability

What are the Ingredients of Trust?

2012 James Beard Foundation Food Conference

Trust and the American Food System is the theme of this week’s annual James Beard Foundation conference in New York: A Crisis in Confidence: Creating a Better, More Sustainable Food World We Can Trust. I moderate a panel Thursday morning with Sam Kass from The White House and Eric Goldstein, Chief Executive of the New York City Office of School Support Services. While our focus will be trust and leadership in the public sector, other panels will look at GMOs, milk, and transparency.

Download a PDF of the complete agenda for the two days of the conference. Visit the James Beard Foundation’s website on October 17 and 18 to watch live streaming video of the Conference. (For video of my presentations from last year's conference, see How Money and Media Influence the Way America Eats.)

Threaded through all these diverse discussions (with active participation from an audience of leading chefs, businesspeople, and thought leaders in the food sector) are fundamental issues of how to maintain or build trust in a system that spans the globe.

If you know your farmer and eat locally is that the recipe for trust? Perhaps, unless you are the farmer raising your own chickens in Brooklyn and finds high amounts of lead in the eggs. Is organic the answer? Perhaps unless you believe the Stanford University study recently released (and more recently roundly criticized for methodological flaws).

Can we produce food sustainably for a global market that weaves together hundreds of thousands of small farmers, vast transportation networks, and consumers increasingly out of touch with the natural rhythms of both the growing seasons and critical soil nutrients?

Wendell Berry (farmer, poet, writer), Tensie Whelan (Rainforest Alliance), Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster), Jenifer Phalen (Edelmen) and others will tussle with these questions.

We needed an outside perspective on working with leading corporations and turned to Jonathan to assess our approach, refine our strategy, facilitate internal roll-out and help us execute. He helped us to think big, see new opportunities, reshape our communications and engage internal stakeholders. His counsel and ongoing support has been constructively provocative. Jonathan’s strategic thinking is keen and his facilitation skills are superior; he drills quickly to the underlying issues with a deft combination of determination and diplomacy.

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