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Focused on the social, cultural, and environmental aspects of food in today’s context

21 Day Racial Equity Challenge: Week 1

Photo by Jack Prommel on Unsplash

The first week of the 21-day Racial equity habit-building challenge ended on Sunday. It has taken me a few days to process centuries worth of history of injustice and racism neatly packed in seven days. Starting Monday, April 5, Food Solutions New England began sending a daily email tackling a different aspect of racial inequity rooted in historical accounts and constructed social biases.

It has been a challenge, not so much to welcome the information with an open mind and heart, but to realize that at one point or another in my own life I had been part of both…


Image credit Pixabay from Pexels.com

The news outlets in the U.S. have been quick to report the new proposed legislation in the UK banning supermarkets from selling foods connected to deforestation. Headlines like this one from Food Tank, “Supermarkets No Longer Able to Sell Foods Linked to Illegal Deforestation,” are filled with hyperbole and unfulfilled arguments. Halfway down the piece, the author sheds if only the dimmest light on the reality of the situation by quoting an expert, “But Dr. …


A story of hazelnuts, Nutella, labor abuse, and environmental degradation

During my time living in Italy, I obsessed over this coffee drink. The small glass cup showcasing the latte-colored drink, or the darker version with the glass smeared with gianduja and dusted with cacao powder — I was in love.

So, what is a Marocchino?

A Marocchino is a coffee drink equivalent, in a ratio of coffee to milk, to what we know as a latte. In Italy, you won’t find a latte because that’s the word for milk, so if you ask for a latte, you might get a…


Maya Angelou

The other day I read a quote by Maya Angelou, which said, “If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone or too sick to be angry. You should be angry. You must not be bitter.”

Those words, those simple words, told me everything I needed to hear to get out of my inertia and into action.

Am I angry? Yes, I am.

Am I bitter? Not anymore.

See, I returned from a trip to a wonderland where my only job was to study, learn, talk, write, and discuss the problems in our food system. Two years under the…


Hidden in a remote corner of Negros Island, one of the 7100 islands of The Philippines Archipelago, we found a cacao tree nursery and plantation working toward food and economic sovereignty for local farmers by applying agroforestry and agroecological practices, and promoting farmer education to rebuild the soil health of the island one plot at the time.

It was mid-April and the sugarcane harvest season around Negros Island was nearing the end. Fields and fields displayed as case studies of the different stages of sugarcane production: ready to harvest, recently harvested, already burnt, and prepared for new starter plants. The…


The earth took a big breath filled with hope when the United States returned to the conversation about climate change to change the status quo and work away from the cliff.

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Rejoining the Paris Agreement is a symbolic way for the U.S. to engage with the topic — or to at least look at the possibility and a path toward change. …


Shifting our mentality from recycling to reducing [or eliminating] plastic use is the only way out.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

I have been going down a dangerous plastic journey this past week trying to make sense of a world where plastic didn’t exist. But I can’t imagine it. In our ‘modern’ day everything is made of plastic, from the kitchen to the bathroom, from my toothbrush to all the packaging around my food, I see and feel the unrelenting presence of plastic, especially now that studies have shown plastic has made it into our drinking water and therefore our food. …


How I’m Stopping My Contribution to Modern-Day Slavery and Other Human and Environmental Abuses, And You Can Too.

Photo by Vincent M.A. Janssen from Pexels

2020 came and went, turning our lives upside down, shaking us mercilessly in hopes to wake us up from the inertia we have grown used to. But as these first weeks of 2021 run by us, I feel stuck in the lessons we didn’t fully digest. The lessons left by a pandemic that came as a result of human destruction of nature.

When the strict Italian lockdown began in early 2020, I turned to digital entertainment, as did the rest of the world, and watched The Good Place, a TV show about a young woman who dies and goes to…


This is the third and last article in a series of pieces decoding the European food quality labels, their modernization of production, and their damaging impact. Find the first piece here, and the second here.

Framed by the imposing Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery in the middle of Florence’s Centro Storico is one of the busiest sandwich shops in the whole of Italy, ALL’ANTICO VINAIO. Hundreds of people line up on the two mini-shops across from each other, as part of a cult that has grown around the famous sandwiches showcasing Italy’s finest cured meats and cheeses. …


Image by Pixabay from Pexels.com

This is the second article in a series of pieces decoding the European food quality labels, their modernization of production, and the damaging impact. Find the first piece here.

Working in the restaurant industry in Denver, CO, I was fully aware of the power and implied sophistication of the European IGP and DOP labels of quality of the many food products we used to craft menus.

From the prestigious Prosciutto di Parma to countless cheeses and salumi, olive oils, tomato products, pastas, and many other food products representing the tradition and terroir of the European countries we hoped to translate…

Paula Thomas

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