This website is an initiative of J-Lab.

Who's Blogging

 
Amy Pennington

AMY PENNINGTON is a food writer, garden enthusiast and producer for a food-related radio show out of Seattle's KIRO.

Jen Lamson

JEN LAMSON has led numerous grassroots nationwide citizen action campaigns to promote buying from local food producers.

Kristin Hyde

KRISTIN HYDE created and implemented media strategies around the development of the first national organic standard.

Click for full bios.

Project Blog: The Good Food Fight

This project will connect consumers interested in food with larger public policy issues that affect food choices, security, safety, health and sustainability. Partners Kristin Hyde, Jen Lamson and Amy Pennington will use their deep experience in policy, marketing, journalism and digital campaigns "to leverage the growing concern and interest in food with a call to arms."

What Happened to Good Food Fight?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The truth is we had a tough time with this project.

My partner and I decided to dissolve our company, Good Food Strategies, in December and continue working on food issues more independently. It was kind of a bittersweet development considering the huge success our business was having and the huge growth in interest in this space among funders, NGO’s and businesses.  It’s exactly the right time for a project like Good Food Fight, actually.  I’ve learned a lot about the importance of finding the right team for projects like this.

We did use the site as a home for resources for food bloggers last fall coming out of the BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco. 

Right now, I am awaiting transfer of the domain to a new host. As soon as its transferred I will make sure it is live again at least in its current form as a resource of information for people wanting to write about food policy.  My bigger vision for Good Food Fight is still there, and continues to evolve for all the potential forms it could take given some additional support and I am currently in discussions with others about contributing to just such a hub, a “Facebook of the Food Movement” so to speak.

Whether or not that project uses our GFF domain name remains to be seen. If not, GFF could have new life as a new project with different funding and partners. 

This project suffered from not getting the attention, team work, and support it deserved and it’s my most disappointing outcome in my work these past seven years at Good Food Strategies.  I was so proud of the funding we got from you guys, and hopefully a resurrection and new life for Good Food Fight might someday make the J-Lab NMWE program proud too.

   • Posted by Kristin Hyde on 03/08 at 01:25 PM

A Launch Plan is Announced

Friday, July 30, 2010

Progress continues on the Good Food Fight, report the site founders.  A template is up on their website, goodfoodfight.com, which is currently being customized to house content.  The site will soon have draft content up and finalized for a beta launch in the middle of the summer. 

The group’s designer has developed three concepts for the Good Food Fight logo with multiple variations on those concepts. 

image

The site will have different “nodes”: An anchor story with four sidebars, three “good ideas” what are on-the-ground case studies illustrating how people are taking action, a set of resources and links for more information, and a Q&A section with a change leader.

Additional features will include:  A Flickr stream which will provide users with an image media library of free, creative commons photography that can be used to illustrate the themes and issues, a Twitter list that readers can use to follow leaders on GFF issues, and an RSS news feed of important articles.

The site will launch with a phased approach.  First, the site will target a core ‘friendly’ group of likely users to test out the approach and get feedback on content, frequency, delivery and engagement mechanisms.  This first tier audience will consist largely of “creators” and “critics” - prospective users of Good Food Fight who are already in the space and acting as information channels and commentators on these issues. 

In the next several months the project leaders will seek to finalize the focus, scope and tools Good Food Fight will use to further its mission and move into a Phase II strategy to expand the audience to include “collectors,” “joiners” and even “spectators” who will all help further develop the platform, will contribute to crowdsourcing news collection, and the building of a vibrant social network.

Kristin Hyde, one of the project organizers, says the plan is launch a beta version of the site, distributing content through e-mail, blogging, Twitter and Facebook.  The key theme of the launch package will be the hot topic of childhood obesity, lack of access to healthy foods and the intersection of food, good nutrition and money. 

“A key objective during this beta phase will be eliciting feedback and ideas for Good Food Fight that will shape upcoming editions of content, help us find the right frequency for updates; gauge interest in other on and off-line activities such as webinars, conference calls with change leaders, development and use of social networks etc.,” Hyde said.  “We may also find it useful to appoint an informal editorial advisory board to help make content focus decisions and to potentially contribute content as well.”

The group anticipates keeping the general focus of childhood obesity for at least three months, possibly longer, depending on the opportunities to tie into the policy battles around the Child Nutrition Act, Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity, and other natural “hooks.”

Keep up for yourself at goodfoodfight.com.

   • Posted by Kristin Hyde on 07/30 at 11:53 AM

The time is ripe for the Good Food Fight

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Good Food Strategies team went to go see Will Allen when he was in Seattle this week talking about Growing Power, the nonprofit he founded in Milwaukee with a mission to build community food systems.  Allen was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award and was recently profiled in the New York Times Magazine.  We can see why!  Allen’s work to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds is incredibly inspiring.  One of the things Allen said was, “We’ve done a lot of talking. Now it’s time to take action.”  The same could be said about our Good Food Fight meetings. After a few weeks of thoughtful discussion and planning, we’re ready to put our ideas into action.

We’re excited because we’ve found a great software platform to build the Good Food Fight online tool - Wired for Change by Salsa Labs.  Wired for Change has been used successfully by many progressive campaigns and will enable us to build and manage a list of supporters and provide user-friendly ways to take action. Good Food Strategies’ new media organizer, Daniel Weisbeck, who has established a state-wide social network for Democratic party leaders in Washington state, provides us with invaluable technical skills that will make the building of Good Food Fight that much smoother. We are finalizing our RFP for a web designer and should begin building and designing of the website shortly. We’ve also begun work on a marketing and audience strategy which is, in turn, helping us develop and plan the kind of content and stories we’ll be publishing on Good Food Fight. 

In another step forward, we collaborated to write a project summary (see below), which we’re sending out to help us build partnerships with other organizations, as well as spread advance word of Good Food Fight. 

No single personal daily act has greater impact on our health or our environment than eating food.  How, where, and what kind of food is produced—by whom and for whom—determine not only what we eat, but are critical factors in a multitude of pressing issues running the gamut from hunger, malnutrition, diet-related disease like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and childhood obesity to climate change, disappearing farmland, the vitality of rural communities, fair labor and trade to the impact of chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics in our food, and more. Anyone and everyone who eats can make a difference in addressing these problems by becoming an advocate for a better food system, whether their food source is Whole Foods or the local food bank. 

The time is ripe for the Good Food Fight.

Good Food Fight will take the growing hunger for information about food, and feed consumers the tools to improve not only the way we eat, but to fundamentally improve the policies that have contributed to our current health and environmental crises. Through original on-line content, a blog, and a digest of breaking news stories, Good Food Fight will empower people with shared knowledge and targeted actions. It will create an online community of conscious eaters who will engage not only as consumers, but also as citizens with the ability to leverage influence on the marketplace and policy. It will provide opportunities for people to take meaningful actions, from choices they make in their own kitchen to becoming an advocate for change by communicating with policymakers and spreading the word to their friends.  Good Food Fight will build the online organizing capacity to fuel a grassroots movement for change that creates a more sustainable food system and increases access to healthy food for all people.

Good Food Fight is a project of Good Food Strategies being developed with seed funding from a grant from the McCormick Foundation’s New Media Women Entrepreneurs program administered by the Institute for Interactive Journalism, J-Lab, at American University. 

   • Posted by Kristin Hyde on 02/08 at 09:06 AM

A New Team Member

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We are still celebrating the addition of Angela Garbes to the Good Food Fight team this year to lead our effort to build and launch our site over the next few months.  Angela attended Barnard College and graduated with a creative writing concentration from Columbia University, and has spent the bulk of her career to date as a writer and editor for a variety of newspapers, magazines, publishers and organizations.  Most recently her food column “Eat & Tell” ran in Seattle’s independent weekly The Stranger, and her daily blog posts on the food industry, reviews, and coverage of national and local food politics appear in the Seattle Weekly’s food blog Voracious.  Just this week Angela was asked to do food writing for PubliCola, a blog about Seattle by journalists which debuted in January 2009 to fill the void created by the collapse of print media and already called a “must-read” by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and named as a hot “New Media Mover and Shaker” of 2009 by Seattle Magazine.

imageBut more importantly for us, back to what Angela is doing for Good Food Fight!  Angela is leading our team in the process of making final decisions on the content, communication and engagement tools of Good Food Fight.  Together we are working through a few remaining critical questions that will determine the issues, audience, size and scope of the project. For example, what are the key issues we want Good Food Fight to focus on - public health, environmental sustainability, food security and food access, etc. and are there a limited set of lenses to help organize the plethora of pertinent issues we want to include?  What tools will best share content and engage consumers not just as readers, but as citizens?  What strategic partnerships will help our project succeed?  Which individuals and organizations can we get on board early to help create additional channels to reach broader audiences with Good Food Fight? Some we are already reaching out to:  Foodista, a wiki-style hub and resource for food bloggers all over the country and Grist, the groundbreaking online environmental news service.

On a practical level we are also drawing up an RFP for website designers and exploring sources and tools for incorporating both aggregated and original content through our site and campaign.  Our meetings are lively and always leave us with ever-increasing enthusiasm and a sense that we are moving in the right direction.

   • Posted by Kristin Hyde on 01/28 at 11:22 AM

In the Spotlght: Project Report

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A national spotlight is being focused on our food system, thanks in part to thought leaders like Michael Pollan, Alice Waters and others, and an interested and engaged First Lady, and also as a result of the rising interest and concern among Americans about food safety, food prices, and to increased scrutiny of policies that govern what we grow and what we eat and how that impacts our health, the environment, and our pocketbooks.  Folks in the so-called “good food movement” feel growing momentum behind initiatives to “buy local” or to improve school lunch programs.  There is growing awareness that our food system, both from a policy standpoint, and in the private marketplace, may be adversely impacting public health, contributing to disease, obesity, health care costs, growing numbers of people seeking food stamps and unable to access or afford healthy food.  There are hundreds of websites and blogs focused on providing information about food issues.  Despite all this “evidence” that consumers may be ready for significant changes in our food system, and an avalanche of media coverage on the issues, very little actual change in policy or practices has been attained, and the core consumers making “conscious” choices about their diet is still a slim minority of the American public. 

Are citizens who are already making “conscious” choices about the food they buy actually informed and engaged in the local and national dialog and policies that impact those choices?  Are they getting the information they need, and constructive ways to channel their interest into action beyond the check out stand? Has the “movement” flexed its muscle and achieved any major policy reform victories on farm or food policy at the national level?  Are there incremental objectives that if successfully attained would help build the army for this “major” reform of such intractable policies as our farm bill?

Our team has spent the last four months investigating how we can best leverage our New Media Women Entrepreneur grant to deliver an effective tool for informing and engage leading voices, “good food” businesses, and consumers to build a powerful community with shared knowledge and passion for positive change in our food system.  We still have more questions than answers, but at a practical level we are making progress.  What follows is an update on our project “Good Food Fight” and on the steps we are taking to maximize the impact of the grant dollars we received this year.

  1. We have begun a series of conversations with leading activists, “thought leaders”, and journalists to gather information about the current landscape of content providers, consumer engagement tools, needs and challenges.  What we have heard to date has confirmed our notion that to date there is a critical gap, and need, for an organized strategic effort to coordinate and engage these leaders which is helping to inform our thinking in developing “good food fight.”  This activity is being enhanced by additional funds we have received from the Packard Foundation to explore the landscape of emerging leaders and voices in the food and farm movement and to examine the question of how to most effectively leverage the emerging food movement to “flex some muscle” and achieve significant policy changes.
  2. Developed a strategy and mechanism for aggregating and delivering pertinent news and strategic information to key stakeholders.  The tools include a live news feed and weekly “must read” news list designed to keep activists and leaders up to speed on important issue developments.
  3. Developed a new staff position at Good Food Strategies for a “new media” specialist who will develop and improve our ability to aggregate and disseminate pertinent and compelling content to interested stakeholders, work with our web developer and post new content and conduct analytics to evaluate impact of on-line tools and outreach.  We are very close to hiring an outstanding young candidate for the job.
  4. Identified a top candidate to serve as “project manager” to spearhead this project, conduct research and further interviews, coordinate meetings and “focus groups” with target audience, and work with web developer and designers to build on-line tools to support “good food fight.”  This candidate is an active food blogger and reporter, former publicist and editor with a passion for understanding people and culture through food.  We hope/plan to have her officially on board in early January.
  5. We attended and derived enormous benefit at the Fund My Media workshop in October.  The day long session helped crystallize our vision for the Good Food Fight and re-assured us that while nothing quite like Good Food Fight exists out there, the whole new world of online media is rich with examples of people making good things happen with these new tools, and there are some models for success out there that we can learn from.

Our focus in January-June will be on fine-tuning the focus and mechanisms for the “Good Food Fight” and on building a site to begin testing our model.  We will have discussions with additional journalists, bloggers, food writers, and nonprofit advocates to arrive at the best mix of aggregated news feeds, original content, and compelling civic engagement tools.  And finally, we are building out an anticipated budget for the development, management, and anticipated growth of “Good Food Fight” and a business and fundraising plan to meet those budget needs.

We are increasingly excited about the potential for “Good Food Fight” to bridge a critical gap and engage communities of interested consumers in not only making positive personal choices, but in leveraging an informed citizenry into a powerful constituency for policy change.  Thank you for the critical grant support without which this idea would have remained where its been for several years—in our minds, lunchtime conversations, and desk drawers!

Kristin, Jen and Amy

   • Posted by Kristin Hyde on 12/23 at 10:12 AM

Food Fighting and Education

Friday, August 28, 2009

We heard about the McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs grant program and the light bulb went on.  In our shared conference room, light filtering through the windows and casting shadows across the table, we tossed ideas around for our dream-site.  What would we build, if we could?  How would we change the scope of media around the good food movement? 

Putting words to paper, we crafted out ultimate vision for a clever way to begin shifting food-related policy in this country.  Three minds, coming together, with a common goal of turning food consumers into food citizens.  Good Food Strategies & Go Go Green Garden share an office space in Seattle. Jen & I founded Good Food Strategies five years ago with a mission of helping a wide array of partners - from farmers to nonprofits to government to food businesses to philanthropic foundations - take this emerging “good food movement” to the next level.  We work to educate and engage consumers and policymakers with the goal of creating a food system that ensures healthy farms and people. Amy runs GoGo Green Garden, planting edible gardens for people in their backyards. She also founded Urban Garden Share - a website dedicated to matching gardeners with garden space - cooks, and writes about food.  Together, with our activism and Amy’s passion for seasonal whole foods, we have long felt what’s needed is a concerted effort to tap into the growing consumer interest in food. 

We believe food impacts our health and the earth.  Educating people on where their food comes from and how it was produced is a smart way to engage people in understanding the issues at stake when they make food choices.  With our website, The Good Food Fight, we intend to take everyday home cooks interested in supporting a sustainable food system, and turn them into “food citizens” whose choices and actions can influence both the marketplace and the policy arena.  We think “Good Food Fight” will be a dynamic tool for educating and engaging consumers to accomplish this goal and are working now to determine the scope, content and functions of this site. 

Ideas welcome!

Kristin, Jen and Amy

   • Posted by Kristin Hyde on 08/28 at 02:58 PM