#5 A Recipe for Innovation

Part 1

“We follow those who lead, not because we have to but because we want to”

I don’t like being told what to do, and I think it’s pretty safe to say most people don’t either. There are times I find a little comfort in having decisions made for me, like ordering a meal off a long menu, but when it comes down to those big, possibly life-changing choices (like applying for college…ughhh), it feels good to have control over the situation. And when it comes to what I believe, I don’t like to let rational thought get in the way of a gut instinct. In his TEDTalk, Sinek emphasizes that “we follow those who lead, not because we have to but because we want to”. If a company, an organization, or really anyone with a cause, provides reasoning and facts in their favor, no matter how valid or convincing, there will always be a part of us that rejects it just a little, because who are they to tell us what to buy or support or believe? In order to truly support something, we have to believe in its purpose (its why) rather than its what).

Part 2

It wasn’t very hard to find innovative approaches to Food Justice on the internet. In one Google search alone, I found one article titled “Five Innovative Solutions from ‘Food Desert’ Activists” and one titled “Five Innovative Solutions to Food Deserts” with ten completely different “solutions”! These articles highlighted efforts across the United States to help bring food justice to vulnerable communities. Two endeavors mentioned stood out to me as particularly original and sustainable.

LA Kitchen

This organization recovers food from local farmers and wholesale food companies that otherwise would have been discarded. They train men and women who are unemployed, particularly people who have just gotten out of prison, to provide healthy meals for fellow citizens. The LA Kitchen recognizes that “hunger isn’t about food”, and they work hard to address the root causes of poverty. They are interested in long-term solutions to food insecurity to create a future of food justice. Additionally, the LA Kitchen has the motto “neither food nor people should ever go to waste”. This does a really good job of focusing on their purpose (their why) rather than their what.

Minneapolis Health Corner Store Initiative

The city of Minneapolis has enacted the Minneapolis Health Corner Store Initiative which requires all corner and convenience stores to stock a certain amount of fresh fruit on their shelves. In places where there are no grocery stores and it would be difficult to build, and keep, large supermarkets, I think this is a great way to guarantee fresh, healthy food where it can be easily accessed.

Part 3


Food is essential to our survival. I believe that it should not be something bought or earned; it should be a right. Everyone, regardless of their social or economic status, deserves equal access to affordable, fresh food.


Although food justice will be difficult to achieve, I believe that even little steps can make a big difference toward a bright future. For example, I think it would be great to start a program like the LA Kitchen in Vermont that “repurposes” food. In other words, it takes advantage of fresh food that would otherwise go to waste by using it to prepare meals for those in need. This makes a lot of sense for the state because there is no shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables in Vermont, it is only a matter of how and where the food is distributed. Additionally, I think it would be great require all corner and convenience stores to stock a certain amount of fresh fruit on their shelves, as they do in Minneapolis. Other ideas I came across are bus stop farmer’s markets and community gardens.


Creating Food Justice in Vermont.

My Pitch

Everyone needs food to survive, so let’s give everyone equal access to food.

Featured image by Dan Gold

Perroni, Eva, et al. “Five Innovative Solutions From.” Food Tank, 27 Nov. 2016, foodtank.com/news/2013/05/five-innovative-solutions-from-food-desert-activists/.

“5 Innovative Solutions to Food Deserts.” Shareable, www.shareable.net/blog/5-innovative-solutions-to-food-deserts.

“L.A. Kitchen | Revealing the Power of Food.” LA Kitchen, www.lakitchen.org/.


6 Responses to “#5 A Recipe for Innovation

  • Emily Rinkema
    6 years ago

    I love the Simon Sinek video. The idea that we follow because we want to rather than have to is powerful–I think that there are times, however, when we follow because it’s easier or will lead to a desirable outcome unrelated to the actual action (i.e. a paycheck or other external reward). But when we truly believe in a cause or a leader, then the following becomes so much more active and effective. So how do you inspire followers? How do you get people to care about your idea, your topic, your concern when there are so so so many things to care about that are competing for our attention? You might be interested in the book Made to Stick by the Heath brothers. They look at how to get people to change their minds or act or become active followers–and how to get your ideas to “stick”. One thing they write about is making the change simple. There needs to be some small, actionable, concrete thing that they can do, otherwise the issue gets lost in all of the other issues out there.

    I am so enjoying your thinking, Katherine!


  • I have really enjoyed this topic from the get-go. The whole notion that food should be a given right rather than a privilege. But something you wrote early on keeps nagging me:

    “My dad owns an apple orchard, and sells his fruit and cider at Farmers Markets and grocery stores. So, of course, I had to ask: “If food is a human right, why don’t you give your apples out for free?”. To this he had no answer.”

    I am not convinced you have stumbled on the right why yet. At least not to me. There is something you asked your dad that makes me think this. Why should food be a privilege, and not housing, education, healthcare, and the rest of the list … Why only food? What is the driving innate reasoning that will bring others to this notion? What will make your father give up his apples? (or a portion of them) What will make food shelves or other places where food is given out a place that truly does transform lives?

    I am so looking forward to hearing your TED talk and watching you ignite the room. The key must be in the why.

    • Hi Moira! Thank you so much for your comment! I am glad you brought up that quote from my first post. Food justice is such a broad and complex topic, and after writing my last post and having some great conversations in the Google Hangout, I realized that in order to really make change, I need to focus on something a little more specific rather than getting overwhelmed by all of the different directions I could go in. I have decided to concentrate on how programs like SNAP are creating food justice, how they may be able to improve, and how Vermont farmers can contribute. This is still kind of broad, but after reflecting on my mind map I realized this is the area I am most interested in. Also, it addresses how farmers like my dad may be able to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need.

      I have also been thinking about my audience; do I want to address farmers, policy makers, SNAP educators, or others? I am still unsure, but I will continue to think about this over the next week.

  • Anna Buteau
    6 years ago

    Katherine!! As an Official Blog Reader I read your blog posts and I love them!! I really like your idea and I like your asparagus drawings :)))

    • Thank you Anna (AKA Official Blog Reader)!! I’m glad you like my asparagus drawings, I spent a long time on them 🙂

  • Hi Emily! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I searched for the book you mentioned, and found an excerpt of the introduction. After reading only a few sentences, I was hooked. Or, I should say, it “stuck”. In the introduction, the authors described how a man named Art Silverman convinced thousands of Americans, movie theaters, and popcorn companies, to stop eating, selling, and producing popcorn made with coconut oil, which contains over the recommended daily value of saturated fat in ONE serving. This fact is unsettling, but it can also seem somewhat meaningless when written on a sign or the back of a box without context. In order to demonstrate to the public the high amount of saturated fat in movie popcorn in a way that would “stick”, Silverman laid out a buffet of bacon, eggs, a Big Mac, fries, and steak next to a medium bowl of movie popcorn. He went on to explain that there was more saturated fat in the bowl of popcorn than in all the other foods combined!

    Silverman was successful because he exposed the problem in a very tangible way. He allowed people to relate to the issue by comparing the popcorn to other foods they could see, and had probably also eaten at some point in their lives. This also made me think of how I learn in school. This morning in my biology class, my teacher went through a powerpoint about enzymes and reactions and some other things that I don’t quite remember because they didn’t STICK. I am a visual learner, so I don’t tend to remember very much information that is written on a screen or talked at me. After reading the excerpt of “Made to Stick”, I began to think of other ways I could learn about enzymes effectively. Building an enzyme, maybe. Or thinking about how the enzymes in my body affect what I do on a daily basis. Either way, something I could see or relate to. And this is exactly how Art Silverman changed the movie popcorn industry.

    I just wrote a lot without addressing my topic specifically, but I think that those ideas really helped me think about how I want to move forward with my topic. First of all, after having some great conversations in the Google Hangout today, I have decided to narrow down my topic a little (food justice is very broad and overwhelming, and there are so many directions to go!) to specifically how programs like SNAP are creating food justice, how they may be able to improve, and how Vermont farmers can contribute. Of course, this is still pretty broad, but after reflecting on my mind map I realized this is the area I am most interested in. I think that to help make my topic “stick”, it would be great to create some sort of visual that people can really grasp. Just like Silverman compared a day’s worth of food with a single portion of popcorn, it might be interesting to place the average food items bought by a family in one day with SNAP benefits next to the food items they did not buy using SNAP benefits. I wonder if those bought WITHOUT SNAP benefits would greatly outnumber those bought with them. Also, it would be interesting to compare how much fresh produce farmers actually sell with that they have to get rid of, and see how the “wasted” produce could possibly be saved to give to those in need.

    Thank you so much for suggesting “Made to Stick”. As you can see, it inspired a lot of thought and reflection!

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