Hungry New York: A Night To Remember with Carolyn Steel

Last week I was invited to “Hungry New York” an event bringing together local food producers, brilliant eco-thinkers, green designers, eco-architects, land-use lawyers, and food writers. The goal of this gathering was to identify, encourage and support the small scale innovators that are prototyping models to improve our community’s food systems; the folks connecting thinking with doing and feeding. Organized by the Urban Green Counsel, the event was gorgeous and I loved the table settings of Brooklyn raised herbs and glass baking dishes filled with raw root veggies for snacking.

Held at the famous Sex In The City location City Bakery, the event honored British author Carolyn Steel who has written the brilliant “Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives.”

Now I’ve read Michael Pollen, Mark Kurlansky, and Barbara Kingsolver’s books on eating locally, food politics, and the history of food and how we eat. They’re wonderful and I treasure their work.

Carolyn Steel’s book is different. Hungry City takes a historical look at how food production, manners, architecture, and urban planning have affected and created the city’s most humans live in today. It’s a fascinating work. With humor, intelligence, and sweet yet cleaver British wit, Steel uncovers remarkable archeology that illuminates how city’s work – and believe me, they wouldn’t work without a steady supply of food.

I had a chance to meet Carolyn and enjoyed the presentations from local farmers who are building roof-top farms throughout Brooklyn, as well as local celebrity and “locavore hero” Jimmy Carbone, proprietor of Jimmy’s 43. I’ve seen Jimmy at nearly every food event held in NYC in the last year, and his energy and positive support of local farmers and a sustainable food system is incredible.