Saturday, October 5, 2013

Food Questions Asked by 70 x 7 The Meal - Your Thoughts?

Tonight we had the extreme honor to participate in the celebration of thirty years of the Mural Arts program here in Philadelphia. Our city mural arts program is second to none and a model for other cities. The celebration of this important milestone took the form of a "70 x 7" dinner installation as have been carried out in many locations around the world by the artists Lucy & Jorge Orta ( This was Meal XXXIV.  This was an "invitation only" event which led to a very diverse group of Philadelphians sitting down to dinner. I stood up once and looked out over the lines and lines of tables and people and I admit, I felt a tear.  This is my city - and it was well represented in the wide array of folks at those long tables.  Wonderful. 

So, to say it was an incredible event would be an understatement.  Nine hundred people dining, debating & meeting and greeting in the shadow of Philadelphia's beautiful City Hall. We enjoyed a family style meal of four dishes using heirloom vegetables prepared in delicious ways by our fabulous local chef Marc Vetri.  The topics discussed during the meal focused on heirloom vegetables and the loss of variety in food (i.e. 100 years ago there were 400 kinds of tomatoes; sadly, there are now 79), as well as how to get good fresh food to people in a local, seasonal and sustainable manner, and other challenging issues pertinent to the work of feeding us all.

Below are some pictures of the beautiful tables (as I mentioned, dinner was served for 900, the largest 70 x 7 meal in the world), the gorgeous and delicious food, and the two beautiful plates we were gifted with as attendees. We will cherish those limited edition plates! 

I am personally still buzzing from the event - and suspect I will be for awhile.  That said, I am interested in how other folks would respond to the questions that we were sent to consider before the event. We discussed these questions during dinner and we recorded our answers, which were then collected by the event staff. 

Here are the questions we tackled at the dinner. How would you have responded?

1.  What are the major food issues facing the world today?
2.  What are you willing to sacrifice in food quality or safety for convenience?
3.  How much diversity in the food supply is good for the environment and for people?
4.  What are the benefits and drawbacks to heirloom foods vs. genetically modified foods (GMOs)?
5.  Should food labeling be required to identify whether foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?

What are your thoughts?  Thank you!

Oh - the picture at the end is just a shot of the most beautiful City Hall in America. Thanks. 


  1. 1. GMOs. Uh, remember, you don't fool with Mother Nature.
    2. Eyes cast downward; organic. I don't like to, but I will forgo organic sometimes, but not for convenience. Instead for price and, sorry, I have a rough time doing without citrus and other non-local produce. IF I eat meats, I'll do my best to buy free range, local meat.
    3. I don't have an answer for that...
    4. With my little knowledge of gardening, I'm guessing that drawbacks, if any, to heirlooms would be their vulnerability to disease and pests. Drawbacks to GMO? See #1.
    5. Absolutely! I want to know what I'm about to put in my body. The more people know, the more likely they are to make better choices.

    1. You know walking around the supermarket today - after last night's event - really impacted me. I'll be writing more about that in the very near future.