Weekly Picks: Building Equity Across the Food System

Organizers, executives, chefs, and restaurant owners come together across HRN’s network this week to discuss issues of fairness - from workers’ rights to representative CPG brands. 

Tech Bites continues its delivery series with a look at growing efforts to protect drivers and bikers on the job. On In the Sauce listen to an interview with LeShaun Smedley, who aims to build a more diverse supplier base for Kroger grocery stories. Hear from a cattle rancher and activist about President Biden’s attempts to rein in monopolies in the agricultural sector, and get the perspective of two California restaurant owners working to make a positive impact on restaurants and their surrounding communities.

Tech Bites Episode 243: Delivery Series: Deliveristas Unidos: Delivery workers created Los Deliveristas Unidos in 2020, demanding a living wage, essential protection from theft, violence, wage theft, and safety hazards. Host Jenifer Leuzzi talks with Glendy Tsitouras, worker’s rights organizer at the Worker’s Justice Project (WJP), and Juan Carlos Huerta, delivery driver and member of Los Deliveristas Unidos. This is episode two, of a three-part series that examines the current ecosystem of apps, restaurants, delivery workers, and consumers, seeking to shine a light on the real-world costs of delivery and convenience.

In the Sauce Episode 129: Building with Kroger: LeShaun Smedley is the Manager of Corporate Supplier Diversity for the Kroger Company. He leads the effort to build a more diverse, equitable supplier base for the $121 billion grocery company that has over 2800 stores with 11 million customers a day. On this episode of ITS, LeShaun tells Ali how Kroger works, what we can bring to the table as emerging brands, what homework we need to do before engaging with Kroger, and why diversity is a massive strategic driver for Kroger.

What Doesn’t Kill You Episode 343: Biden Takes Aim at Consolidation and Monopolies: Mike Callicrate, activist and cattle rancher comes back to talk about the executive order signed by President Biden that addresses long standing grievances in the animal agriculture sector, among others. Included in the executive order are measures to address pricing transparency, labeling, enforcement and rewrite of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

Inside Julia’s Kitchen Episode 131: Meet Nancy Oakes: Host Todd Schulkin welcomes San Francisco chef and restaurateur Nancy Oakes. They discuss how chefs can foster positive kitchen culture, tipping versus no tipping and the value of hospitality. Plus, Nancy shares her Julia Moment.

Why Food? Episode 176: Reem Assil: Arab Street Food, California Style: Join us for a conversation with renowned chef and activist Reem Assil. Reem is a Palestinian-Syrian chef based in Oakland, CA, and owner of the nationally acclaimed Reem’s California in Oakland. The restaurant is inspired by Arab street corner bakeries and the vibrant communities that surround them.

Reem has garnered an array of top accolades in the culinary world, including back-to-back James Beard Semifinalist nods for Best Chef: West. She is a graduate of the competitive food business incubator program, La Cocina, business leadership program Centro Community Partners, and Oakland-based business accelerator program ICA: Fund Good Jobs. 

Before dedicating herself to a culinary career, Reem spent over a decade as a community and labor organizer, building leadership in workers and residents to fight for living wages, affordable housing, and a voice in their jobs and their neighborhoods. Reem sits at the intersection of her three passions: food, community, and social justice. She uses food to invoke the central virtue of her Arab culture ⁠— hospitality ⁠— to build a strong, resilient, and connected community.