June/July/August 2017: The Innovation Issue

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You can read the full “innovation” issue here. It also includes stories from Edible Manhattan, Edible Long Island and Edible East End. Use this map to find a hard copy near you, or better yet, subscribe here.

More than any app or gadget, the one thing that’s revolutionized how I eat is actually pretty simple. Learning to cook was truly disruptive (as the techies say), empowering me to maneuver the market, discern the quality of my ingredients, prepare better meals and appreciate others’ abilities that much more. It changed my life for good.

It’s facts like these that remind me that innovation comes in many forms and not always ones created by fledgling start-ups (although there’s potential there, too).

Consider Elizabeth G. Dunn’s story on buying sustainable seafood in New York City. She initially pitched me the idea with the hunch of profiling a sort-of Uber that must exist for this—right? Wrong. Turns out your local fishmonger’s probably your best bet and for good reason.

Rachel Nuwer’s story on breeding plants for flavor also proves the value of older ideas. She describes a return to optimizing fruits and vegetables for taste that’s been largely lost since the food system industrialized after World War II. Now scientists at Cornell and chefs like Dan Barber are helping grow new varieties that’ll ideally have us craving them from the ground up.

Jesse Hirsch also chronicles how chefs are charting new territory by making cannabis, a pungent ingredient, more than just palatable, while associate editor Alicia Kennedy shares how some chefs are straight up leaving the kitchen to apply their knowledge elsewhere. Alicia also goes back inside a commissary kitchen to discover one cook’s plant-based hot dogs that pack a punch. These veggie dogs are made at Industry City, a sprawling Sunset Park property housing some of the city’s most talented makers (food and otherwise), which Matthew Karkutt guides us through.

Innovation comes in many forms and not always ones created by fledgling start-ups (although there’s potential there, too).

Other meaningful innovations target the community level. Urban farm Harlem Grown literally and figuratively breaks ground by cultivating their students’ professional and gardening skills while over in Fort Greene, Genspace promotes science literacy with classes on everything from CRISPR technology to kefir-making. We also go inside Brooklyn borough president Eric Adam’s office-turned-kitchen (yes, it operates as both) to learn how his recently adopted vegan diet has inspired him to promote healthy eating at the grassroots.

We do dip our toe into the more obviously tech-fueled future by deconstructing the local vertical farming techniques that might already be supplying your daily greens and high-end mushrooms. Better if we all know what that means, right?  

And lastly, I am honored to have Liz Clayman join our team as the guest photo editor for this issue. She helped us realize each of these stories and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to have her. She deserves a nice, stiff drink.

Wishing you and yours a vibrant summer,
Ariel Lauren Wilson

P.S. Taste the very near food future with us at the second annual Food Loves Tech on November 3–4 at Industry City. Early birds get the reduced ticket price.

Ariel Lauren Wilson

Lauren is the former editor-in-chief of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn.