Articles / The Best Gift You Can Give Today? Better Food.


The Best Gift You Can Give Today? Better Food.

Published November 28, 2023

For “Giving Tuesday” we’ve got some ideas to help improve the way we all eat

Photo: Instagram/@glynwoodorg

Last week we introduced you to Mark’s newest cooking “course,” Mark Bittman’s Holiday Recipes You Should KnowThrough this Friday, you can get it for 30% off — just use code BLACKFRI at checkout. Here’s the link.

Coming out of Thanksgiving weekend, we’re bursting with gratitude — for our Bittman Project community, the ability to purchase and cook wonderful nutritious food, and the joy of eating with friends and family. The best way we know to demonstrate our appreciation is to offer something back.

On this Giving Tuesday, we extend heartfelt thanks to those of you who already donate time or money to improve the way we eat and care for our environment. And for everyone looking for a food-centric philosophy, publication, or organization to support, here are some ideas.

Photo: Instagram/@sweetthistlefarms

The Gift of Groceries

Regular readers know that we try to buy as much of our food as possible from local and regional producers and farmers markets. A couple of us subscribe — or “belong”— to a Community Supported Agriculture program, which are known as CSAs. When you gift a membership, you’re giving someone a set number of baskets (or boxes or bags) of fresh produce, eggs, chicken, and/or meat (like a fruit or olive oil club, only more practical). But most importantly, you’re investing in a small farm with a lump payment at the beginning of a growing season. That early financial support is crucial for many families and collectives who raise food.  Even if you don’t live in the country, chances are you live by a CSA. Local Harvest is the biggest resource to help you locate one near someone you love. If searching this database seems a tad messy, you can also try contacting your county extension offices or the office of a local farmers market. Then reward your research with your own CSA membership!

Photo courtesy Glynwood

Go Glynwood

Mark lives at the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, almost entirely because it’s run by his partner, Kathleen Finlay. Glynwood is a decades-old non-profit organization that’s “on a mission to create a more equitable food system in the Hudson Valley and beyond.” As worthy a cause as there is, especially if you’re a supporter of local food and farming. Start by exploring what Glynwood does here.

Soul Fire team members. Photo: Instagram/@soulfirefarm

Putting Fire and Soul Into Farming

Soul Fire Farm is an “Afro-Indigenous centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system. We raise and distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid.” There is no better target for giving dollars for people who want to fight racism in the food system and elsewhere. 

Navina Khanna, co-founder and executive director of HEAL. Photo: Instagram/@healfoodalliance

Join the Farm Bill Fight

HEAL Food Alliance describes itself as “a national multi-sector, multi-racial coalition of 55 organizations,” and is based on the utterly forward-thinking Platform for Real Food. There are a few different ways to support the group’s mission, though shaping the soon-to-expire Farm Bill working its way through Congress is the immediate focus

Photo: Instagram/@thelandinstitute

The Power of Roots

For a long-view approach to changing how we raise food, consider the “natural systems” agriculture work of The Land Institute. Founded in central Kansas in 1976, this organization of research scientists have set out to turn the way we grow and harvest the world’s major feed crops upside down. Literally.

Volunteers at The West Side Campaign Against Hunger. Photo: Instagram/@wscah_

Feed the Need

Food banks—large and small—dot the United States. The West Side Campaign Against Hunger is just one in New York City we support. To find and contribute to one where you live simply type “food banks near me” into your browser and prepare to be stunned. Until there is a time when the number of organizations that comes up is zero, let’s do what we can to make sure our neighbors don’t go hungry.

Volunteers at God’s Love We Deliver. Photo: Instagram/@godslovenyc

A Warm Embrace

If the idea of “food as medicine” resonates with you, then take a look at the longtime meal delivery programs provided by God’s Love We Deliver, a New York organization that brings nourishing meals to people suffering from serious illness. (Full disclosure: Mark sits on the group’s Culinary Council.)

Support Un-Fake Food News

Civil Eats is another non-profit we have long supported. Consider its journalistic coverage of global agriculture and policy issues a jumping off point to explore more causes and organizations to support this Giving Tuesday — and beyond.