Just two years ago TABLE FOR TWO operated solely in Japan. Now there exist programs in 11 countries across Asia, North America and Europe. I guess it’s no surprise, since there’s nothing “Japanese” about the mission or concept.
But laid out like this (below is our inaugural global newsletter, to be published monthly), I have to admit it’s pretty exciting!
I attended a TEDx event yesterday, titled “Changing the Way We Eat.” There were some great innovations (e.g. crowd-sourcing technology connecting restaurant ingredients to their sources) and animated and entertaining performances (e.g. by an amazing 6th grade teacher in the South Bronx that built an edible wall with his students). I also saw – for at least the 3rd or 4th time – this Jamie Oliver TED Talk. It inspires me every time.
But what left the deepest impression on me was the final talk of the day, by Gary Oppenheimer, founder of AmpleHarvest.org. Over 50 million Americans live in food insecure homes and many rely on local food pantries. But the amount of food is often insufficient and we all know that food drives (which supply the pantries) only take non-perishable items such as canned food.
At the same time, over 40 million Americans have home gardens and at harvest time have too much fresh veggies and fruit for them to use. Much of their produce is thrown away or left to rot, even after sharing with their friends and neighbors. AmpleHarvest.org educates and encourages gardeners to donate their excess harvest to local pantries, providing fresh produce that will help to feed the needy in the community. The gardeners and beneficiaries both know that the food is grown and is benefitting someone else in their own neighborhood.
The beauty of organizations like this is the innovation to create real value (fresh, tasty and healthy produce for the hungry, an improved community bond, and less waste) out of nothing.
As January rolls around, many of us start the new year with our annual resolutions. Weight loss and associated behavioral changes are one of the most common resolutions. Shows like The Biggest Loser present some impressive results in a relatively short span of time, but research shows that in many cases the lost weight is regained soon afterwards.
In addition, a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine (highlighted in a New York Times article) found that weight loss in obese individuals lead to hormonal changes that make it difficult to keep the weight off. Although further studies are needed, it suggests that there exist physiological hurdles that make it difficult – once we become overweight – to lose the weight.
Of course, there is much left unexplained in obesity and weigh loss research. It is still unquestioned that controlling your caloric intake and exercising regularly are key to maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight for those that are overweight. And now there is even more reason to make sure our children eat healthy, as staying healthy – and maintaining a healthy body weight – is much easier than losing the pounds later in life.
Happy New Year! A few hours after sending out our year-end newsletter, it quickly became obsolete as the Sushi Chef Institute in Torrance, CA signed up to become our 25th U.S. partner and our first in the greater LA area!
From the left: TFT USA Co-President Fumi Tosu, Chef Andy Matsuda (named “one of the 100 most respected Japanese” by Newsweek Japan in 2007), and TFT USA LA Chapter Head Hide Kojima
In front of the Sushi Chef Institute with Ms. Setsu Matsuda, a super-enthusiastic TFT supporter!
With a student and a young professional that came out to the launch (we forgot to take a group picture when everyone was there…)