Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hilary Baum- Just One of the Influential Foodies Against Fracking Effecting Energy Policy

Back in the day, let's call "the day" circa summer 2012,  Chefs for the Marcellus founder Hilary Baum acknowledged that “We all cook with gas. We all use gas,” , according to an op-ed in the Daily News. The op-ed was about a Chefs for the Marcellus fundraiser and the headline read quite aptly  "Look Who's Cooking With Gas". The op-ed was even more aptly subtitled "From an anti-fracking group, hypocrisy of the first order". An excerpt from the op-ed follows:

"The only thing more delicious than the menu was the irony, because many if not most of those dishes were cooked over the bright blue flame of natural gas."

Hilary Baum wears more than one chef's hat in the fight against fracking, photographed with Bill McKibben, via a screenshot of Chefs for the Marcellus facebook page

According to the Hill, influential foodie Hilary Baum  of Chef's for the Marcellus, an organization whose website is no longer functional, is functional, also believes that public lands very far from the Marcellus shale should ban fracking, as in lots of places out west. The recent Hill opinion piece was about "The Protect Our Public Lands Act", a bill introduced into the current Congress that would ban fracking on all public lands. Unsurprisingly Ms. Baum, like many anti-fracking organizers or founders of organizations, leads or plays a role in more than one group. In other words she appears to be one citizen with extraordinary influence. 

The American Sustainable Business Council lists Ms. Baum's
  background as including "artisan food production, marketing, restaurant procurement, farmers’ market operations, and community supported agriculture," which leads me to believe that energy markets, natural gas production and distribution, and land management by federal agencies in the United States aren't necessarily her area of expertise. Apparantly this lack of expertise is no big whoop for the American Sustainable Business Council as she is credited in the Hill as directing their "Rethinking Fracking campaign".  

Last summer, lifestyle journalist Betsy Andrews, the former executive editor of Saveur magazine now the current editor at large of Organic Lifestyle magazine, gave a very big thumbs up to a Chefs for the Marcellus benefit per a link provided by RVD communications on social media. "Fracktails" were the attraction at this event at the Back Forty. RVD describes themselves as a  boutique hospitality PR and social media firm based in Brooklyn with "close ties to the media elite" in New York City on their website. I will leave it up for interpretation exactly what that might mean.

How does or did the influential foodie position on fracking square with NY farmers' position, on the subject? Well according to an article in from December 2013, it is at odds with the NY farm bureau the very people in NY state who grow some of the food that is cooked in restaurants. "NY farmers reject anti-hydrofracking position at Farm Bureau meeting" was the headline then.  

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