Food Access

Murdock Mind, Body, Spirit – Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal

July 21, 2021  • Aspen Community Programs

Featuring Mark Bittman, author of “Animal, Vegetable, Junk” and founder of The Bittman Project, in conversation with Kathleen Finlay, president of the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming and founder of Pleiades. Bittman will explore how history has been shaped by humanity’s appetite for food, farmland, and the money behind it all—and how a better future is within reach.

Virtual event


Mark Bittman has been a leading voice in global food culture and policy for more than three decades. He has written 30 books, including the “How to Cook Everything” series and “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health … For Good.” The New York Times called his latest book — “Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food from Sustainable to Suicidal” — “epic and engrossing.” Bittman spent three decades at the Times, where he created “The Minimalist,” had a five-year stint as the Sunday Magazine’s lead food writer and became the country’s first weekly opinion writer at a major publication to concentrate on food. He continues to produce books in the “How to Cook Everything” series, the general cooking bible for three generations, and has hosted or been featured in four television series, including the Emmy-winning Showtime series about climate change “Years of Living Dangerously” and “Spain … On the Road Again,” with Gwyneth Paltrow. Bittman’s 2007 Ted Talk, “What’s wrong with what we eat,” has been viewed five million times. He is a fellow at Yale and is on the faculty of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. He has received six James Beard Awards, four IACP Awards, and numerous other honors. Bittman is also the editor-in-chief of The Bittman Project, a newsletter and website focusing on all aspects of food, from political to delicious.

Kathleen Finlay, the president of the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, is a leader in the environmental movement and has focused on the intersection between health, agriculture, and the environment for most of her career. She has also been instrumental in organizing women who work for environmental progress. In her role at Glynwood, she leads work to promote local and regenerative agriculture, train young farmers and other food professionals to work within a thriving regional food system, and increase access to regional food, among other things. Previously, Kathleen was a director of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, where she led programs to educate communities about the correlation between human health and the global environment. She produced two award-winning documentaries (“Once Upon a Tide,” and “Healthy Humans, Healthy Oceans”) and co-authored the book, Sustainable Healthcare (Wiley, 2013). Kathleen is also the founder of Pleiades, a membership organization working to advance women’s leadership in the sustainability movement. Kathleen holds a degree in Biology from UC Santa Cruz and a Master of Science in Science Journalism from Boston University. She has authored numerous reports and publications and acts as an advisor to various environmental and community organizations, including Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s Agricultural Advisory Board and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Agricultural Working Group.