How Good Ideas Spread

Shedding more light on Light City Baltimore and food waste.

Vivid Sydney display.
Vivid Sydney display, the inspiration for Light City Baltimore.

On my train ride down to Washington, D.C., to attend PCMA’s Visionary Awards dinner last week, I took a look at Amtrak’s Arrive magazine — and read two articles that add interesting dimensions to two of our own recent online stories. 

Chris Durso wrote about experiencing Light City Baltimore earlier this month, a seven-day arts, music, and ideas festival launched by Baltimore’s city arts council. Little did I know that the inspiration for the event came from the other side of the globe. According to the Arrive article, Brooke Hall, CEO of a Baltimore creative agency, was scrolling through Facebook one night when she came across images of sites in Sydney, Australia, lit up in color for its Vivid Sydney celebration.

After doing some research, Hall found out that light festivals are popular in Europe and thought, why not Baltimore? She persuaded the city arts council to bring the Vivid Sydney creative director to Baltimore in March 2014 to see if something similar could be created there. And two years later, Baltimore put its own spin on the concept, not only lighting up its Inner Harbor, but as Hall said, transforming visitors’ perceptions of Baltimore as well.

The other Arrive article that struck me was about a movement among chefs to eliminate food waste. The story paralleled our Rock & Wrap It Up’s food-recovery program piece in that they both address the problem of good food winding up in landfills. (We’ve written about eliminating food waste in other articles as well.)  In a 2012 report for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Dana Gunders estimated that Americans waste 40 percent of the food produced in this country, and throw away about 25 percent of the food that we buy. Food leftovers

Last spring, Dan Barber turned his Blue Hill restaurant in New York City’s Greenwich Village into a pop-up, where well-known chefs cooked meals from food that was “destined for the dumpster”— to a packed house and rave reviews, the article said. Now a year later, Barber assigns a team of cooks at another of his restaurants to create a new dish around the scraps left over from their stations every week. That pop-up experience, Barber told Arrive, turned being mindful about waste into an obsession.

I’d love to know if chefs at convention centers and event venues are equally obsessive about food waste. We plan on following up on that — stay tuned!


Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.