For all of my adult
life, I have been eating and drinking to make a
difference -- cognizant of the power that each act,
every purchase and all of us have to change the
world in simple but profound ways.
It was not enough
for me, in college, to find a legitimate way around
the drinking age by writing about wine and food:
I had to experience my subjects first-hand. And
so I trawled for crayfish in the bayou; fished for
baby eels under a full Basque moon; made Calvados
and Cognac; pulled on barnyard boots and learned
butter-making from the inside. It was less about
food and wine and travel than about sharing culture
and breaking bread with growers, makers, bakers
When I ran Friends
of Wine/Les Amis du Vin and later started Wine
Enthusiast magazine, I was often treated to
six-million-calorie tours of the world. My favorite
saying from that era: "It's not what's on the
table, but what's on the chairs…." I
tried to make sure that the tasting society and
publications were not just news and reviews, but
that they elevated our senses and celebrated people
the earthy org sprung straight from those days.
I had been lucky enough to force-feed geese in
Some children had been too deprived to see farm
animals even in books. So I started a series of
FarmDay field trips that had city folk from all
walks of life tending animals, planting seeds, harvesting
food and flowers -- learning, literally, what does
and does not grow on trees. For farmers, we made
direct connections to consumers, markets and restaurateurs…taking
deep and personal part in a best-of-local movement
that helped bring more kinds of apples to market
and meant a whole lot of exchange between PEOPLE.
My realizations from that experience: In truth,
we feed each other.
I founded WorldWise
marketing and events in part as a response to FarmHands'
popularity at home and abroad. I was able to help
the Greek Trade Commission remake the image of Mediterranean
wine and food in the U.S., and later started Foods
and Wines of Israel -- encouraging foreign investment
in that country, and planning for peace feasts in
which a mile-long table would bridge the borders
between Israel and neighboring lands. I traveled
the former Soviet Union sharing food and farming
experiences and skills, as well as talk of free
markets and lots of local wine.
I taught math and reading to so-called “learning disabled”
children, I took my love of food and PEOPLE along
-- learning that a little interest can go a long
way. A child who might hate math could nonetheless
love and learn from pizza (itself an artful instructor
of measurements and multiplication). A child who
resisted English could usually be lured to “run
a magazine” about their favorite subject,
and, in that capacity, to assign, edit, interview
and write. I knew I had taught them well when they
realized they were teaching me.
were followed by great adventures and serial start-ups
in the entertainment, education and new media fields,
and by the founding of Vergant
as a vehicle for creating pro-social programs, products
and marketing campaigns imbued with vibrancy, impact
to Make a Difference is one such project
-- pulled from so much I have cared about and loved
over the years, and made even more urgent and relevant
in the aftermath of 9.11.
to Make a Difference marked a return to my first
industry at what I strongly felt was its finest
hour. It represented my vow not to return "business
as usual." Despite...or perhaps because of...unprecedented
tragedy on our own soil, communities had drawn
closer, our inter-relatedness was clear, and I
knew that my work would reflect these things in
inspired and ongoing ways.
So I was delighted
when all these factors and more came together in
the form of The
Senses Bureau -- dedicated to the celebration,
education and cross-pollination of our senses,
and designed to
bring more joy and meaning to our learning, work,
health, loves and lives.
For every good reason and in every
sense, I hope you will join me.
Warmly and looking forward,