Whew — the last few years sure have been seriously tough for a lot of us! The world is still dealing with COVID-19 and its repercussions. War, economic uncertainty, rising prices, and the intensifying impacts of climate change are contributing to food insecurity and the growing threat of famine.
In the face of these troubling developments, FRN’s mission feels more urgent and crucial than ever.
We focus both on what you can do to protect your health and the health of your loved ones, and also on the big picture. The good news is, as one prominent 2022 Harvard study found, the same food choices that are best for fighting heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses are also best for our planet. Each of us can shop, cook, and eat in ways that make us part of the solution on Planet Earth.
Thank you for standing with us and supporting our mission of healthy, ethical, and sustainable food for all as we navigate these changes together. It’s you and many others like you — individually and as part of our collective community — who give us the opportunity and clout to exert our influence for positive change.
In this post, we want to share some of what we’ve accomplished this year — and what gives us hope for the new year. And we want to start by telling you about two people.
Lives Changed by the Food Revolution
Lori wrote to let us know how FRN’s Healthy Heart Course changed her life. When she signed up, Lori was desperate to reverse the damage caused by a heart attack a few years earlier — and to heal from a sudden, heartbreaking loss. By following the guidance from our resident heart expert, Mimi Guarneri, MD, Lori reversed the damage to her heart, lost 26 pounds, normalized her once-stratospheric cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowered her blood pressure.
In her words: “I’m so excited to tell you all about my progress… Healthy Heart was just what I needed… I learned about the emotional, physical, and practical things I can do to care for my heart in everyday life. And it’s made a big difference!… I couldn’t be happier. My cardiologist, PCP, dentist, and counselor are impressed, too!”
We’re so proud of you, Lori! Way to take the information and inspiration and really act on it to achieve that heartening transformation!
And then there’s Susan, now 67 years young, who shared with us the impact that this year’s Food Revolution Summit had on her life. Sixty pounds overweight for much of her life, Susan was in pain and taking a lot of medications — with debilitating side effects. She suffered from brain fog, constant migraines, extreme foot pain, puffy eyes nearly swollen shut, and hands that were so swollen that she couldn’t bend her fingers.
Thanks to the (in her words) “incredible collection of well-educated, passionate speakers, doctors, authors, and scientists,” and to putting what she learned from them into action, Susan is now medication-free and pain-free. She lifts weights, runs, swims up to 30 laps every day, kayaks, skydives, and works a full-time job.
She writes, “I wish to heaven I could have all this to give to my adult children and grandchildren as a legacy for life… I can’t say enough about what it means to my life… I am a totally different person!”
Hope for the Future of Food
People like Lori and Susan inspire us. And not just because of their moving personal stories. They are also part of a broader movement for food, health, and justice that is beginning to shift the course of food history.
The pandemic and its fallout have been brutally challenging for many people, but there have also been a few silver linings. As it became clear that COVID-19 was far more dangerous to people with preexisting, chronic health conditions, many more people began to take a proactive interest in their health. We saw increased popularity of plant-based diets, explosive growth of meat and dairy alternatives, and consumption of more fresh produce compared to pre-pandemic years.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine destabilized the world’s food supply, putting hundreds of millions of people at risk of hunger. Yet like the pandemic, this tragedy, too, is prompting some people to focus on the positive: in this case, ways to make the global food system more resilient. A 2022 study published in Nature found that Europe could more than make up for the projected shortfalls by shifting to a more plant-based eating pattern.
Our Contributions to the Food Revolution in 2022
Caption: Food Revolution Network’s CEO, Ocean Robbins attends the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
In 2022, together with our team of 25+ staff, and thanks to you and our other 750,000+ members, we have:
- Published 100 articles on cutting-edge food and health topics, and more than 180 delicious new whole foods, plant-powered recipes, reaching more than four million unique readers on our website. In total, viewers visited pages on our site over 15 million times.
- Funded the planting of more than 100,000 organic fruit or nut trees in low-income communities, on behalf of products sold in 2022 — that will sequester more than 8,000 tons of carbon dioxide — as part of our collaboration with Trees for the Future. (More on this below.)
- Ocean participated in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, by invitation from Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. Sen. Booker, who chairs the Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research, pointed out that nearly $1 out of every $3 in the federal budget now goes toward health care spending, so encouraging healthier foods should be a top priority in the 2023 Farm Bill.
- Many of the policies FRN has been advocating for years were formally endorsed in the White House’s policy goals. This includes doubling the value of fruits and vegetables for SNAP (food stamp) recipients; funding “produce prescriptions” (so that doctors can prescribe fruits and vegetables to their patients as a treatment for certain conditions, and the costs can be covered by Medicare or insurance companies); and bringing more fresh fruits and vegetables into school meal programs.
- We grew our reach on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter by 29% over any previous year, reaching an average of more than 8.7 million people each month.
- Kicked off the year by launching the 14-Day Plant-Powered Accelerator, which has attracted more than 5,800 participants to date.
- Reached more than 289,000 participants with the 2022 Food Revolution Summit. (Day 1 of the 2022 Summit was the most popular, with Drs. William Li, Joel Kahn, and Michael Klaper talking with John about How Food Can Help You Heal.)
- Launched our Tackling Type 2 Masterclass and course with Brenda Davis, RD, and helped over 45,000 people improve their blood sugar balance.
- Shared the award-winning, solution-inspiring film The Need To Grow with more than 134,000 people.
- Helped another 3,300 people implement a healthy eating lifestyle with our Plant-Powered & Thriving course, and 48,000 in the related Food for Health Masterclass.
- Reached over 62,000 people with our Healthy Heart Masterclass and 2,700 people in the Healthy Heart course with leading cardiologist Mimi Guarneri, MD.
- Created and provided the Brain Breakthroughs Masterclass, taught by leading neurologists Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, to 55,000 people, and shared their Healthy Brain course with more than 2,100 people.
- Shared the awe-inspiring film Fantastic Fungi with more than 143,000 people.
- Created 53 Action of the Week videos, 13 expert interviews, 318 fabulous recipes, and held twice-monthly live member events (Coaching and Culinary Q&A, and “In the Kitchen with Nichole”) with our WHOLE Life Club community, which has grown to more than 9,500 active members. (Shameless plug: Find out more about WHOLE Life Club and how to join here.)
- Reached over 15,000 people with our new Plant-Powered Playbook and Mini-Masterclass.
- Launched our Unlocking Longevity course featuring John Robbins — with more than 16,000 people registering for the course and the Mini-Masterclass in December of 2022 alone.
As Lori’s and Susan’s stories remind us, these statistics aren’t just numbers; they represent real people who are experiencing dramatic improvements in their health and well-being. We hear accounts of healing and transformation almost every day. No wonder we’re inspired to continue our mission with dedication and enthusiasm.
A Heartwarming “Trees for the Future” Story
Caption: Trees for the Future farmer, Bassirou Seck and his family
In that spirit, I want to share a story behind those trees that FRN and our supporters helped Trees for the Future plant in low-income communities around the world.
Bassirou Seck is a farmer from Kaffrine, Senegal, who four years ago found himself farming on unhealthy soil with little to show for it. His harvests were unpredictable and meager at best, and every year the yields became worse and worse.
Determined to change his future, Bassirou joined Trees for the Future’s Forest Garden Training Program in 2018. He learned how to use regenerative agroforestry to improve his soil health, diversify his crops, and generate additional income.
The impact of Bassirou’s newfound knowledge on his land has been stunning. He now has more than 2,000 trees that form the canopy of a thriving “forest garden,” providing shade for crops, keeping moisture in the soils, and delivering a host of nutritional and other benefits. Composting has allowed him to improve his soil organically, so he’s no longer dependent on expensive synthetic fertilizers. With his diversified harvest of fresh vegetables, including tomatoes and eggplants, Bassirou is able to feed his family and even help out others when they are sick.
Every time anyone buys a product of any size from FRN, we make a contribution to enable Trees for the Future to fund the planting of an organic fruit or nut tree in a low-income community. And together with Trees for the Future, we’re doing a lot more than just planting trees that provide foliage and suck carbon out of the atmosphere. We’re also helping farmers like Bassirou to heal their land, secure their economic future, and to provide nutritious food to their families and their communities. (Find out more about Trees for the Future, and how you can chip in, here.)
Most Popular Food Revolution Network Blog Posts Published in 2022
With more than 15 million blog pages viewed in 2022, these were FRN’s most popular new posts of the year.
- How to Make Healthy Smoothie Recipes That Are Nutritious & Delicious!
- Healthy Morning Drinks to Start Your Day Off Right
- What Is Your Poop Telling You? A Guide to Healthy Bowel Habits
- Ordering Your Own Lab Tests: A Guide to Taking Control of Your Health
- 5 Common Mistakes Plant-Based Eaters Make and How to Avoid Them
Most Popular Food Revolution Network Recipes
In 2021 we were surprised by our top recipe, considering that it’s an ingredient rather than a dish. But our Super Simple Homemade Date Paste has proven itself a perennial winner, taking the top spot for the second year in a row. Did I hear someone say “dynasty”? Now, we’re trying to beat it with every new recipe we create!
Not everything stayed the same, though. Breaking into the leaderboard were three smoothie recipes — so keep those blenders handy!
Our most popular recipes for 2022 were:
- Super Simple Homemade Date Paste
- Blueberry Ginger Smoothie
- Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Smoothie
- Hearty and Healing Lentil Burgers
- Homemade Kimchi
- Morning Mocha Smoothie
- Breakfast Cauliflower Lentil Kitchari
- Everyday Lentil Lunch
- Harvest Grain Breakfast Bowl
- Broccoli and Tomato Pasta Bake
Gratitude Goes Both Ways
We’ve heard from so many of you about how our articles, recipes, programs, and courses have improved your lives. We are humbled by that gratitude, and never take it for granted.
And this is why we want to end this review by sharing how grateful we are to you. Each and every supporter of FRN — contributors, partners, members, customers, readers, blog post commenters, article sharers, and healthy eaters — helps further our mission of healthy, ethical, and sustainable food for all.
And in a tough year, we pulled together one more time to face some of the most difficult challenges of our time. War, pandemics, climate chaos, economic uncertainty, and food insecurity on a mass scale can feel like giant, even insurmountable problems.
But as we’ve seen, there are things each of us can do to bring about a world in which healthy food is accessible to all, a world in which the process of growing food makes the planet greener and more abundant, a world in which justice and sanity infuse policy and politics.
And so many of you have done those things day in and day out. Moving toward a plant-based diet. Choosing organic produce when you can. Buying local, from farm stands and farmers markets. Buying less and loving more. Donating to worthy causes. Trying new healthy recipes. Sharing articles, films, and healthy food with friends and loved ones.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thank you for caring about the food that you eat, and the food you share with others.
Thank you for aligning your actions and purchases with your values.
Thank you for all the ways in which you are being the change we all wish to see, and to manifest, in the world.
Here’s to all we accomplished together in 2022, and to the healing, compassion, and beauty we’re creating, one meal at a time.
May all be fed. May all be healed. May all be loved.
Ocean Robbins and John Robbins
Co-founders, Food Revolution Network
Tell us in the comments:
- How has the food revolution impacted your life during this past year?
- What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
Featured Image: iStock.com/Anna Ivonina