Serving Up Change: ‘Local Legends’ as Advocacy Journalism


December 7, 2023


Features, Food


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(NEW YORK) — Did you know that cultivating regenerative kelp on ocean sea farms can positively impact the health of coastal communities? I hadn’t either, until former-Bon Appetit employee Brad Leone featured Atlantic Sea Farms on his YouTube show, “Local Legends.” 

“Local Legends,” a blend of food journalism and advocacy, spotlights inspiring community leaders who are revolutionizing the food world for the better. Each episode tells a compelling story of pioneers in the food industry with the ultimate goal of rallying support for your local heroes, wherever they may be. 

In episode four, titled “KELP ME FIND SOME SEAWEED!” Leone speaks with Briana Warner, the visionary CEO of Atlantic Sea Farms. Warner passionately shares her mission: “Good Food Should Do Good.” In a time when climate change threatens coastal communities, she champions a food system that prioritizes farmers, the environment, and the health of consumers. Her solution? Kelp. 

Leone takes viewers on a fascinating tour of Atlantic Sea Farms, illustrating how Warner’s work revolves around understanding the needs of her community and crafting products like ginger sesame sea-veggie burgers and spicy gochujang seaweed salad to fill those gaps. While Leone’s perspective on climate change and environmental justice is evident, it doesn’t overshadow the depth of his reporting in each video. 

In fact, Leone ends the episode by saying, “The passion for what they do, the passion they have for the environment, it’s hard not to fall in love with these guys.” 

In another heartwarming episode, “Remodeling America’s School Lunches with Brigaid,” Leone talks to ex-Noma chef Dan Guisti who brings his knowledge of food and dining to schools across the country. Leone worked alongside Guisti and a team of cafeteria staff to prep, cook, and serve school lunches for thousands of children. 

They connected over the want to bring healthy, affordable, and delicious food to children who need it the most. 

Both Leone and Guisti recognize that approximately nine million kids in the U.S., currently live in food-insecure households, often relying on school lunches to get them through the day. Through his work, Guisti strives to introduce children to new healthy foods, all while ensuring that no child goes hungry. 

In other words, he’s not getting rid of those beloved PB&Js. 

“Local Legends” doesn’t just entertain and inform; it exemplifies how advocacy journalism can effectively address vital social issues and inspire positive change. Leone’s approach doesn’t violate journalistic ethics, as he proudly maintains principles of transparency, accuracy, and fairness. He interviews his subjects, actively participates in their processes, and delivers honest reporting to his audience. 

From the depths of the ocean to school cafeterias, Leone’s advocacy work in the food industry and his show “Local Legends,” contribute to a more informed and engaged citizenry.

Food for thought and action, indeed. 

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