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Hilary Baum

Biographical Note

Hilary Baum is a pioneer in the movement to bring attention to problems and possibilities of the American food system, and New York in particular. She is the Director of the Baum Forum, a program that includes conferences and seminars focusing on food and agricultural issues, and the President of Public Market Partners.

Baum is also the co-founder, with Fern Gail Estrow, of Food Systems Network NYC, a collaborative that brings together representatives from food-related non-profits, government agencies, and private citizens interested in the worlds of: food safety and food justice; farmers' markets; public markets; agricultural marketing programs; and community supported agriculture.

Her childhood and early life, however, took place in a more rarified corner of the New York food world. Her father, the prescient Joe Baum, was the force behind The Four Seasons, Windows on the World, and The Rainbow Room—places that redefined what restaurants and the restaurant experience could be. Through her parents, she met legendary figures in that world like James Beard, a family friend.

This interview tracks her childhood, in particular the ways in which her grandparents and parents' businesses, as well has their food world friends, influenced her choice of career. She also talks about her work in the food production business (with her mother), her recollections of James Beard, her early support for farmers and farmers markets, and her work with the Baum Forum today.

Access Points

Aaron, Florence
Baum, Ruth
Baum, Joseph
Beard, James, 1903-1985
Hamilton, Dorothy M.
Lewis, Bob

Culinary Institute of America
Food Systems Network
Four Seasons (Restaurant)
New York City Food and Fitness Partnership
Project for Public Spaces
Public Market Collaborative
Restaurant Associates
Windows on the World (New York, N.Y.)
World Trade Center (New York, N.Y.)

Agricultural processing industries
Community -supported agriculture
Farm produce -- Marketing
Farmer's markets
Food industry and trade -- New York (State) -- New York
Food service
Local foods
Produce trade
Restaurant management
Restaurants -- New York (State) -- New York
School children -- Food
Women in the food industry

Interview 1, September 22, 2009

Box: Electronic Records, E-records: MSS_309.ref33.1 (Material Type: electronic records)

Scope and Content

Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012