Padma Lakshmi Is Shining a Light on Food and Health Inequity by Starting a Free ‘Secret’ Farmers Market With KIND

Photo: KIND Snacks
We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Padma Lakshmi for Well+Good's first-ever digital issue, The Changemakers Issue. “Its pages spotlight 17 leaders, entrepreneurs, and experts who are rolling up their sleeves to make wellness products and services more affordable, inclusive, and widely available,” says Abbey Stone, Well+Good VP of content.

In the issue, the Emmy-nominated host, best-selling author, and changemaker shares thoughts on food equity and activism and how she’s used her voice and personal experience to push for change in food and healthcare. During the conversation, an underlying theme was Lakshmi’s ongoing mission to shine a light on the needs of those who are underserved, underrepresented, and underappreciated.

Experts In This Article
  • Padma Lakshmi, Padma Lakshmi is the host of Top Chef and Taste The Nation as well as a cookbook author. She is also the author of the children's book, Tomatoes For Neela.

In perfect fashion, Lakshmi is starting 2023 strong by uniting forces with KIND Snacks—a company committed to making nutrient-dense food products as well as nutrition education that can help us make informed decisions—for the return of their second-annual Secret KIND Farmers Market, an activation aimed to spotlight one of the nation's biggest nutrition problems.

What Lakshmi hopes to accomplish with her partnership with KIND

“I love what KIND is about," says Lakshmi, the brand's first-ever culinary partner. "I eat a lot of nuts, and I eat a lot of KIND bars, but beyond that, I just love that KIND is aligned with me about the fact that most of Americans are not eating enough fruits and vegetables.” It’s true: According to the CDC, only 12.3 percent of Americans eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and veggies daily.

Much of this problem has to do with systemic issues surrounding unequal access to fresh food and groceries, which Lakshmi and KIND aim to address head-on together. “One of the biggest reasons that Americans can't get more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet is because they live in a real food desert,” Lakshmi says.

“One of the biggest reasons that Americans can't get more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet is because they live in a real food desert,” Lakshmi says.

Keep in mind that the rise in food costs over the last several years has done anything but help. “It's often cheaper to go to a fast food restaurant to feed your family or to buy a package of something instead of a bunch of carrots or eggs. And we are seeing food prices just skyrocket; it's been hard for a lot of families,” Lakshmi says.

Part of KIND’s promise to its customers is its unwavering commitment to making nourishing, delicious snacks accessible to all. “Since day one, we’ve advocated for nutrition transparency and encouraged people to be kinder to their bodies by eating more of the whole, nutrient-dense foods that we know are essential to keeping us healthy,” Kelly Solomon, KIND’s chief marketing officer, says. This message is further reiterated on KIND’s “Promise” homepage, which states: "We promise to always choose high-quality ingredients over recipe short-cuts and provide snacks that are both healthy and tasty—not one or the other."

This year, the partnership between these two leading advocates for healthier eating—Lakshmi and KIND—will culminate at their "secret" KIND Kitchen in New York City (KIND also has plans for a Houston-based activation). Expect this event to be packed with tons of fun, flavorful moments surrounding the culinary arts and KIND’s longstanding commitment to community nutrition through experiential, interactive, and educational experiences. Spoiler: One of the main “hush-hush” experiences will take place in New York City’s Chelsea Market, where upon opening the door, visitors will be transported into its Secret KIND Farmers Market, where they can shop fresh, whole ingredients free (!) of charge.

Padma at KIND Secret Farmers Market Kitchen
Photo: KIND Snacks

Padma's KIND Kitchen

No, really: Visitors will have a chance to experience Padma’s KIND Kitchen, a two-day pop-up open on February 28 and March 1, featuring dishes created by Lakshmi herself.

On the menu? Butternut squash toasties topped with pecans, pomegranate, and serrano chiles; lentil salad on endive leaves; and fruit and almond bites. To further reinforce the duo’s passionate commitment to serving healthier meals, Lakshmi collaborated with KIND on the recipes to ensure they all embody KIND’s nutrition principles and lead with nutrient-dense ingredients, like nuts, whole grains, or fruit. (Great news: All the recipes featured at Padma’s KIND Kitchen are available online to make at home, too.)

To visit The Secret KIND Farmers Market in New York City (where Padma’s KIND Kitchen will be available), stop by 410 West 16th Street on February 28 and March 1 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Secret KIND Farmers Market will be available at its second location in Houston at M-K-T on March 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to offer visitors fresh, whole produce, nuts, and whole grains.

How this changemaker is changing the food industry with allergen-free snacks:

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