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Berkeley Food Pyramid  –  Renée Robin, Scott McCreary, Mary Hardy, Michael Corbett    |    noreen rei fukumori: Design

The Berkeley Food Pyramid was conceived as an inside joke between friends over countless wine and dinner gatherings. Berkeley denizens and foodies Renée Robin, Scott McCreary, Mary Hardy and Michael Corbett envisioned a twist on the old USDA nutrition guide that reflected a more accurate “nutritional” diet within the Berkeley food culture. ​Before the 2002 holiday season, Renée approached me to design and illustrate the Berkeley Food Pyramid that was then silkscreened onto t-shirts as gifts for family and friends...

One of the t-shirts was given to Russ Greenberg, who presented a lecture on coffee at Berkeley's family camp in the summer of 2003. In 2011 Nanci Edwards, the program manager at the Smithsonian National Museum and colleague of Mr. Greenberg, was in the midst of planning the Food exhibition. She had noted Mr. Greenberg’s, by then, well-worn t-shirt and thought the iconic graphic was a fitting addition to the exhibition. By tracing the credit-line still legible, I was contacted about including the Berkeley Food Pyramid in the show...

Smithsonian National Museum

The Berkeley Food Pyramid can be seen in the Smithsonian's first major exhibition on food history –– FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000, opened at the National Museum of American History November 20, 2013. The on-going exhibition “explores some of the major changes in food and eating in postwar America––changes in food production and processing, in who cooks and why, where and when meals are consumed and what people know (or think they know) about what is good for them.”


The Berkeley Food Pyramid is featured in an area that includes purveyors and artisanal producers who have contributed to the California cuisine phenomena.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea

In early 2015, I was contacted by a project manager at Peet’s about adapting the Berkeley Food Pyramid to reflect Peet’s brand. Their CEO had seen the BFP at the Food exhibition and thought it was perfect for Peet’s 50th anniversary, which coincided with their store remodel and openings around the US. Part of the new launch and celebration was honoring their Berkeley roots, where the first store opened in 1966, and continues to thrive in the heart of Berkeley’s gourmet food district. Everyone agreed to have the original illustration of the coffee mugs transformed into Peet’s take-out cups – a fitting homage and from loyal fans, to one of Berkeley’s beloved institutions.


Purchase the Berkeley Food Pyramid Poster! 

Choose either the Letterpress printed, original version, OR the poster seen at Peet’s stores.

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