Kid Food Gets a Makeover


You may recognize Kraft Mac N’ Cheese by its distinctive blue box, bright orange color, or the multitude of commercials that air on television during every family sitcom. However, due to concerns about health and safety, several major companies are switching to all-natural food coloring, which means that many of your childhood favorite foods will look a little different in the future.

Among these are the bright-yellow banana peppers at Subway, Trix cereal, and now Kraft Mac N’ Cheese, which will now use tumeric and paprika coloring instead of Yellow 5, which may slightly alter the flavor. Part of the reason for this change can be attributed to a popular food blogger called “The Food Babe,” who pointed out that at least one scientific study in the past has linked Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 to hyperactivity, ability to learn, and “long-term problems” like skin rashes and asthma.

The push toward natural dyes and flavorings and away from overly processed foods has been a gradual movement that has gained traction in the past few years. However, there is still research that suggests that we eat with our eyes, and thus lies the problem of maintaining the appeal of food with bright, inviting colors but keeping the ingredients all-natural.

What Sparks Our Fire: Brands catering to consumer demands and finding healthy alternative to classic childhood foods


Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day

And neither was NYC. The subway alone was built in many days, most of them taking place over ninety years ago.


Let that sink in for a moment.

In fact, most of the city’s infrastructure is at least 50 years old, according to the latest report from the Center For an Urban Future, which has the troubling title of Caution Ahead. Some highlights are century-old water mains which lose about a quarter of their capacity to leaks, the 84 year old sewers, the sexagenarian homeless shelters and schools, and the 60% of cargo facilities at JFK that are unfit for modern screening, storage, distribution. Troubling news, to say the least, especially for those who depend on those systems of infrastructure every day.


This is not surprising for an old city such as New York. However, according to the creator of the study, there is no reason for panic. Rather, Adam Forman said the major concern right now is bringing maintenance to the forefront of the city budget: “It’s time to refocus our capital programs and bringing things into a state of good repair, not just building new things.”

What’s important to remember is while the urban decay is troubling, there is no reason to worry as of yet. Many of these infrastructures remain serviceable and in working order, so there’s no need to find a new way to get to work in the morning. Rather, the report is meant to spur action on the part of the city and investors, to focus on the future of the city.

What Sparks Our Fire: Our city is old, and full of stories. We should maintain it so that we can keep making new ones.

Do you see signs of urban decay in NYC?

Off the grid

NYC grid map

The New York subway can be overwhelming to navigate. Max Roberts, professor at the University of Essex, believes he has created an unconventional method to more effectively map public transportation. Rule of thumb in map making is most importantly to be geographically accurate, always draw straight lines, and never use circles. In an attempt to challenge traditional map design, Roberts ignores all three. You might ask, why design such a map? Roberts hopes to encourage people to fully understand the intricate subway network rather than simply memorize points. He states, “A map that encourages study, encourages use.”

What sparked our fire: A chaotic city network organized via a non-traditional system. 

How does Roberts’ mapmaking method compare to the new Google Maps? 


-Canopy Team