Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of the book on conscious eating, "Food Matters," debuted a new web series this week.

"California Matters with Mark Bittman" is a collaboration between the University of California’s Global Food Initiative and the Berkeley Food Institute where Bittman was a distinguished fellow this past spring. Check out the first episode.

In future episodes of the 10-part series, Bittman will head across the state of California to explore leading research in food and health policies as well as sustainable agriculture at several University of California campuses. New episodes will air online, each covering a different topic including the history of Chinese American food, labor justice issues with restaurant workers, and a peek into what we can expect from dining experiences in the future.

Bittman says he chose California because the state has so much of a food and research impact on the rest of the nation.

He writes on his website: "Food-wise (and otherwise), what happens in California affects everyone in America (get it? California Matters), so I’m excited to share the series, and looking forward to telling more of these stories."

Each episode of the web series runs 5 to 8 minutes. I like the short format. It makes it very manageable to fit into my schedule, and I really want to make time for this new series. Bittman’s writings have always been educational and inspirational to me. As I wrote when he ended his original NYT column The Minimalist, “the food that ends up on my family's table is different and better because of what I've learned from him.”

I hope to learn even more from him while watching "California Matters with Mark Bittman."

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.