Edible Education 101 Lectures
The Rise of Industrial Agriculture – January 27, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
In this course introduction, Professor Pollan will discuss the social, economic, and political changes that drove the rise of industrial agriculture in the United States, and review some of the challenges industrialization of farming and eating have brought to the food system, our health, and the environment.
About the Lecturer
For the past 25 years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment. He is the author, most recently, of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, the latest of his five New York Times bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006); and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, and the James Beard Award. A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine since 1987, his articles have also appeared in Harper’s Magazine (where he served as executive editor from 1984 to 1994), National Geographic, Mother Jones, the Nation, the New York Review of Books, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet, House & Garden, and Gardens Illustrated, among others. In 2009, he appeared in a two-hour PBS special based on The Botany of Desire and in the documentary, Food Inc., which was nominated for an Academy Award. In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, health, and the environment. Pollan was educated at Bennington College, Oxford University, and Columbia University.
The Green Revolution and the Economics of the Food System – February 3, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
The international food complex has changed significantly over the last 20 years. How does the food economy shape countries’ access to good food? What social factors contribute to a country’s ability to feed (and nourish) its population?
- "Via Campesina's Women's Declaration," Food First
- "Long Green Revolution," The Journal of Peasant Studies (2013)
- "Farmer in Chief," The New York Times
- Stuffed and Starved, Chapters 1 and 6, Melville House Publishing, 2007, by Raj Patel
About the Lecturer
RAJ PATEL is an award-winning writer, activist, and academic. He has degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics, and Cornell University, has worked for the World Bank and WTO—and protested against them around the world. He is a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and a fellow at The Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First. He is also an IATP Food and Community Fellow and serves as an Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. His first book was Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and his latest, The Value of Nothing, is a New York Times best-seller. He is currently working on a documentary about the global food system with award-winning director Steve James.
BRENDA ESKENAZI & TYRONE HAYES
The Chemistry and Biology of the Industrial Food System – February 10, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
UC Berkeley scientists Brenda Eskenazi and Tyrone Hayes will discuss their respective studies of the effects of pesticides on our food and water supply.
- "Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-Year-Old Children," Environmental Health Perspectives (2011)
- "Case-Control Study of Maternal Residential Atrazine Exposure and Male Genital Malformations," American Journal of Medical Genetics (2012)
- "Demasculinization and feminization of male gonads by atrazine: Consistent effects across vertebrate classes," Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2011)
- "Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2010)
- "A Valuable Reputation," The New Yorker
About the Lecturers
BRENDA ESKENAZI is the Jennifer and Brian Maxwell Professor of Maternal and Child Health and epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley and the Principle Investigator and Director of the NIEHS/EPA Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH). She chairs the Division of Community Health and Human Development at the School of Public Health. She is a neuropsychologist and epidemiologist whose long-standing research interest has been the effects of toxicants including lead, solvents, environmental tobacco smoke, dioxin, and pesticides on human reproduction (both male and female) and child development. Professor Eskenazi directs the CHAMACOS study of primarily farmworker families in the Salinas Valley, California. This study works closely with community partners to educate community members about pesticides.
TYRONE HAYES, a biology professor at UC Berkeley since 1995,has been primarily interested in amphibian development and how environmental change affects that development. He studies the interactions between environmental factors and hormones and the subsequent alteration of developmental and evolutionary pathways. Tyrone’s lab discovered that Atrazine—the world's number one selling herbicide and most common contaminant of ground and surface water—is an endocrine disruptor that chemically castrates and feminizes amphibians. A related decrease in testosterone and increase in estrogen production has been identified in all vertebrate classes examined (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, including humans) and likely increases the risk of breast cancer and prostate diseases in rodents and humans. Tyrone is now working to educate the public about these issues and influence policies that can reduce risk to highly susceptible populations such as ethnic minorities, especially laborers in agriculture and pesticide production, as well as endangered species. Tyrone holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley.
JOAN DYE GUSSOW & MICHAEL MOSS
Consumerism, Marketing, and Health – February 24, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
What are the consequences of modern food processing and how did we get here? Can we blame our unhealthy eating habits on the food industry? On advertising? How much responsibility should the food industry have for public health? What steps can food producers and others in the food system take to address our nation’s health crisis, and what policies can or should be implemented to support these initiatives?
- "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food," New York Times Magazine
- "Counternutritional Messages of TV Ads Aimed at Children," Journal of Nutrition Education (1972)
- "A Nutritionist Looks at Food and the Marketplace," FDA Consumer (1977)
- "What Corporations Have Done to Our Food," Business and Society Review (1980)
- "Are We Really Fixing Up the Food Supply?," Journal of the American Dietetic Association (1993)
- Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Random House, 2013, by Michael Moss
- This Organic Life, Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader, Chelsea Green Press, 2001, by Joan Dye Gussow (more of Joan's writings can be found on her website)
About the Lectuers
JOAN DYE GUSSOW is the Mary Swartz Rose Professor Emerita of Nutrition and Education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University (NYC), where she formerly chaired the Nutrition Education Department. She has a B.A. from Pomona College and earned her M.Ed. and Ed.D. from Teacher’s College. She is author, co-author, or editor of a number of articles and several books—most relevantly her 1978 book The Feeding Web and, more recently, This Organic Life and Growing, Older. From 1980 to 1983, Dr. Gussow served on the Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer Panel of the National Academy of Sciences followed by two terms on the NAS Food and Nutrition Board. She has also served on the FDA's Food Advisory Panel and, most recently, on the National Organic Standards Board. She is a founding member of Just Food.
MICHAEL MOSS is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, published by Random House in 2013. He has been an investigative reporter with the New York Times since 2000. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2010, and was a finalist for the prize in 2006 and 1999. He is also the recipient of a Loeb Award and an Overseas Press Club citation. Before joining the Times, he was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been an adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism and currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Eve Heyn, and two sons.
OLIVIER DE SCHUTTER
The Food Wars Across the Globe – March 3, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Since his appointment as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, De Schutter has traveled across all regions to understand the challenges of the global food system. Which transitions are taking place, who wins, and who loses? What are the dominant discourses about how to address global hunger? What secret battles are being fought behind the scenes for the control over the food systems?
- "The New Green Revolution: How 21st Century Science Can Feed the World," The Solutions Journal (2011)
About the Lecturer
OLIVIER DE SCHUTTER (LL.M., Harvard University; Ph.D., University of Louvain) is an academic and human rights activist, specialized in economic and social rights and economic globalization. He taught in various US universities, including at New York University and Columbia University. A regular expert to the European Union, he chaired in 2002-2006 the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights, a high-level group of experts which advised the European Union institutions on fundamental rights issues. Between 2004 and his appointment as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in 2008, he was the General Secretary of the International Federation of Human Rights on the issue of globalization and human rights. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Francqui Prize for his contributions to the advancement of social sciences and the humanities.
Animals and the Food System – March 10, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Public admission seats to this lecture are fully reserved.
According to Wayne Pacelle, “Our 50-year experiment with factory farming has dramatically reduced the number of farmers on the land and produced an animal welfare calamity, with pigs, chickens, calves, and turkeys growing too fast and often confined so severely that they are immobilized for their entire lives. These confined animals are typically fed subsidized corn and soybeans, produced primarily to feed farm animals rather than people. Billions of animals, in turn, produce enormous volumes of untreated waste, which pollutes our ground water and putrefies the air. Americans have among the highest per capita rates of animal product consumption in the world, and that unusually high consumption pattern has produced a public-health crisis related to heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Producers’ use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic reasons has created an additional public health crisis, by allowing for the emergence of classes of antibiotic-resistant super-bugs. A variety of reputable reports from scientists conclude that global livestock agriculture is responsible for 14-51 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. We need a new model of agriculture if we are to protect the public, maintain reasonable animal welfare standards, and preserve rural communities.”
- Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America, Executive Summary, A Report of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production in America
- Industrial Food Animal Production in America: Examining the Impact of the Pew Commissions Priority Recommendations, Pages 46 - 48 (Conclusion), Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
- The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, Chapter 3, William Morrow, 2011, by Wayne Pacelle
- The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, William Morrow, 2011, by Wayne Pacelle
About the Lecturer
WAYNE PACELLE is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation's largest animal advocacy organization (#135 among all US-based charities), with the highest rating (4 stars) from Charity Navigator. The HSUS and its affiliates, which have directors in all 50 states and personnel in 17 countries, is the largest provider among animal welfare groups of animal care, and also the top animal advocacy organization. Mr. Pacelle has run more than 25 successful ballot measures, including California’s Proposition 2, which in 2008 stipulated a phase-out of intensive confinement methods for laying hens, breeding sows, and veal calves. Since becoming CEO in June 2004, HSUS and its political arm have helped to pass more than 800 animal protection laws, and Pacelle has testified before Congress on more than a dozen occasions on topics ranging from animal fighting to puppy mills to factory farming. He has been profiled in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and has appeared on 60 Minutes, Ellen, and Oprah. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, published by Harper Collins. Wayne Pacelle received his B.A. in History and Studies in the Environment from Yale University in 1987.
ALICE WATERS, CYNTHIA ROSENZWEIG & COURTNEY WHITE, interviewed by ANNA LAPPE
Agriculture and Climate Change – March 17, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Registration for this lecture will open March 11, 2014 at 10 am
“The global industrial food system contributes an estimated 44-57 percent of global greenhouse gases to climate change. In contrast, the world's small-scale farmers—the ones keeping agricultural diversity alive—provide 70 percent of all food eaten globally, using just 30 percent of the world's agricultural land” (The Guardian). How do our agricultural practices impact climate change? What are some of the strategies agriculture might adopt to mitigate and possibly even reverse climate change?
- Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It, Chapter 1, Bloomsbury USA, 2010, by Anna Lappé
- Mitigating Climate Change: World Watch Report 179, World Watch Institute
- Cows Save the Planet, Chelsea Green Press, 2013, by Judith Schwartz
- "A Carbon Ranch," A project of the Quivira Coalition, Database on climate change and animal production
About the Lecturers
ANNA LAPPE is an author and educator on food systems and sustainability. With her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, Anna co-founded the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute, an international network for research and popular education about the root causes of hunger and poverty, and the Small Planet Fund, which has raised nearly $1 million for democratic social movements worldwide, two of which have won the Nobel Peace Prize since the Fund’s founding in 2002. Anna is the head of the Real Food Media Project, a new initiative to spread the story of the power of sustainable food. Her latest book, Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It (Bloomsbury), was named by Booklist and Kirkus as one of the best environmental books of the year. Anna is also the co-author of Hope’s Edge (Tarcher/Penguin 2002), and Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (Tarcher/Penguin 2006). Anna can be seen as the co-host of the public television series The Endless Feast and as a featured expert on PBS’s Need to Know, the Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Small Planet, and the PBS documentary Nourish. Anna holds an M.A. in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and graduated with honors from Brown University. From 2004 to 2006, she was a Kellogg Food and Society Fellow. Anna is an active board member of Rainforest Action Network and an advisor to the International Fund to Amplify Agro-Ecological Solutions.
CYNTHIA ROSENZWEIG is an agronomist and research scientist with Columbia University's Earth Institute. She is Co-Chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the mayor to advise the city on adaptation for its critical infrastructure. She co-led the Metropolitan East Coast Regional Assessment of the U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. She was a Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Working Group II Fourth Assessment Report. She is Co-Director of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) and Co-Editor of the First UCCRN Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3), the first-ever global, interdisciplinary, cross-regional, science-based assessment to address climate risks, adaptation, mitigation, and policy mechanisms relevant to cities. She is the founder of AgMIP, a major international collaborative effort to assess the state of global agricultural modeling, understand climate impacts on the agricultural sector, and enhance adaptation capacity, as it pertains to food security, in developing and developed countries. She was named as one of "Nature's 10: Ten People Who Mattered in 2012" by the science journal Nature. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she joins impact models with climate models to project future outcomes of both land-based and urban systems under altered climate conditions. She is a Professor at Barnard College and a Senior Research Scientist at the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
ALICE WATERS, chef, author, and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, is an American pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is “good, clean, and fair.” Over the course of forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of scores of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh and pure ingredients. In 1996, Waters’s commitment to education led to the creation of The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School: a one-acre garden, an adjacent kitchen-classroom, and an “eco-gastronomic” curriculum. By actively involving a thousand students in all aspects of the food cycle, The Edible Schoolyard is a model public education program that instills the knowledge and values we need to build a humane and sustainable future. The program is nationally recognized for its efforts to integrate gardening, cooking, and sharing school lunch into the core academic curriculum. Alice established the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1996 to support the Schoolyard and encourage similar programs that use food traditions to teach, nurture, and empower young people. Waters is Vice President of Slow Food International and she is the author of eight books, including The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution, and the Art of Simple Food II, (Random House, 2013)
COURTNEY WHITE is the Founder and Creative Director of Quivira Coalition. A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, Courtney dropped out of the “conflict industry” in 1997 to co-found The Quivira Coalition. Today, his work with Quivira concentrates on building economic and ecological resilience on working landscapes, with a special emphasis on carbon ranching and the new agrarian movement. Courtney's writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Farming, Acres Magazine, Rangelands, and the Natural Resources Journal. His essay "The Working Wilderness: a Call for a Land Health Movement" was published by Wendell Berry in 2005, in his collection of essays titled The Way of Ignorance. In 2008, Island Press published Courtney's first book Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West. In 2010, Courtney was awarded the Michael Currier Award for Environmental Service by the New Mexico Community Foundation.
Reinventing the Farm – March 31, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Registration for this lecture will open March 25, 2014 at 10 am
Joel Salatin describes his Polyface Farms this way: “We are in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture.” What can we learn from the farming practices at Polyface Farms that can be applied to farming practices elsewhere and in our own urban gardens? How do their practices support the goals they've laid out for themselves, from healing the planet to supporting a more vibrant local economy?
- Folks, This Ain’t Normal, Chapter 1 and Chapter 22, Center Street, 2012, by Joel Salatin,
- The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer, Introduction, Polyface, 2010, by Joel Salatin
About the Lecturer
JOEL SALATIN is a full-time farmer at Polyface Farms in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. The farm services more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey, and forestry products using relationship marketing. The author of nine books and a sought-after conference speaker, Salatin addresses a wide range of issues, from “creating the farm your children will want” to “making a white collar salary from a pleasant life in the country.” A wordsmith, he describes his occupation as “mob-stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertilization.” His speaking and writing reflect dirt-under-the-fingernails experience punctuated with mischievous humor. He passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm.
Urban Adaptation and Edible Education – April 7, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Registration for this lecture will open April 1, 2014 at 10 am
Urban agriculture has the potential to revitalize, educate, and nourish communities, and create local economies. What are some of the less visible benefits of urban agriculture? Why do Ron Finley and others have to fight to bring healthy food and edible gardens to their neighborhoods? What role does the urban ag movement play in the food movement overall? How is this movement allied with the movement to install gardens and food education in schools? How do these activists collaborate, or not?
About the Lecturer
RON FINLEY, artist and designer, couldn’t help but notice what was going on in his backyard. “South Central Los Angeles,” he quips, “home of the drive-thru and the drive-by.” And it's the drive-thru fast-food stands that contribute more to the area’s poor health and high mortality rate, with one in two kids contracting a curable disease like Type 2 diabetes. Finley’s vision for a healthy, accessible “food forest” started with the curbside veggie garden he planted in the strip of dirt in front of his own house. When the city tried to shut it down, Finley’s fight gave voice to a larger movement that provides nourishment, empowerment, education—and healthy, hopeful futures—one urban garden at a time.
Plant Genetic Engineering and the Future of Food – April 14, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Registration for this lecture will open April 8, 2014 at 10 am
Genetically Modified Organisms have become a flashpoint of debate within the food movement. While technological developments can help provide resilient foods for a changing climate, many consumers remain skeptical. Michael Pollan and Pamela Ronald will discuss the risks and benefits of GE crops in advancing sustainable agriculture.
- "The Truth About GMOs," Boston Review
- "A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops," The New York Times
- "The New Organic," Boston Globe
- Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food, Oxford University Press, 2010, by Pamela C. Ronald and Raoul W. Adamchak
About the Lecturer
PAMELA RONALD is Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis. She also serves as Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute. Ronald’s laboratory has engineered rice for resistance to disease and tolerance to flooding, which seriously threaten rice crops in Asia and Africa. Ronald led the isolation of the rice XA21 immune receptor and the rice Sub1A submergence tolerance transcription factor. In 1996, she established the Genetic Resources Recognition fund, a mechanism to recognize intellectual property contributions from less developed countries. She and her colleagues were recipients of the USDA 2008 National Research Initiative Discovery Award for their work on rice submergence tolerance. Ronald was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair, and the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Journalism Award. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Ronald has written opinion pieces for the Boston Globe, the Economist, and the New York Times and is a blogger for Scientific American’s Food Matters. She is coauthor with her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, of the book Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food. Bill Gates calls the book a “fantastic piece of work.” In 2011, Ronald was selected as one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company Magazine. Learn more at cropgeneticsinnovation.org. Tomorrow's Table is available at Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore in Berkeley.
GREG ASBED, LUCAS BENITEZ & SARU JAYARAMAN
The Hands That Feed Us: Labor in the Food System – April 21, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Registration for this lecture will open April 15, 2014 at 10 am
According to The Hands That Feed Us, a report by the Food Chain Worker’s Alliance, (co-authored by Saru Jayaraman in June 2012) more than 20 million people in the United States work in some capacity along the food chain. The report also points out that ironically, these workers suffer higher levels of food insecurity (uncertainty about one’s ability to afford food), than the rest of the US workforce. Today, multiple efforts are underway to shift policies and educate consumers to make better choices that will support more sustainable labor practices, both for farmworkers and for restaurant and food processing workers. What are the similarities—and differences—between these two important US food labor movements? What is the relationship between middle- and working-class activists? What are the levers for change in the food labor system, and how can we, as consumers, influence a shift in both cultural practice and policy?
- Behind the Kitchen Door, Chapters 1 and 2, Cornell University Press, 2013, by Saru Jayaraman
- Fair Food Program Report: 2011-2013, Pages 6-18, Fair Food Standards Council
- "The Fair Food Program: Comprehensive, Verifiableand Sustainable Change for Farmworkers," Pages 1-10, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change (2013)
About the Lecturer
GREG ASBED is a co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization. He works with farmworkers and their student, labor, and religious allies to organize the national Campaign for Fair Food, a breakthrough worker-based approach to corporate accountability in the agricultural industry known for its creativity and effectiveness. He writes and designs the CIW's main communication tool—the website (ciw-online.org). He also coordinates the CIW's negotiating team in talks with food industry leaders, negotiating "Fair Food" agreements with nine multi-billion dollar retail food corporations to date, including McDonald's, Subway, Sodexo, and Whole Foods. He is currently leading the effort to develop and implement innovative new farm labor standards in collaboration with two of Florida's largest tomato growers, paving the way for the implementation of the CIW's Fair Food Code of Conduct across the entire Florida tomato industry in November 2011. Mr. Asbed is one of the authors featured in the textbook Bringing Human Rights Home: Portraits of the Movement (2008). He has an M.A. in International Economics and Social Change and Development from Johns Hopkins SAIS and is fluent in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. He has also spent the past 15 seasons harvesting watermelons in the states of Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Maryland.
LUCAS BENITEZ is a co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). The CIW is a grassroots, membership-led organization of migrant agricultural workers based in Florida that seeks justice for a range of human rights abuses and promotes the fair treatment of workers in accordance with international labor standards. Its membership consists of over 4,000 workers, who are largely Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants. Mr. Benitez has been called “one of the most visible farmworker leaders in the US” (Los Angeles Times), and “the Cesar Chavez of the new millennium” (El Diario, New York). He has won numerous national and international awards for his exemplary leadership, including: the Rolling Stone Magazine Brick Award for “America’s Best Young Community Leader”; the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award; and, along with two co-workers, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, for innovative work in combating modern-day slavery.
As remarkable as these achievements are, they are all the more remarkable given Mr. Benitez’s background. He came from a poor family of Mexican farmworkers, and he worked for over nine years throughout the Southeastern United States from Florida to North Carolina harvesting tomatoes, oranges, and other crops. The abuses that he witnessed and experienced as a farmworker led him to begin participating in organizing efforts in Immokalee. The CIW began as a small group of workers who met after work to reflect upon the extreme poverty and brutal mistreatment that the workers suffered. In those early years, Mr. Benitez was one of the community leaders of actions focused in Immokalee, including three community-wide work stoppages, a 30-day hunger strike, a campaign against violence in the fields, and a 230-mile march across the state of Florida. Mr. Benitez has also been central to the CIW’s Anti-Slavery Campaign, uncovering and investigating multi-worker, multi-state forced labor operations, and assisting federal authorities in prosecutions such as US vs. Cuello, US vs. Ramos, and others. In the course of such work, Mr. Benitez helped workers to escape from a labor camp where they were being held against their will, located key witnesses, and helped victims recovering from slavery. Today, Mr. Benitez is a leading voice for what is now a national movement, the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food. An alliance of workers and consumers, the campaign calls on corporate buyers of produce to take part in ending labor abuses in their supply chains.
SARU JAYARAMAN is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Co-Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York, which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 10,000 members in 19 cities nationwide. The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Ms. Jayaraman co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce, (ME Sharpe, 2005). Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, and was named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year,” and one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She is the author of Behind the Kitchen Door, from Cornell University Press.
GAIL MYERS, NIKIKO MASUMOTO & ANNABELLE LENDERINK
The New Face of American Agriculture: Women Farmers – April 28, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Registration for this lecture will open April 22, 2014 at 10 am
Women operate one in ten farms in America—and this number is steadily increasing: the number of US farms operated by women nearly tripled over the past three decades, from 5 percent in 1978 to 14 percent by 2007. Many women are drawn to farming as a way to support their family and to strengthen their community. Globally, scholars like Olivier De Schutter and Raj Patel have suggested that enabling more women to enter the farming workforce could radically change developing economies and reduce hunger.
What influences does this influx of women farmers bring to agriculture in the United States? And how is their participation in farming apt to change our culture and society in the future? What challenges do female farmers face because of their gender?
- "Where Have All the Black Farmers Gone?," Mindfully.org
- "FarmerJane.org," blog and news on women farmers
- Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat, Gibbs Smith, 2010, by Temra Costa
About the Lecturer
GAIL MYERS is a cultural anthropologist and scholarly expert in African American farming traditions who has been conducting field research and interviews with black farmers since 1997. But more importantly, she’s the niece of her irascible 100-year-old Aunt Rose, whose stories about growing up on the Alabama farm presided over by Gail’s great-great-grandfather, Hezekiah Patterson, provided the seeds of inspiration for “Rhythms of the Land.” Myers founded Farms to Grow, Inc. to facilitate avenues of support for African American and other socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Dr. Myers advocates fearlessly for social justice. Her work with farmers involves cooperative economic development. She believes that cooperatives owned by lower wealth people would promote social and economic justice more so than the current competition in today’s market place.
NIKIKO MASUMOTO is an organic farmer and agrarian artist from the Central Valley of California. She is the fourth generation to work the land at the Masumoto Family Farm and has been working intensely on the farm with her father for the past three years. In 2007 Nikiko graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies and in 2011 completed a Master of Arts in Performance as Public Practice at the University of Texas, Austin. Her intellectual and artistic work focuses on the intersections of performance, social justice, and memory. Her recent creative works include a performance about the Japanese American movement for redress and place-based art making along Highway 99. She hopes to grow her passions for performance and social justice along with peaches, nectarines and grapes to add another generation’s voice to the story of the Masumoto Family Farm. For Nikiko sharing food is a revolutionary act, she says, “When we grow, share, and eat food, there are no borders. We can become part of each other.”
ANNABELLE LENDERINK is the owner of La Tercera Farm in Northern California. Annabelle started out in the restaurant business, cooking and working closely with chefs, where she learned that they could not always get the produce they wanted. Eventually, she moved over to farming, starting out at Gospel Flat Farms and eventually becoming a partner there. She started La Tercera in 1995 and is now a favorite grower to local restaurants because she produces unusually diverse crops, in small volume, keeping the quality always at its peak. Annabelle can be found Saturdays at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, and La Tercera produce is also sold at the Saturday market at the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco. She is famous for her squash, shelling beans, and sexy Brazilian broccoli.
MICHAEL POLLAN & RAJ PATEL
Course Synthesis – May 5, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Auditorium
Registration for this lecture will open April 29, 2014 at 10 am
Instructors will offer a synthesis of the course, and time for student Q+A.