Thursday, May 21, 2009

Future of Food Conference at Boston University

SFBU had the pleasure of attending and helping out at the Future of Food Conference held May 8th and 9th at the BU Law School.

The conference, which was organized by the Institute of Human Sciences, served as a forum for professionals interested in the global issues of food and sustainability, to highlight some of the current problems with our food systems, and suggest possible futures. IHS organized this conference in response to the growing concerns of local communities in both the US and Europe over the global food crisis, and presented a dialogue about what can be done to stem it. Participants gathered to see how they could shape the the current food system into something that is sustainable, and safeguards cultural and biodiversity, while providing safe, healthy food for all citizens both now and in the future.

Friday, May 8th, included the lecture and workshop "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz, followed by another lecture and cooking demo with Bryant Terry. The day ended with a screening of King Corn, introduced by filmmaker and followed by a discussion with director, Aaron Woolf.

Saturday featured 5 panel discussions, starting at 9am and running until 9 pm. The panels addressed a myriad of issues, including food production, agribusiness, food security, food safety, climate change, and the ethics of eating.

Satish Kumar, nuclear disarmament advocate and editor of Resurgence Magazine, gave an excellent keynote address, and also spoke on the panel about the ethics of eating. Kumar is well known for his having accomplished an over 8,000 mile Peace Walk through the capitals of nuclear superpowers-America, England, France and Russia.

While he shared many interesting insights on the issue of food sovereignty, his statement, "If you don't have enough time to bake Bread, you don't have enough time to Live," seemed to strike a particular chord with conference participants.

Other presenters of note were Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap; Tim Wise, director of Research and Public Policy at Tufts Global Development and Environment Institute; Benedikt Haelin, president of Save our Seeds; Jim Harkness, President of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of Center for Food Safety; Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder of International Society for Ecology and Culture; Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and the Revolution Will not be Microwaved, Harriet Lamb, executive Director of Fair Trade Foundation, and finally Michael Ableman, farmer and author of Fields of Plenty.

Another interesting topic that was touched upon in discussion by the third panel was the GMO debate. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists report "Failure to Yield" by Doug Gurian-Sherman, genetically engineered crops do not in actuality increase yields! See the press release here.

It was helpful to compare and contrast US food policy and reports with those from other places, especially from the EU. There was so much information to absorb, and the presenters were very knowledgeable and approachable!

Of course there were multiple coffee breaks, and breakfast and lunch were provided-with lots of things to nibble on. Fair Trade Coffee, hummus, and vegan cookies galore! Also Taza Chocolate had a booth, as did Gnosis Chocolate.

A video of the entire conference will be available on the website soon so that you can shape your future of food and eat the revolution!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Food Project

Thanks to everyone who joined SFBU and BU Hunger Relief for our trip to The Food Project in Roxbury!

The Food Project's goal is to "grow a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system." The Food Project also has various opportunities for youth and adult alike to learn and participate in sustainable agriculture in the community, ranging from Summer Youth programs, to internships, to individual volunteering.

We started off the morning with the game "the Wind Blows," and learned things we had in common with the other volunteers, such as who else had access to a farmers market within their community.
The day involved making raised beds, weeding with hula hoes, and other tasks, all with the help of The Food Project's high school crew leaders!
After a short break, everyone joined in cleaning up several parts of Roxbury.
The three hours went by fast, and because we promptly ended at 12:30 pm, it was a great way to start off the day!

Another game in the afternoon involved "Stepping in the Circle," with the center of the circle representing the ideal food system that is concerned with the producers, the communities, the consumers, and the earth, and a food supply that makes fresh and sustainable food accessible to consumers. At the end of the game we were all outside of the center of the circle, teaching us that there is still a long way for us to go to reaching a sustainable and ideal food system.

Almost every state buys 85-90% of its food from someplace else.

If you would like to help us reach the center of the circle or if you would just like to enjoy a sunny day outside, volunteer with the Food Project! You can drop in any Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday in the Spring (April-June) or in the Fall (Aug. 28 - Nov. 1), from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, at their Lincoln and Roxbury locations!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Conference - The Future of Food: Transatlantic Perspectives

Slow Food BU is a proud partner of the conference The Future of Food: Transatlantic Perspectives, to be held on May 8-9th!

Among other events, Friday, May 8th, will include a screening of King Corn from 8 pm - 10 pm at the BU Law School (765 Commonwealth Ave). The screening will be FREE and open to the public, will be introduced by filmmaker Ian Cheney, and will be followed by a discussion with director Aaron Woolf.

Meanwhile, the Saturday conference will include the following:

Keynote addresses by:
-Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence
Michael Ableman, farmer, photographer, and author of Fields of Plenty

Session I
From Farm to Fork: the Global Food Chain

Session II:
Then End of Cheap Food: Food and Geopolitics

Session III:
What's in What You Eat? Food Safety in a New Ecology

Session IV:
Eating Green: Food and Climate Change

Session V:
What is "Good" Food? The Ethics of Eating

The conference will be held at the BU Law School (765 Comm. Ave.), & will also be FREE and open to the public!

The panels are meant to encourage people to think more consciously about the kind of food they buy and eat; because food is not only pleasurable: our food choices can have serious ethical and political impacts.

What a great way to end finals week! For a complete schedule and more information, please look at the website!