Future of Food

 

The Future of Food: Transatlantic Perspectives

May 8-9, 2009

We are organizing these events in response to the growing concerns of local communities in the United States and Europe over matters of health, the environment, and the economy. The conference takes the growing global food crisis as a starting point and asks key stakeholders to imagine a different future. Our working hypothesis is that the current food crisis is systemic in nature and solutions from the past (more market, more regulation, etc.) will not allow the global food system to evolve in a sustainable way. The situation calls for innovations in infrastructure and re-thinking how food is grown, shipped, and distributed locally, regionally, and globally. How can we foster a global food system that safeguards cultural and biodiversity while providing safe and nourishing food for all citizens?

Cultures, historically, have possessed deeply rooted traditions around food; the industrialization of agriculture and the globalization of the food chain disrupt traditions, obscuring the relationship between humans and their environment. As Eric Schlosser, author of the popular American book Fast Food Nation, points out, there has been more change in the way we eat in the last 30 years than in the previous 30,000. Our conference explores the consequences of this sweeping transformation on both sides of the Atlantic, with particular attention to its implications for culture. Is there a relationship, as the American poet Wendell Berry suggests, between the modernization of agriculture and the degradation of culture? Does the erosion of biodiversity, for example, pose a threat to cultural diversity?

The panels are not intended to be exhaustive, but to introduce people to some key issues and to encourage them to think more consciously about the food they buy and eat. Food choices are increasingly ethical and political choices. Deciding what to eat is therefore one way in which citizens, at least in most of Europe and the United States, can “vote with their forks."


Friday, May 8, 2009

Fermentation lecture and workshop:
Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

Join Sandor Ellix Katz (aka Sandorkraut), author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, for this workshop. Learn how easy it is to make sauerkraut, pickles and other live-culture ferments in your own kitchen. Highly nutritious and filled with life, fermented foods have a long history and a promising future. Empower yourself to create these delicious and healthful foods!

2:30 PM - 5:00 PM
808 Commonwealth Avenue (Fuller Building)
Demonstration Room

Seating limited | $30 includes signed copy of Wild Fermentation | $20 without book.

Lecture, cooking-demo and dinner:
Cooking with a Conscience with Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is a nationally recognized eco chef, author, and food justice activist. He is co-author, with Anna Lappé, of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen and author of the recently released Vegan Soul Kitchen. With the help of a Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellowship, he has started the Southern Organic Kitchen Project in order to educate primarily African-Americans living in the Southern United States about the connections between diet and health.

Dinner (see menu) features recipes from Bryant's Vegan Soul Kitchen.

5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
808 Commonwealth Avenue (Fuller Building)
Demonstration Room

Seating limited | $45.00 includes signed copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen


Film Screening and discussion:
King Corn

King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation.

In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat - and how we farm.

Film-screening will be introduced by Ian Cheney, filmmaker, and followed by discussion with Aaron Woolf, director.

8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Boston University Law School
Auditorium | Barristers' Hall
765 Commonwealth Avenue
[Directions]

Free and open to the public | Reception to follow


Saturday, May 9, 2009

International Conference:
The Future of Food: Transatlantic Perspectives

Free and open to the public
(includes all panels, breakfast, coffee breaks, reception)

8:00 AM - 8:45 AM: Breakfast and Registration

8:45 AM - 9:00 AM: Introductions

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM: Opening Keynote Address
Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence

You must have a current version of the Flash Player in order to view this video.

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM: Session I: From Farm to Fork: The Global Food Chain
This session traces the increasingly obscure path of food from "farm to fork." The focus is on food production and the industrialization of agriculture. It will consider the growing influence of “agribusiness” and the “politics of food.” Our goals are to explore the alignment (or lack thereof) of business and consumer interests and the impact of the transformation of the food system on culture.
Participants:

Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC)
Henrik Selin, Professor of International Relations, Boston University
Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty
Moderator: James McCann, Professor of History and Associate Director for Development, African Studies Center, Boston University

You must have a current version of the Flash Player in order to view this video.

11:00 AM – 11:30AM: Coffee Break

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Session II: The End of Cheap Food: Food and Geopolitics
This session will center on “food security.” It will address the rising cost of food and the “fuel vs. food” debate. Is the growing demand for biofuels responsible for food inflation? Other threats to food security will also be explored, namely, fossil fuel dependence, loss of biodiversity, and water shortages.
Participants:
Benedikt Haerlin, Foundation on Future Farming | Save Our Seeds
Jim Harkness, President, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Tim Wise, Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University

Moderator: Adil Najam, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University

You must have a current version of the Flash Player in order to view this video.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Vegetarian lunch with guest speakers
Seating limited | $15.00

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM: Session III: What’s in What You Eat? Food Safety in a New Ecology
This panel focuses on “food safety” with an emphasis on regulation in the United States and Europe, the GMO debate, recent “food scares,” and the looming threat of bioterrorism.
Participants:
Benedikt Haerlin, Foundation on Future Farming | Save Our Seeds
Helen Holder, GM Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe
Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director, Center for Food Safety
Moderator: Adil Najam, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University

You must have a current version of the Flash Player in order to view this video.

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Coffee Break

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Session IV: Eating Green: Food and Climate Change
This panel looks at the relationship between food production and climate change, addressing issues of deforestation, soil degradation, and factory farms and considers whether what we eat can make a difference.
Participants:
Björn-Ola Linnér, Linköping University, the Tema Institute
Mia MacDonald, Founder and Executive Director, Brighter Green
Moderator: Henrik Selin, Professor of International Relations, Boston University

You must have a current version of the Flash Player in order to view this video.

5:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Coffee Break

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM: Session V: What Is “Good” Food? The Ethics
of Eating

Is “good” food healthy, sustainable, delectable or cheap? This panel explores why our food choices matter. It addresses the “ethics of eating” and the health and environmental costs of “cheap food.” It looks at some of the grassroots alternatives including the rise of organic farming, locavorism, and the “slow food” movement.
Participants:
Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved
Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director, Fair Trade Foundation
Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC)
Moderator: Molly Anderson, independent consultant on science and policy for sustainability

You must have a current version of the Flash Player in order to view this video.

7:30 PM - 8:15 PM:Closing Keynote Address
Michael Ableman, farmer, author, and photographer and a recognized practitioner of sustainable agriculture and proponent of regional food systems

You must have a current version of the Flash Player in order to view this video.

8:15 PM - 9:00 PM: Reception

Location:
Boston University Law School
Auditorium | Barristers' Hall
765 Commonwealth Avenue
[Directions]



Sponsors

Funded by the European Commission Delegation in Washington, DC with additional support from the Ford Foundation

In cooperation with Boston University’s Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy and programs in food studies and the Center for International Relations

Note: For additional sponsorship opportunities, please contact Elizabeth Amrien, conference organizer, at eamrien@bu.edu or 617-358-2778.

 

 


 



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