food movement

Spring Screenings

A trio of food and ag-related documentaries are having their NYC premieres thismonth:

The Garden, a 2008 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature about an embattled 14 acre communal garden in South Central Los Angeles, features Danny Glover, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez, Daryl Hannah, Dennis Kucinich, and Zak de la Rocha. Kenneth Turan of the LA Times said: "It's tempting to call 'The Garden' a story of innocence and experience, of evil corrupting paradise, but that would be doing a disservice to the fascinating complexities of a classic Los Angeles conflict and an excellent documentary that does them full justice."

When: Wednesday, May 6 at 7pm
Where: The Horticultural Society of New York, 148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor
How Much: $5 HSNY members; $10 non-members
RSVP to hsny@hsny.org or (212) 757-0915 x115 


Meat TheTruth is a Dutch documentary that focuses on the impact of American livestock production on climate change (a topic ignored in An Inconvenient Truth as well as the soon-to-be-released Food, Inc.) The film follows Dutch politician and animal rights activist Marianne Thieme as she interviews scientists, activists, and farmers about the consequences of our carnivorous culture.

When: May 17th
Where: The New York Film Academy
details TBA 

Interview With Sam Lipschultz, Northeast Regional Coordinator for The Real Food Challenge

Posted by Kerry Trueman, eatingliberally.orgThe Real Food Challenge is a nationwide network of college and university students who are campaigning to bring food that’s local, fair, ecologically sound, and humane to their campus dining halls. With colleges and universities spending some $4 billion annually on food, the students leading the RFC see a tremendous opportunity to leverage that purchasing power to effect real change in our food system.According to the RFC’s website, there are already at least 300 institutions with college farms, fair trade initiatives, or farm-to-cafeteria programs, and other campuses are following suit. I asked the RFC’s Northeast Regional Coordinator, Sam Lipschultz, how the RFC is progressing in its goal of increasing the availability of fresh, fair foods in campus cafeterias:KT: Your organization, The Real Food Challenge, is essentially seeking to reintroduce pure, unadulterated, healthy foods at colleges and universities all over the country by enlisting your fellow students to demand more locally sourced and sustainably grown foods on their campuses. This entails, in part, working with huge food distribution companies who’ve traditionally relied on a centralized, industrialized approach to supplying their clients. Are you and your RFC colleagues persuading these corporations to alter their buying habits?SL: Students across the country are working, often in alliance with faculty and administrators, to demand that their food services procure and serve real food--and they're winning. The beauty of a national initiative like the Real Food Challenge is that it shows the food service provider at a given school that thousands of students and allies have the back of the student advocates on that campus.

Urban Agriculture Takes Root on NYC Campuses

Posted by Kerry Trueman, eatingliberally.orgFifth Avenue’s about the last place you’d expect to see cabbages and kale flourishing, but a mini farm has sprouted up like some agrarian apparition inside the gallery at Parsons The New School for Design at Fifth Avenue and 13th Street. Installed by the Yale Sustainable Food Project, it’s just the latest tasty testament to the fervor for food gardening that’s sweeping schools across the country.The exhibit features three 15 foot-long planters filled with Red Russian kale, Osaka Purple mustard greens, Bright Lights swiss chard, Ruby Moon hyacinth beans, and other highly ornamental edibles. The mini farm, on display till May, is being lovingly tended by Parsons and New School students.Just a few blocks south, New York University has its own urban farmer faction--the NYU Community Agriculture Club.

Seed Library Offers Heirloom Seeds With Local Roots

Posted By Kerry Trueman, EatingLiberally.orgDoug with flowering Spinach
Gardeners in our community have something new to celebrate this season: locally grown vegetable, herb and flower seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. Ken Greene and Doug Muller, a pair of avid upstate gardeners turned seed-obsessed farmers, created the Hudson Valley Seed Library to give urban, suburban and rural home gardeners an accessible, affordable source for heirloom and open-pollinated varieties “rooted in the history and the soils of the northeast”.

The Hudson Valley Seed Library grew out of a seed-lending project that Greene created at the Gardiner Library in Ulster County a few years ago. Greene and Muller, who had no previous agricultural experience, have spent the last four years teaching themselves how to farm and run a homestead-based business at the Hudson Valley Seed Library farm in Accord.

Their current online catalog includes more than twenty varieties of locally grown seeds, some cultivated on their own farm, others from nearby farmers. It also offers home gardeners a membership that gives them the opportunity to become active participants in re-establishing a regional seed network. When you join the Hudson Valley Seed Library, your $20 membership fee is applied to the purchase of seeds at a discounted rate. The membership program also encourages home gardeners to save seeds from the plants they’ve grown to return to the library for credit towards the next year’s membership.

Reflections on the First Annual Gathering of the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative

Posted by Jeff Heehs

Dismantling racism in the food system, within and by way of sustainable food projects, was the focus of a gathering of around 150 community food activists from all over the U.S. and Canada from September 18 to 21 in Milwaukee. Group trainings and discussions provided “safe space” for participants to share a challenging, emotional process of understanding and confronting racial privilege and oppression in ourselves and our communities, amid workshops and talks on food justice and sustainability initiatives.

The conference was the product of planning by the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative (GFJI), an outgrowth of activities initiated within the Community Food Security Coalition. Milwaukee’s urban farming non-profit Growing Power organized and sponsored the event. Just two days after the conference adjourned we were all thrilled by the announcement that Will Allen, the towering founder of Growing Power and host of the Gathering, was named recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant for his pioneering work in urban agriculture and community building.

Prior to the main gathering a core group of facilitators attended an intensive leadership training program on interpersonal methods to understand and challenge racial inequities in general and in the food system. These facilitators then conducted workshops, called Dismantling Racism 101, for others attending the Gathering. Using techniques of non-verbal interaction resembling games or silent theater among mixed groups, followed by open discussion, the workshops were a powerful, revealing experience.

Other workshop leaders presented on topics including:
- projects promoting food sovereignty and self determination among groups of Native Americans, immigrant farm workers, rural latino communities, urban communities of color and others

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