Food Is FundamentalSunday, October 4 | 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Current Affairs
Even before COVID-19 shined a light on the precarity faced by food servers, farm laborers, and meat processing workers—and how their working conditions impact us all—it was clear that we were desperately in need of a food revolution. From the environmental toll of factory farming to the health dangers stemming from corporate control of food and water, our current food system is failing us, our kids, and the planet. Where can we turn for a scalable vision of a sustainable, equitable, and delicious future?
Look no further than two culinary iconoclasts: Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters, legendary maven of the “slow food movement,” and firecracker food labor activist Saru Jayaraman. Their ideas, advocacy, and leadership have helped change the way we think about growing and consuming food, from seed to soil to serving platter. Now they’re coming together, in a time of climate change, pandemics, and global hunger, to examine how we got here, and cook up a bold recipe for implementing transformative changes to our food system. You’ll savor this forward-thinking conversation, moderated by Davia Nelson of NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters, about creating a revolution that sticks—to our principles, and our ribs.
Food activist Saru Jayaraman is no stranger to the bright light of recognition: she’s appeared on CNN and NBC Nightly News, was named a Champion of Change by the Obama White House, and was Amy Poehler’s date to the Golden Globes in 2018 to shine awareness on harassment in the restaurant industry. But as Director of the UC Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center and President of One Fair Wage, she organizes on behalf of an often-invisible workforce: tipped workers, many of them women of color and immigrants, who are struggling to survive. The author of books—including her latest, Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning, with Kathryn De Master—that map out a long-overdue food-industry revolution, Saru is the co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), a restaurant-worker-powered nonprofit that now has tens of thousands of members nationwide. Full bio.
Called “the maven of the slow-food movement” by PBS NewsHour, author and food activist Alice Waters is the founder and owner of Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse Restaurant, where she spearheaded an organic and locally-grown revolution that has indelibly transformed the food landscape. “The Alice Waters Effect,” as her legacy is known, is powered by the belief that good food should be available to everyone. This simple-but-profound credo has left its mark on everything from agriculture to fine dining to education. The Edible Schoolyard Project, which Alice founded in Berkeley in 1995, now exists in 33 countries; and she received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama for her visionary commitment to food as a moral and social issue. With fifteen books under her belt, including the New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II and Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook, Alice continues to pioneer new visions of sustenance in an era that needs them more than ever. Full bio.
Davia Nelson, along with co-producer Nikki Silva, is one half of NPR’s dynamic duo The Kitchen Sisters, whose Hidden Kitchens on Morning Edition has uncovered culinary revelations ranging from the immigrant story behind Rice-a-Roni to the dramatic birth of the Frito. Praised by The New Yorker for “producing immersive, beautifully observed, historically relevant stories for public radio since 1979,” The Kitchen Sisters have won two Peabody Awards and a James Beard Award, as well as trained a new generation of voices for public media at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Davia is also a screenwriter and casting director who has worked on such films as The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Rock. She and Nikki are working on their second book, Show the Girls the Snakes, as well as their first Broadway musical. Full bio.
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This program is brought to you by the Schmidt Family Foundation