Food Justice Weekend Reportback

The annual CFSC Food Justice Conference was in full swing this weekend in Oakland, and Martin Bourque, our Executive Director, was in the thick of it. Here’s his reportback…

Since last October, the Ecology Center has played a leadership role in the Local Host Committee organizing and promoting the Food Justice Conference. The Ecology Center, Bay Area Green Tours, Berkeley Youth Alternatives, and other community partners organized Saturday’s Food Sovereignty Tour of Berkeley’s dynamic alternative food system. The tour stopped at Berkeley Youth Alternatives’ garden patch, our Farmers’ Markets, Cal Dining, and Revival Restaurant. It ended with a panel discussion of some of the original founders of the Berkeley Food Policy Council, including Zenobia Barlow Director of the Center for EcoLiteracy, Sibella Kraus Director of SAGE, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and State Senator Loni Hancock. The Berkeley Food Policy Council is a convening of over 40 local organizations and agencies working to overcome health disparities through food system improvements. Berkeleyside did a good story covering the tour.

On Sunday we participated in a Fair Food march and rally at Trader Joe’s in Oakland, in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers campaign to get a fair labor standards in place for Trader Joe’s tomato purchases. CIM has won such campaigns with McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, and Taco Bell, and has been focusing on retailers in recent months. This lunchtime rally drew over 200 participants from the conference and community. The demands were delivered to the store manager who replied with the company’s standard statement, refusing to negotiate. Demonstrators chanted, “Trader Joe’s owners are the 1 percent, one cent won’t make a dent,” referring to the campaign demand of one penny more per pound to support fair labor practices.

Tuesday morning the Ecology Center is hosting a community conference session on the Future of Farmers Markets. This session will bring together a number of California’s leading farmers’ market managers to discuss current trends and the the future of farmers’ markets in building the alternative food movement.

Wednesday, the Ecology Center will participate in REEL FOOD, a day-long workshop between filmmakers and food systems organizations seeking to create key partnerships to use emerging food-related movies to spur community involvement.

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