Saturday, July 4, 2009

A weekend to reclaim democracy

During this celebratory weekend of national Independence, it seems like a good time to tell the story of a recent talk by one of my food heroes, Raj Patel. Raj, author of Stuffed and Starved, has brought international policy into the consciousness of today's local food movement.

Don't get me wrong, I look for Fair Trade coffee, stay away from GMOs, curse those Monsanto ads that have become a national model of greenwashing, I consider myself a Vandana Shiva devotee and I've even forsaken my breakfast banana in the name of environmental stewardship and social justice...but until S&S came out in 2007, I wasn't paying enough attention to the connection between the food on my table and the international policies that put it there. Link
Maybe it's his witty delivery and dashing good looks...but I think it's really Raj Patel's ability to both embrace the complexity of these issues and explain it into digestible parts (without dumbing it down).

Here are some of the highlights/quotes from his talk at ATA:
  • It is an American illusion that we can buy ourselves OUT of this food crisis
  • Free markets are great, unfortunately they don't exist
  • Food crisis as violence against women.
  • We must Reclaim Democracy for we are its proprietors
Don't miss his speaking events--he's a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, so he's around town, watch this space to keep up with him.

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