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You’ve heard me, and undoubtedly others, discussing the unprecedented interdisciplinary Food Justice conference coming to the University of Oregon next weekend, February 19-21.  The conference is free and open to the public, and features talks from your favorite local and national food thinkers and doers; art; a theatrical reading; tours; and a food fair with educational booths from food organizations.

And best yet, it’s in your own backyard.  This conference has the potential to change minds and raise awareness about food systems and sustainability.  Don’t miss it!

On a personal note, I’m pleased that the new Master Food Preservers Alliance will be at the food fair with a tentative schedule of 2011 low-cost food preservation and safety classes.  Please stop by and say hello!  And while you’re at it, say hello to a volunteer at the fair, since it is likely to be one of my Honors College students.

I’m also thrilled to be involved in two sessions, one on “Cultivating Oregon’s Agriculture” (Session G) and another on “Urban Farms, Micro-Ranches & Greenhorns” (Session H), both on Monday.  I’m moderating the first and responding to speakers in the second.

But you want to know about the big ticket items, right?  Here they are, brought to you by conference convener UO Professor Allison Carruth.

Program Highlights

  • On Friday, February 18th, there will be a staged reading of a community-based play written by Professor Theresa J. May with members of the Karuk, Hupa and Yurok communities, who have been directly affected by fish kill on the Klamath River in Oregon. The play is called Salmon is Everything. The reading will take place in a beautiful building at the University, the Many Nations Longhouse.
  • The conference proper will begin on Saturday, February 19th with Frederick Kirschenmann‘s opening plenary address (scheduled from 4:00-6:00 that evening). Kirschenmann is a longtime farmer and farmer advocate in the United States, and he currently serves as a fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa.
  • On Sunday, February 20th, there will be a full day of panel sessions on topics ranging from food empowerment in Latino communities in Oregon and California to “GMOs: Perspectives from Law & Literature.” The keynote event that day is a panel on emerging research in GMOs, genetics and sustainable agriculture, featuring Charles Benbrook, Ignacio Chapela, Stephen Jones and David Cleveland. Sunday will also mark the opening of FOOD: An Art Exhibition, which will take place in Lawrence Hall in the LaVerne Krause Gallery.
  • The final day of the conference is Monday, February 21st. The program that day begins with keynote sessions featuring Darra Goldstein, the founding editor of the journal Gastronomica, and a roundtable of six inspiring nonprofit leaders. These leaders come from Milwaukee, Portland, Eugene, Seattle and Boulder, Colorado. The afternoon will then turn to a slate of six exciting panel sessions.
  • Vandana Shiva‘s Closing Plenary is also on Monday.  All of the free tickets to Dr. Shiva’s plenary have been distributed. However, we will be simulcasting Dr. Shiva’s plenary to two overflow rooms. The seating in the overflow rooms will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The procedure for non-ticketholders is as follows: Line up on the first floor of the EMU as directed by event staff, beginning at 4:30 pm on Monday, February 21st. Event staff will direct non-ticketholders into the first overflow room (The EMU Fir Room). Once all seats are full in that first overflow room, the event staff will direct remaining non-ticketholders to the second overflow room (Lawrence Hall, Room 177), which is about a 3-minute walk.
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