Wednesday, December 21st


Edible Education

From the course description:

The food movement is a big, lumpy tent under which many different groups are gathering: organic agriculture, school lunch reform, food safety, animal welfare, hunger and food security, farm bill reform, farm-to-school efforts, urban agriculture, food sovereignty, local food economies, etc. As a subject, food is remarkably multi-disciplinary, drawing on everything from economics and agronomy to sociology, anthropology, and the arts. In this course, each week lecturers representing a wide variety of disciplines will explore what their particular area of expertise has to offer the food movement to help it define and achieve its goals. Students will have the opportunity to volunteer for a food-related non-profit organization three hours a week throughout the semester, and to write a short reflective essay synthesizing what they have learned through their volunteer work with what they have learned from the lectures and readings.

Lecture Schedule:

August 30: The Global Food Movement

What is the Global Food Movement? Given your experience of more than two decades of work, how has the movement changed and where do you foresee it going in the future? What do you think the biggest challenges will be and how will we overcome them?

Speaker:  CARLO PETRINI with CORBY KUMMER, Introduced by Instructor NIKKI HENDERSON


Carlo Petrini is the founder and president of the international Slow Food movement, based in Bra, Italy. For over twenty years, Petrini has worked to promote local communities of farmers and artisan food producers throughout the world. Slow Food is an international, member-supported non-profit organization with over 100,000 members in 1,300 local chapters, and a network of 2,000 food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable food production. Slow Food is the convener of “Terra Madre,” a biennial conference in Turin Italy bringing together 40,000 farmers, ranchers, and other food producers, in addition to scholars and policy makers in agriculture, economics, and education, from more than 150 countries. In 2004, Petrini founded the University of Gastronomic Sciences and was named one of Time Magazine’s heroes of the year. 


Corby Kummer is a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, where he writes a monthly food column. He is also a restaurant critic for Boston Magazine, and curator of The Atlantic Food Channel, a blog devoted to food. Mr. Kummer is the winner of five James Beard Foundations Awards, presented by the James Beard Foundation for food writing. Mr. Kummer works closely with Carlo Petrini and often serves as his interpreter in high profile public engagements.


Nikki Henderson is the Executive Director of the People’s Grocery in Oakland, California. Nikki began her work in social justice through the foster care system in Southern California, having been raised with seven older foster brothers. Through mentoring, tutoring, and directing Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops, she developed her passion for youth leadership development among communities of color. She later shifted into sustainability, developing course curriculum for the University of California system and advocating across the state for environmental justice and political ecology.

September 6: Food as Culture

The role of culture and the arts in deepening and strengthening the social and political roots of the food movement — the aesthetics of shaping, informing and engaging diverse citizens and re-imagining the public sphere.


Opera, theater, and festival director Peter Sellars is one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the performing arts in America and abroad. A visionary artist, Sellars is known for ground-breaking interpretations of classic works. Whether it is Mozart, Handel, Shakespeare, Sophocles, or the 16th-century Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, Peter Sellars strikes a universal chord with audiences, engaging and illuminating contemporary social and political issues. In 2011 he staged “Nixon in China” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; “Hercules” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; “The Winds of Destiny” at the Ojai Music Festival and Cal Performances; and “Griselda” at the Santa Fe Opera. Sellars is a professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA and Resident Curator of the Telluride Film Festival. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize, the Sundance Institute Risk-Takers Award, and the Gish Prize, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

September 13: The Politics of Food

In what ways is food political? What are the leverage points for political change related to food? How have politics influenced the development of the food system at large? How can we expect these issues to change as our population becomes larger, more diverse, and less economically stable?

Speaker:   MARION NESTLE, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She received her Ph.D. in molecular biology and her M.P.H. in public health nutrition both from the University of California, Berkeley. She is chair of the Council on Nutrition Policy of the National Association for Public Health Policy. Her research focuses on the socioeconomic influences on food choice, obesity, and food safety. The author of numerous publications and books, Nestle writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle, and also writes for www.foodpolitics.com.

Followed by a book signing with Marion Nestle

September 20: Perspectives on Race, Place, and Food

Race and place have played a large role in shaping current dynamics, relationships, and injustices in the food system. Social circumstances and biases determine resource allocation, food access, and (in large part) the health of a community. How have these underlying tensions impacted communities across the country? What kind of dialogue and action is necessary to create real solutions for real people?

Speakers: ALEGR€¼A DE LA CRUZ, Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment; REBECCA FLOURNOY, PolicyLink; YVONNE YEN LIU, Applied Research Center/Colorlines, Inc.


Alegría De La Cruz is the Legal Director at the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. She was born in Delano, California to a family of farm worker organizers. Alegria has used her experience in international economic development, as a legal advocate at California Rural Legal Assistance, and as a Roots of Change Fellow to advocate for farm workers in the Central Valley and centralize justice in the food movement. At the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, she litigates and advocates on behalf of environmental justice communities statewide. Alegria has a law degree from the University of CA Berkeley.


Rebecca Flournoy is the Associate Director of PolicyLink. There she leads research, policy analysis, capacity-building, and advocacy efforts to improve community environments in ways that support good health. Her work focuses on ensuring equitable access to high quality and affordable healthy food, as well as healthy school and housing environments, clean air, appealing and safe opportunities for physical activity, and other components of healthy communities. Flournoy has played a key role in advancing a national Healthy Food Financing Initiative and related efforts in California. She has over 15 years of experience in public health, and holds an M.P.H. from the University of Michigan. Before joining PolicyLink, Flournoy was a researcher at the Kaiser Family Foundation, collaborating on survey projects with reporters at The Washington Post and National Public Radio.


Yvonne Liu is the Senior Research Associate at the Applied Research Center, where she co-authored the recently published, The Color of Food, a groundbreaking study mapping the race, gender and class of workers along the food supply chain. Her policy analysis and research work focuses on healthcare, education, labor, and urban planning. Yvonne worked for 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East as a researcher in New York, where she tracked state healthcare reform and conducted comprehensive research on major healthcare systems. Yvonne has a MA degree in Sociology from City University of New York.

September 27: Nutrition, Health, and Diet Related Disease

How sick is America? What will happen to a country whose children have shorter life expectancies than their parents? What are the influences contributing to unhealthy eating habits in America? What steps can food producers and others in the food system take to address this health crisis?


Patricia Crawford is the Director of the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley. For more than 20 years she has conducted research in the prevention of childhood obesity. Ms. Crawford is currently leading studies evaluating the impact of legislation to improve the foods in California schools, examining implementation of school wellness policies, and evaluating the impact of large scale community interventions to create healthy food and activity environments for children. She serves on a number of advisory boards including the California Legislative Task Force on Diabetes & Obesity and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies’ Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention.


Robert Lustig is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, in the Division of Endocrinology and the Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) at UCSF. He studies neuroendocrinology, with a specific emphasis on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. Dr. Lustig has authored over 85 research articles and 45 chapters.  He is the former Chairman of the Obesity Task Force of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, a member of the Obesity Task force of The Endocrine Society, and on the Steering Committee of the International Endocrine Alliance to Combat Obesity. Dr. Lustig graduated from MIT, and received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College.

October 4: Corporations and the Food Movement

Movies like Food Inc., Supersize Me, and King Corn suggest that large, conglomerate corporations are part of the problem with the way we eat our food. What’s the other side of the story? How do those entities think about food now, and how are they starting to share food movement values?

Speakers: JACK SINCLAIR, Executive Vice President of Grocery Merchandise, Wal-Mart, and JIB ELLISON, CEO, Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting, in conversation with author MICHAEL POLLAN


Jack Sinclair is the Executive Vice President of the food division for Walmart U.S., responsible for the company’s overall strategy for food and grocery. He works to integrate planning, category management, store experience and private brand development into the grocery business unit. Sinclair joined Walmart from McCurrach, a U.K.-based field merchandising business. He has worked in the retail food business since 1982 when he began his career as a trainee at Shoppers’ Paradise in the United Kingdom. He worked for Tesco and Safeway PLC, where he eventually served on the board of directors that led the merger of Safeway PLC and Morrisons.


Jib Ellison is the founder and CEO of Blu Skye Strategy Consulting where he leads a small team of strategy experts who work with Fortune 50 companies to transform markets – and to create new ones. His process is premised upon using sustainability to reveal new market opportunities, engage senior management and employees, and leverage his considerable network of experts to do well by doing good. In this way, Ellison and his team expand conventional definitions of value, opportunity and change. His recent clients include Hilton, Microsoft, SC Johnson, Sony Pictures, Staples, Walmart, and Waste Management.


Michael Pollan is the author, most recently, of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. His previous book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by The New York Times and The Washington Post. He is also the author of The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, A Place of My Own, and Second Nature. A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003 and the Reuters-I.U.C.N. 2000 Global Award for Environmental Journalism. Pollan served for many years as executive editor of Harper’s Magazine and is now the Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley.

October 11: School Lunch and Edible Schoolyards

What are the challenges and opportunities around transforming school lunch? How is school lunch integral to an edible education curriculum?


Ann Cooper is an author, chef, educator, and advocate for better food for all children. The “Renegade Lunch Lady” is a partner of Lunch Lessons, LLC, the Director of Nutrition Services for Boulder Valley School District, and Founder of Food Family Farming Foundation’s Lunch Box Project. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Cooper has been featured inThe New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post,The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and Time Magazine and has appeared onNPR’s ‘Living on Earth,’ABC’s Nightline, CNN,PBS’ To The Contrary and theCBS Morning Show and many other media outlets. She is the author of four books, including Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children (2006)>Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children(2006).

October 18: Feeding the World

The international food complex has changed significantly over the last twenty years. How does the food economy shape countries’ access to good food?

Speaker: RAJ PATEL

Raj Patel is a writer, activist and academic. He has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world. He’s currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a fellow at The Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First. He has testified about the causes of the global food crisis to the US House Financial Services Committee and is an Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. In addition to numerous scholarly publications, he regularly writes for The Guardian, and has contributed to the LA Times, NYTimes.com, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Mail on Sunday, and The Observer. His first book was Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and his latest, The Value of Nothing, is a New York Times best-seller.

October 25: Agriculture and Social Justice

Is clean, fair food a right for all or an elitist concept? Good food is expensive. How do concepts of elitism interact with good food? What implications does the price of food have on America at large? How do labor practices in the food system affect its ability to be equitable for all?



Eric Schlosser is the author of the book, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, published in 2001. A film based on the book was directed by Richard Linklater in 2006. Schlosser was an executive producer of the film, There Will Be Blood (2007), and a co-producer of the documentary, Food Inc., (2008). His interest in food issues began in the early 1990s, when he followed the strawberry harvest in California for The Atlantic Monthly. His essay on the exploitation of migrant farm workers, “In the Strawberry Fields,” later appeared in his book Reefer Madness (2006). Schlosser is currently at work on a book about nuclear weapons.


Greg Asbed is a Co-Founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization.  He works with farmworkers and their student, labor, and religious allies to organize the national Campaign for Fair Food, a breakthrough worker-based approach to corporate accountability in the agricultural industry known for its creativity and effectiveness.  He writes and designs the CIW’s main communication tool — the website  www.ciw-online.org. He also coordinates the CIW’s negotiating team in talks with food industry leaders, negotiating “Fair Food” agreements with nine multi-billion dollar retail food corporations to date, including McDonald’s, Subway, Sodexo, and Whole Foods.  He is currently leading the effort to develop and implement innovative new farm labor standards in collaboration with two of Florida’s largest tomato growers, paving the way for the implementation of the CIW’s Fair Food Code of Conduct across the entire Florida tomato industry in November, 2011.  Mr. Asbed is one of the authors featured in the textbook Bringing Human Rights Home:  Portraits of the Movement (2008).  He has an M.A. in International Economics and Social Change and Development from Johns Hopkins SAIS and is fluent in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.  He has also spent the past fifteen seasons harvesting watermelons in the states of Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Maryland.


Mr. Benitez is a co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW).  The CIW is a grassroots, membership-led organization of migrant agricultural workers based in Florida that seeks justice for a range of human rights abuses and promotes the fair treatment of workers in accordance with international labor standards. Its membership consists of over 4,000 workers, who are largely Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants. 

Mr. Benitez has been called “one of the most visible farmworker leaders in the U.S.” (Los Angeles Times), and “the Cesar Chavez of the new millennium” (El Diario, New York).  He has won numerous national and international awards for his exemplary leadership, including: the Rolling Stone Magazine “Brick” Award for “America’s Best Young Community Leader”; the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award; and, along with two co-workers, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, for innovative work in combating modern-day slavery.

As remarkable as these achievements are, they are all the more remarkable given Mr. Benitez’ background.  He came from a poor family of Mexican farmworkers, and he worked for over 9 years throughout the Southeastern United States from Florida to North Carolina harvesting tomatoes, oranges, and other crops.   The abuses that he witnessed and experienced as a farmworker led him to begin participating in organizing efforts in Immokalee.  The CIW began as a small group of workers who met after work to reflect upon the extreme poverty and brutal mistreatment that the workers suffered.  In those early years, Mr. Benitez was one of the community leaders of actions focused in Immokalee, including 3 community-wide work stoppages, a 30-day hunger strike, a campaign against violence in the fields, and a 230-mile march across the state of Florida.

Mr. Benitez has also been central to the CIW’s Anti-Slavery Campaign, uncovering and investigating multi-worker, multi-state forced labor operations, and assisting federal authorities in prosecutions such as US vs. Cuello, US vs. Ramos, and others.  In the course of such work, Mr. Benitez helped workers to escape from a labor camp where they were being held against their will, located key witnesses, and helped victims recovering from slavery.

Today, Mr. Benitez is a leading voice for what is now a national movement, the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food.  An alliance of workers and consumers, the Campaign calls on corporate buyers of produce to take part in ending labor abuses in their supply chains. 

October 24 – 28: Multiple screenings of Food, Inc. on campus, location TBA; open to students only

November 1:  What is an Edible Education?


Alice Waters, chef, author, and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, is an American pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is “good, clean, and fair.” Over the course of forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh ingredients. In 1996, Waters’ commitment to education led to the creation of The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School: a one-acre garden, and adjacent kitchen-classroom at a public middle school. Alice established the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1996 to support the Edible Schoolyard and encourage similar programs that use food traditions to teach, nurture, and empower youth. Waters is Vice President of Slow Food International and the author of nine books, including The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution.

November 8:  Food and the Environment

As the world’s population grows and the environment changes, in what ways will our food production system need to change? What policies will shape the future?

Speakers: FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ and GIDON ESHEL, moderated by NIKKI HENDERSON, Executive Director, The People’s Grocery, Followed by book signing with Frances Moore Lappé


Frances Moore Lappé is the author of the recently released EcoMind and seventeen other books including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet. She is the cofounder of three organizations, including Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and, more recently, the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. Frances and her daughter have also cofounded the Small Planet Fund, which channels resources to democratic social movements worldwide. In 2008 she received the James Beard Foundation ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ Award for her lifelong impact on the way people all over the world think about food, nutrition, and agriculture.

GIDON ESHEL, Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A.

Gidon Eshel teaches environmental science, geophysics and applied mathematics at Bard College in New York. His research addresses basic climate physics as well as geophysics of food production. Eshel holds a Ph.D., M.Phil. and M.A. in geophysics from Columbia University in New York City, and a bachelor’s degree from the Technion, in Israel. Eshel is the lead author of numerous scientific papers on geophysics of food, among them Diet, Energy and Global Warming (2006) and Geophysics and Nutritional Science: Toward a Novel, Unified Paradigm, and the forthcoming Dietary Choices’ Effects on Land Use and Reactive Nitrogen Discharge (2011). His latest book, Spatiotemporal Data Analysis is published by Princeton University Press, and is to appear this December. Born and raised in Israel, Eshel grew up on a Kibbutz, and spent his youth in the Kibbutz’s 1,000-head Holstein dairy farm. After his military service, and before becoming an academic, he spent several years raising beef cattle in northern Israel and the Golan Heights. Eshel lectures widely on food-climate interactions.

November 15: No Class

November 22: Topic TBD

Speakers: VAN JONES

Van Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy. He is a co-founder of three successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. He is the best-selling author of the definitive book on green jobs: The Green-Collar Economy. He served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009. Jones is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress. Additionally, he is a senior policy advisor at Green For All. He also holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is on the board of several organizations and non-profits, including Demos, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and the Campaign for America’s Future.


November 29: Place Based Models of Change

In recent years, there have been astonishing examples of communities creating their own solutions to food injustice. Residents, community-based organizations and government are working together to build infrastructure for local, equitable food systems. How do grassroots organizations work effectively with residents and government? How do you handle issues of race, class and power when working toward local solutions in low-income communities of color? What does an effective network of healthy food resources in a local community look like?

Speakers: BRAHM AHMADI , People’s Community Market; HANK HERRERA , Dig Deep Farms and Produce


Brahm Ahmadi is an advocate, organizer and social entrepreneur working to build healthier and more equitable inner city communities by creating meaningful change and innovation to critical facets of the food system. In 2003, Brahm co-founded People’s Grocery, a nonprofit organization that has attracted local and national attention for its effort to transform inner city food systems through a suite of projects in food enterprise, urban agriculture, nutrition education and youth development that include the nation’s first Mobile Market. In 2010, founded People’s Community Market (PCM) to create a food retail business model that is designed for and dedicated to health and wellbeing of low-income communities. In parallel to developing a retail store, Brahm is developing a number of online resources to support grocers in making a greater impact on the health and social needs of low-income communities. Brahm has spoken at many universities and conferences and has been featured in media such as Newsweek, People Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Jose Mercury News. He has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California and an M.B.A. from the Presidio School of Management.


Hank Herrera currently serves as general manager for Dig Deep Farms & Produce, a project of the Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs Activities League. The purpose of this project is to grow and sell healthy, affordable local food to residents of Ashland and Cherryland, unincorporated communities in Alameda County; to create sustainable, living wage jobs for community residents; and to bring the social, community and economic benefits of a local food enterprise network. He also serves as Coordinator for Community Action Research for the Food Dignity Project, a five-year study of how five communities in the US build sustainable community food systems to reduce food insecurity. The Agriculture Food and Research Initiative of the USDA funded this project with a grant to the University of Wyoming. Dr. Christine Porter is Principle Investigator.




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