Today is World Refugee Day, the most contentious one in recent memory. Refugee resettlement once enjoyed bipartisan support in the United States, but in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and Orlando there are few issues more polarizing in this election year. At the center of the storm are Syrian refugees fleeing persecution, many of them making the deadly passage across the Mediterranean. Fear-mongering conservatives demand that all Syrians be kept out of the United States. Liberals call for granting entry to a select few, albeit under strict guidelines.
Last year, I gave a TEDMED talk about some of the people we’ve been following at the Soils, Food and Healthy Communities Project in Northern Malawi. Here’s the talk, and accompanying post, courtesy of TEDMED. See more of the footage at the GenerationFoodProject.org
If it seems like I’ve been awfully quiet on this website, I’ve more than made up for it by being moderately loud with Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy at our new podcast. The full press release is below. At some point, I’ll figure out how to make the audio available right here but meantime, do have a listen. We’re particularly pleased to have had one of the last interviews with Sidney Mintz before his death, and to have covered everything from prison food to salmon. Coming soon: breastmilk, soylent, quinoa and, always, capitalism, colonialism and death. It’s a riot.
When the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations announced it was going to take agroecology sufficiently seriously to hold a conference on it, reasonable people were pleased, and sceptical. Pleased because the FAO has been agnostic about agroecology’s scientific developments in addressing problems that the FAO itself is charged with tackling. Sceptical because the reason’s for the FAO’s historical reticence are hardly going to be fixed by a conference. Nonetheless, the great and the good from agroecology made the case in front of a bevvy of senior officials. After the event, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, proclaimed that “today a window was opened in what for 50 years has been the cathedral of the Green Revolution.”
While I slog away at the Generation Food project, here’s more from the occasional series of pamphlets and books from the history of the food movement – a 1988 lecture by the excellent Joan Dye Gussow: Women, Food, and the Survival of the Species. With thanks, as ever, to DBS, and to Joan.
In San Francisco, from April 25-28, 400 people from across the country and around the world gathered to discuss an awkward problem – land reform in America. Land reform is a loaded term, one that reeled conference participants’ imaginations toward the antics of Third World dictators and communist zealots. It’s hard to conceive a more un-American activity than thinking about an alternative to private property. Yet here were the Friends of the Earth next to the NAACP west coast region, alongside the Archdiocese of Kansas doing exactly that.