Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Upcoming Food Events

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are several fantastic educational events coming up:

Land Occupation in the Global Context
Friday, Sept 7th at 5pm, Morgan Lounge UC Berkeley
A discussion on the relevance of domestic land occupations in the context of international food sovereignty and land reclamation movements.This is a great opportunity to understand food justice in a global context and learn about viable alternatives to corporate agribusiness.
Speakers will include professors Miguel Altieri and Ignacio Chapela, and a Brazilian member of Via Campesina.

CA Speaking Out for Healthier Food
Saturday, Sept. 15th from 3-5:30 at Laney College
Alarmed by the pervasive health risks of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the American diet, leading consumer non-GMO advocate Jeffrey Smith, and well-known author and environmentalist John Robbins have joined forces to present, Truth about GMOs. Highlights include: a sneak preview of Smith’s new movie (Genetic Roulette) and a Q & A with both presenters making a compelling case for voting YES on Prop 37 (Mandatory Labeling of GMOs).   FFAC will be tabling at this event.

Effective Animal Advocacy
Sunday, Sept 23rd at 1pm at 371 10th st SF
Nick Cooney, author of Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change, is hosting this free luncheon & workshop as part of Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities Campaign. Learn how to become a more effective animal activist, then put those skills to practice by leafleting in SF and Berkeley.

Temple Isaiah 7/27/12

Our first event in Los Angeles was a success! I presented at Temple Isaiah, a beautiful synagogue in Cheviot Hills, after Friday night Shabbat services.

The crowd was smaller than usual because we were competing with the Olympics opening ceremony.  But the audience was very engaged – tikkun olam, repairing or healing the world, is a strong value at Temple Isaiah.  They have a Green Team dedicated to environmental stewardship in the community.

“The righteous person regards the life of their animal.” (Proverbs 12:10)

We adapted our usual presentation to include
sections on Jewish values and kosher meat.  Compassion for animals is an important tenet of Judaism.  Unnecessary cruelty to animals is strictly forbidden, as is hunting for sport.  The Torah recognizes the bond between mother and baby animals, and animals are supposed to rest on Shabbat, just like people.

Unfortunately, with the advent of factory farming, the laws of kosher slaughter are often disregarded. Much kosher beef production has moved to Central and South America, where the slaughtering methods violate Jewish laws against cruelty to animals, according to the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards.

Furthermore, there are few guidelines for how animals are raised prior to slaughter – when the Torah was written, no one dreamed that animals would ever be raised indoors by the thousands, in conditions that keep them from engaging in basic natural

Luckily, the members of Temple Isaiah were very open to learning about the current plight of animals and the environment, and were eager to take steps to help end factory farming.

Many thanks to our Los Angeles intern, Charlotte Biren, for organizing the presentation, and thanks to Steve Fox of Temple Isaiah for hosting us.

Corporate Control of the Food System Symposium 4/24/12

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the Corporate Control of the Food System Symposium! You can view photos from the event on our Facebook.

The Oakland Food Policy Council posted a great summary of the Symposium.

For more information on our speakers, please visit their websites:

Also, a big thank you to all of the companies that generously donated food for the event!

  • Whole Soy – yogurt
  • Go Max Go – candy bars
  • Gardein – plant-based protein
  • Primal Strips – vegan jerky
  • Alvarado St. – bread
  • Tofurkey – sandwich cutlets
  • Amy’s Kitchen – chili

Phat Beets Food N’ Justice Workshop

I just presented at the Phat Beets Farmer’s Market as part of their Food N’ Justice Workshop series. It was a small audience, but they were very engaged and readily drew connections to other important food justice work.

Being surrounded by fresh produce from local farmers and farmers of color was very empowering. It felt great to be able to bring the message to people in a context in which they could readily take action – just by walking a few feet away and buying fresh organic strawberries for dessert (instead of ice cream).

Thanks to Phat
for hosting us. They have farmers’ markets every Tuesday at North Oakland Children’s Hospital, Wednesday at Saint Martin de Porres Produce Stand, and Saturday at North Oakland Arlington Medical Center. They also run a fantastic Beet Box CSA program.

Video of the presentation coming soon!

Corporate Control of the Food System Symposium

CFFF is hosting a conference at UC Berkeley on Tuesday, April 24th from 6:30-9pm in 60 Evans.

The influence of corporations extends beyond Wall Street to the very food that we eat. It’s time to take action with our bellies! Reclaim your plate by learning where your food comes from and who it supports, and by eating FREE delicious sustainable food!!

Hillary Lehr from Rainforest Action Network
Who is Cargill, Inc.? Touching every aspect of our food supply from farmer’s gate to your dinner plate, Cargill Inc. is the corporation in your food supply that you are least likely to know. With annual revenues of over $119 billion (bigger than the GDP of 70% of the world’s countries), Cargill is the world’s largest trader of grains, the largest privately held corporation and one of a very small handful of agribusiness giants that
collectively are shaping the increasingly globalized food system to their advantage.

Vishrut Arya from Food First
Economic Roots: Capitalism and the Food System

Katie Cantrell from Coalition to Fight Factory Farming
Smithfield and Dean Foods are two of the largest agribusiness corporations in the world, yet most people don’t connect those names with the bacon and butter on supermarket shelves. Learn about the dominant animal agriculture system in the U.S. and its far-reaching consequences.

Devika Ghai from Pesticide Action Network North America
The Big 6: When a handful of corporations own the world’s seed, pesticide and biotech industries, they control the fate of food and farming. Between them, Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont control the global seed, pesticide and agricultural biotechnology markets.

Ally Beach from Take Back the Tap
The corporate abuses and commodification of
public water for individual profit. Take Back the Tap will look at the water bottle industry and its impact within UC Berkeley, California, the United States and the global community. We will address the future of water as a public good and the ways individuals can work to address the growing issue of water commodification.

Christina Oatfield from the Sustainable Economies Law Center
While we dismantle corporate control of the food system, we need to plan and start to implement ways of producing food that are more appropriate for local communities and the environment. Christina will speak about the California Homemade Food Act and discuss ideas for other legislation that greases the wheels of localized or community-based food economies.

Gwen von Klan from the Berkeley Student Food Collective
The role of local, worker-owned cooperatives in reshaping our food system.

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Oakland High School 4/5/12

CFFF had a wonderful high school debut in a 9th grade English class at Oakland High School. We were presenting in conjunction with Oakland Veg Week, happening April 15-21.

We began with a game in which I asked a question and students stood up if their answer was yes and sat down if their answer was no. This allowed students to get some energy out and directly engage, and it allowed me to assess the attitudes and knowledge of my audience before I started the presentation.

I began by asking students whether they think about where their food comes from before they eat it. Almost every
student indicated that they do not think about where their food comes from, and they seemed surprised by the question. Good thing we were there to get them thinking.

Then I asked if they thought that animals had feelings. Every single person answered yes, animals have feelings, and many people talked about their dogs and cats.

Last I asked whether students get stomach aches after they eat, and about 2/3 of the class said that they sometimes get stomach aches.

After the game, students helped pass out the free food samples provided by donations from VegFund and Safeway. I made chocolate chip cookies and an enchilada casserole, and brought chocolate and vanilla almond milk. Many students were surprised by how good the almond milk tasted, and several students said the food was “hecka good.”

Then I gave a modified version of our presentation. I discussed animals, workers, and the environment, and also addressed health issues. The audience was predominantly African American, so I talked about how African American communities have high rates of diabetes (1 in 4 African Americans will have diabetes by age 55) and heart disease, and how people can reclaim their health from the fast food companies that target their communities by eating a healthier, more plant-based diet.

Students had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the presentation. Many students said that they want to start eating less meat, one student took the Oakland Veg Week Pledge, and other students were enthusiastic about trying the new, healthier recipes that I distributed.

Kidd Co-Op 4/3/12

Kidd Co-Op was one of the few Berkeley Student Cooperative houses that CFFF had never presented to before. Our awesome presenters that night were Tiana and Ashly.

There was a good-sized crowd because we presented during their dinner. However, the audience seemed unusually disengaged. They didn’t react to the presentation and had very few questions or comments, so we were slightly discouraged.

However, a few days after the presentation we received an e-mail from the house manager saying that everyone had been saying great things about the presentation afterwards, and that the house agreed to do a Veg Week. Sometimes appearances can be deceiving!

Sherman Co-op 4/2/12

This was the second time I had presented at Sherman Co-op, the Berkeley Student Cooperative’s all-women house. The audience was relatively small (only 9 people), but very engaged. At the end, two people said that they want to boycott all factory farmed products!

One woman in the audience said that she wished the New York Times would write about this so that more people could find out about the atrocities of factory farming. I was happy to tell her that Mark Bittman, the NYT blogger, writes about factory farming on a regular basis. His most recent article, A Chicken Without Guilt, examines the fake meat industry.

He sums up the choice perfectly: “Would I rather eat cruelly raised, polluting, unhealthful chicken, or a plant product that’s nutritionally similar or superior, good enough to fool me and
requires no antibiotics, cutting off of heads or other nasty things? Isn’t it preferable, at least some of the time, to eat plant products mixed with water that have been put through a thingamajiggy that spews out meatlike stuff, instead of eating those same plant products put into a chicken that does its biomechanical thing for the six weeks of its miserable existence, only to have its throat cut in the service of yielding barely distinguishable meat?”

National Resources Defense Council 3/9/12

National Resources Defense Council hosted one of the swankier presentations we’ve given in their beautiful conference room in downtown San Francisco.

At first there were 15 or so people in attendance, but as word spread around the office that we had plentiful delicious food, the group grew to about 30. Our luncheon included sandwiches donated from Source, one of the newer additions to the SF veg scene, grilled Daiya cheese sandwiches, kale salad, chili, and the best/easiest chocolate chip

I was expecting some tough questions from this crowd of experts, but they were a very receptive and kind audience. NRDC teamed up with the Clean Water Network in 2001 to document the threat that animal waste poses to human and environmental health in their report Cesspools of Shame.

Berkeley Law Panel Discussion 3/6/12

On March 6th, I joined animal lawyer Bruce Wagman for a panel discussion on factory farming. Co-hosted by the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Students for Economic and Environmental Justice, we were part of the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment’s lunchtime speaker series.

There were about 30 law students, UC Berkeley undergrads, and community members in attendance. I began by providing an overview of factory farming, the practices employed by each industry, and the worker and environmental impacts.

Bruce Wagman, animal lawyer and professor at Berkeley, Stanford, and Hastings, spoke about the legal framework currently supporting Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

He addressed the recent Supreme Court ruling which struck down California’s law that “downer” animals too sick to stand must be euthanized immediately
upon arrival at the slaughterhouse. Ruling in favor of the National Meat Association, the Supreme Court held that Federal food standards preempt state laws, and therefore when downer animals arrive at the slaughterhouse they can be held for 24 hours, and if they stand at any point during that time they can be slaughtered for human consumption.

He also touched upon the recent spate of “ag-gag” laws (if you’re unfamiliar with them, check out this article in The Atlantic), as well as Common Farming Exemptions, which exempt common farming practices from state animal welfare laws, essentially allowing the industry to define what counts as cruelty.

Between CFFF and Professor Wagman, it was a powerful and very informative hour. Many thanks to SALDF, SEEJ, and CLEE.

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