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Home    |   Currents   |   7th Annual EJ Symposium — Hungry for Justice: Growing an Equitable Food System

7th Annual EJ Symposium — Hungry for Justice: Growing an Equitable Food System

Feb 27, 2011

Berkeley Law SymposiaCaliforniaEnvironmental JusticeHealthInternationalPolicy & Politics



The Fight Against Hunger Through Progressive Food Stamp Policies

Date:  Monday, February 14, 2011, 12:45 pm
:  Aida Reyes, Maria Aceves, Wendy Limbert, and Joni Halpern (SPIN)
Food:  Cafe Gratitude

Watch video of the event!

Summary:  Community activists from Supportive Parents Information Network (SPIN), a nonprofit organization from San Diego, spoke about the problem of hunger and how their activism has forced the local government to address fundamental problems in its administration of the food stamp program in San Diego County. This panel highlighted the voices of community members as they shared their struggles and triumphs. SPIN's executive director, Joni Halpern, has been a member of the California State Bar since 1995 and a tireless advocate for the poor and homeless.  Boalt's own 2L Hilda Chan worked with SPIN before coming to law school, and continues her service with them during her summers at Boalt.

Notice on a dry-erase board Symposium attendees pick up boxed lunches (from Cafe Gratitude). Panelists with Hilda Chan (center) Panelists
From left to right: Notice left on a dry-erase board the morning of the panel discussion; symposium attendees pick up boxed lunches made by Cafe Gratitude before the panel; Wendy Limbert, Joni Halpern, Hilda Chan, Maria Aceves, and Aida Reyes; Joni Halpern, Maria Aceves, and Aida Reyes. All photos credit to Ziwei Hu.

Reclaiming the Global Food System

Date:  Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 12:45 pm
:  Anuradha Mittal (The Oakland Institute) and Christine Ahn (Korea Policy Institute,
The Oakland Institute)
Food:  Saint Vincent De Paul 

Watch video of the event!

Summary:  Anuradha Mittal, an internationally renowned expert on trade, development and agricultural issues, and Christine Ahn, a frequent writer and commentator on trade policy and human rights for major global news sources, discussed transnational trade frameworks that impact food markets and how they lead to hunger, poverty, and sometimes revolt. Ms. Mittal and Ms. Ahn explained people's potential to change these systems, whether through law, policy, or movements for food sovereignty. Ms. Mittal is the founder of The Oakland Institute, a policy think tank with a mission to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues. Ms. Ahn is a Senior Fellow at The Oakland Institute and Executive Director of the Korea Policy Institute.

See also Christine Ahn & Albie Miles, Free Trade Kills Korean Farmers, Common Dreams, Feb. 15, 2011.

Seph Petta of SEEJ introduces the event. Christine Ahn speaks. Anuradha Mittal speaks. Symposium attendees listen to Anuradha Mittal.
From left to right: Seph Petta, a member of SEEJ, introduces the event and the speakers; Christine Ahn; Anuradha Mittal; symposium attendees listen to Anuradha Mittal. All photos credit to Kasandra Griffin.

Oakland Food Justice Struggles

Date:  Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 12:45 pm
:  Nikki Henderson (People's Grocery), Nancy Nadel (Oakland City Council), and Jenny Kassan (Katovich Law Group, Sustainable Economies Law Center)
Food:  Mandela Foods Cooperative

Watch video of the event!

Summary:  This panel explored the particular food justice challenges facing Oakland, as well as provided examples of tools and strategies for legal advocates. People’s Grocery is an organization that improves the health and economic wealth of the West Oakland community through community building and a local food system. Nikki Henderson, the executive director of People’s Grocery, is a strong advocate for giving low-income communities in urban areas access to healthy foods. People's Grocery has an Urban Agriculture program that includes community gardens and a greenhouse facility, as well as the Grub Box program that provides low-­income West Oakland residents with fresh organic produce. Nancy Nadel, serving her fourth term as District 3’s council member in the City of Oakland, has been a leader on environmental justice issues and cares deeply about sustainable development. Jenny Kassan's law practice focuses on environmentally friendly and socially responsible business ventures, including cooperatives. A graduate of Yale Law School, Jenny has worked for the Unity Council, Ralph Nader's Center for Study of Responsive Law,and California Rural Legal Assistance. She also serves on the board of numerous nonprofit organizations, including Community Ventures, Sustainable Business Alliance, Post Carbon Institute, and Sustainable Economies Law Center. 

Elizabeth Sarine introduces the speakers Nikki Henderson speaks Nancy Nadel speaks Jenny Kassan speaks
From left to right: Elizabeth Sarine, a member of SEEJ, introduces the event and the speakers (photo credit to Kasandra Griffin); Elizabeth watches as Nikki Henderson speaks (photo credit to Ziwei Hu); Nancy Nadel (photo credit to Kasandra Griffin); Jenny Kassan (photo credit to Kasandra Griffin). 

Fair Labor and Food Security for California Farm Workers

Date:  Thursday, February 17, 2011, 12:45 pm
:  Alegría De La Cruz (CRPE), Christy Getz (College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley), and Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern (Department of Geography, UC Berkeley)
Food:  Sunrise Deli and Indian Flavors Express 

Watch video of the event!

Summary:  Panelists Alegría De La Cruz, Christy Getz, Ph.D., and Laura­‐Anne Minkoff­‐Zern discussed the challenges facing those involved in the production of food, with a focus on California farmworkers. Alegría De La Cruz is the Legal Director of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. The daughter and granddaughter of farmworker organizers, she obtained her J.D. from Boalt Hall in 2003 and has also worked at California Rural Legal Assistance as an advocate for farmworkers in the Central Valley. Dr. Getz is a cooperative extension specialist in the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. Her research and outreach promotes socially just sustainable development in California and focuses on community and economic development, social justice and labor, and sustainable food systems and food security in natural resource dependent industries. Laura-­Anne Minkoff-­Zern is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography at UC Berkeley. She researches farmworker food insecurity along California's North Central Coast.  Her research looks at the structural causes of farmworker food insecurity and investigates some of the current approaches to alleviating such insecurity, focusing specifically within the Oaxacan immigrant population.

Devi Chandrasekaran Alegría De La Cruz Christy Getz Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern
From left to right: Devi Chandrasekaran introduces the event and the speakers; Alegría De La Cruz; Christy Getz; Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern. All photos stills from video of the event.

Student Participation

  • Anne Bellows
  • Michelle Ben-David
  • Dan Carlin
  • Hilda Chan
  • Devi Chandrasekaran
  • Marlene Dehlinger
  • Ubaldo Fernandez
  • Nell Green Nylen
  • Jon Guss
  • Ziwei Hu
  • Sushil Jacob
  • Leina Ley
  • Tony LoPresti
  • Camille Pannu
  • Seph Petta
  • Swati Prakash
  • Elizabeth Sarine
  • Ryan Shaening Pokrasso
  • Nikhil Vijaykar
  • Eve Weissman

Symposium Co-Sponsors

Ecology Law Quarterly (ELQ), Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE), Berkeley Water Center (BWC), Law Students of African Descent (LSAD), Native American Law Students Association (NALSA), Environmental Law Society (ELS), Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, The Graduate Assemby (GA), and Boalt Hall Student Association (BHSA).

Copyright 2011 Ecology Law Currents. All rights reserved.

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