Localizing Food to Restore Human Health
As culturally-unique flavors and locally-grown seasonal ingredients disappear while morbidity and obesity rates rise, we face a need for innovation in food like never before; the “scientific” advancements of agriculture in the last hundred years have at best increased yield but at the cost of massive environmental and public health damage; much of what it produces barely qualifies as food.
Yet food exists at the intersection of want and need like nothing else in human nature, and is in a way at the heart of culture, an element that brings us together to connect and exchange ideas. Here, we will discuss the democratization of access to the pure, clean food and flavors of our ancestors, bringing culture back to our tables, habits back to our cooking, and health back to humanity, through a combination of increasingly popular methods that are both old and new.
Bioneers (www.bioneers.org) is a national organization dedicated to social and environmental justice. Bioneers hosts an annual conference in Marin County that attracts over 2000 scholars and activists. UCSC students have created a UCSC version of the Bioneers Conference, thereby enabling our local community to lead intriguing plenary talks and workshops based on the conference topics, which include but are not limited to: Eco-nomics; Ecological Design; Ecological Literacy; Ecological Medicine; Every Women’s Leadership; Indigenous Knowledge; Justice: Racial, LGBT, Human Rights, Equity, and Rights of Nature; Media; Nature, Culture, Spirit; Resilient Communities; Restorative Food Systems; Restoring the Bio-Sphere; and Youth Leadership.
The Edible Education 101 course was created in conjunction with the 40th-anniversary celebration of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard Project, launched the course in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley.
The 2019 offering of Edible Education 101 will focus on how we can each become knowledgeable and empowered to Take Action in transforming the food system to become healthy, sustainable and just.
Out-of-control wildfires, prolonged drought, severe water shortages, and intense heat waves across the globe: the worsening effects of climate change are affecting human and environmental health and accelerate our need to act now. It would be easy to become disheartened and to point fingers at agriculture as one of the major contributors to global warming — was it not for a growing cadre of innovative farmers and ranchers that are restoring working lands to drawdown atmospheric carbon, efficiently recycle nitrogen, and increase water storing capacity.
Many in this forward-thinking group are women, who care deeply about our soil and excel at nurturing it. In what is promising to be yet another compelling prelude to the EcoFarm Conference, we’re teaming up with Paicines Ranch to introduce you to some of the remarkable female farmers, ranchers, scientists, physicians and advocates at the core of the regenerative movement.
Ironically, while there is too much carbon in the atmosphere, agricultural soils the world over are carbon deficient and nutrient depleted, resulting in increased health issues and food insecurity! Not only is restoring our soils to sequester atmospheric carbon the single most viable pathway to reversing global warming, but increased fungal and microbial biodiversity in the soil also translates into myriad co-benefits for human health.
This conference is designed to bring our communities together, establish the current state of our collective knowledge, identify gaps and associated priorities, and outline the paths forward. As we join together – soil health and human health researchers, soil science and medical science practitioners, public health experts and agronomists, policy makers and program funders, let’s use this opportunity to challenge ourselves to listen and think beyond our own professional experiences and disciplines.
Healthy Eating in Practice is a hands-on conference for physicians and other healthcare professionals, focused on changing the culture of healthcare to better support healthy eating behaviors, particularly in children and families, and prevent chronic diet-related diseases.
In addition to presentations by leading practitioners, researchers, and policy experts, attendees will visit area farms, farmers markets, and gardens. Participatory cooking workshops will be team taught by nutrition experts alongside local chefs. Daphne Miller, M.D., author of Farmacology, will give a keynote address on the intersection of farming, food, and health.