Uniting farm, food and climate movements to demand equitable solutions to the climate crisis will be the focus of a keynote address by agroecologist, political economist, activist and author Eric Holt-Giménez at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 41st annual conference, A Climate for Change, to be held Feb. 13-15 in Dayton, Ohio.
In his Feb. 15 keynote address, “Food, Farm, and Climate Justice: A New Deal for a Just Transition,” Holt-Giménez will explore the ways in which he sees how extreme weather events, environmental contamination, industrial agriculture, energy infrastructure and other factors have unleashed a perfect storm on our food system, worsening food insecurity and disproportionately affecting family farmers, farmworkers, and people of color. He’ll discuss how farm, food, and climate justice movements can work together to create systemic change, including a resilient and equitable food system and a “green new deal” committed to social justice.
Social movements have an opportunity to join together as never before — not just to get behind the green new deal — but to form a broad-based, multiracial, working-class movement to build political power, says Holt-Giménez. “If farm and food justice demands are articulated in the green new deal, it could help us transform our food system. This would have a major impact on our economy, our health and our environment,” he says.
Agroecology, sustainable food activist
From 2006-2019, Holt-Giménez was the executive director of Food First, where he worked to end the injustices that cause hunger, build a global movement for food sovereignty, and advance agroecology and sustainable food systems. He is now the organization’s director emeritus.
After growing up on farms in Northern California, from 1975 to 2002 Holt-Giménez worked in Mexico, Central America and South Africa in sustainable agricultural development and helped to start the Campesino a Campesino (Farmer to Farmer) movement.
Holt-Giménez is the editor of the Food First book “Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems”; co-author of “Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice”; and author of the books “Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement for Sustainable Agriculture” and “A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism: Understanding the Political Economy of What We Eat.” His work has appeared in many academic, magazine and news articles, including The New York Times and Huffington Post. His latest book is “Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It?”
He holds a master’s degree in international agricultural development from the University of California, Davis, and a doctorate in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz. He has taught development studies at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, Boston University, the National Gastronomic University in Italy, and the Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia.
“Changing everything in order to change our food system seems like an impossibly big task. But the food system can also be a lever for whole systems change. The Green New Deal just might be the fulcrum upon which the farm, food, and climate movements can pivot our society towards the just transition we all urgently need and desire,” Holt-Giménez writes.
Capitalism in food workshop
Holt-Giménez will also lead a 90-minute workshop, “The Capitalism in Our Food,” on Feb. 15.
OEFFA’s 41st annual conference, to be held Feb. 13-15 at the Dayton Convention Center, will also feature keynote speaker Laura Lengnick; more than 70 educational workshops; and three full-day Food and Farm School classes on Feb. 13. There will also be a three-day trade show, evening entertainment, activities for children, locally sourced meals, a raffle, book sales and signings, and more.
A limited number of scholarships are available to persons of color, beginning farmers, livestock and poultry farmers, and Columbus-area farmers, along with reduced-rate volunteer spaces.
For more information about the conference, or to register, go to oeffa.org/conference2020.