A group of students and faculty in School of International Service are organizing a symposium next month entitled US Farm Bill 2012: Policy & Potential.
The intention of this symposium, held during AU Earth Weeks, is to provide a forum wherein growers, community advocates, policy-makers, scholars, and students from across the disciplines can meet to discuss to upcoming US Farm Bill 2012. We wish to offer an intellectual space within which the many stakeholders of agricultural policy can meet to address the vast national and international implications of this omnibus legislation—and to debate and explore its (considerable) potential for cultivating community food security and public health through ecologically sustainable agriculture. Our goal is to broaden and deepen this critical conversation—within and beyond the academy—and reflect upon the many issues at stake.
The symposium begins with a morning panel on DC-based and AU-based initiatives for sustainable agriculture and community food security (with speakers from DC Central Kitchen, Common Good City Farm, and AU Community Garden–among others). At 10:30am, we have the chance to hear EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson reflect on recent agricultural politics at the EPA (this is hosted by Kogod’s new Sustainable Management Program).
At noon, a Sustainable Lunch ($12) will be served during a Grower Presentation Panel in SIS Founder’s Room, wherein the chief agricultural providers of the meal each give a brief introduction to their farm and explain their own relationship with the US Farm Bill policies.
The afternoon includes two panels: the first exploring national effects of the US Farm Bill on US growers, laborers, and eaters; the second exploring the international effects of the Farm Bill on growers and eaters worldwide. Speakers for the former include scholars Melanie DuPuis, co-author of (2011) Alternative Food Politics, Tracie MacMillan, author of (2011) The American Way of Eating, and leaders of Food & Water Watch, Environmental Working Group, and Creating Community and Healthy Environments–dedicated to overcoming urban nutrition disparities. Speakers for the latter panel include senior policy advisors and scholars from Oxfam, Institute for Foreign Policy, IFPRI, Feed the Future, and more.
Our evening Keynote Speaker Roundtable highlights the agricultural policy expertise of three esteemed guests: Representative Chellie Pingree (co-sponsor Local Farm, Food & Jobs Act); Under Secretary of Agriculture Michael Cluse of USDA; and Dan Imhoff, author of book series Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Farm Bill; CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories; and Farming with the Wild: Enhancing Biodiversity on Farms and Ranches.
The day-long event culminates with a Reception in the new AU Community Garden, with live music by AU SPA Prof. Ivers’ own jazz ensemble and locally-sourced light fare.
Also, in the days before the symposium, GEP graduate students will be leading a US Farm Bill 101 Teach-In w/ Freshly-baked Pies, so as to offer a pre-symposium introduction to the Farm Bill. (Date TBA)
Currently, speaker honorariums and travel are being covered by SIS’ Global Environmental Politics program. The Steering Committee is now fund-raising to cover the Sustainable Lunch and Reception costs. Accordingly, we are seeking on- and off-campus co-sponsors for in-kind food and/or financial donations. Our primary reason for seeking co-sponsors, however, is to make social and intellectual connections with those at AU and in the community at large who are also interested in cultivating sustainable, equitable, and healthy agriculture and food systems–in DC, US, and abroad–and who wish to engage policy to do so.
We thank you for your time and sincerely look forward to working with you.