January 24, 2017—Galvanized by fiery keynote speaker Saru Jayaraman, an audience comprised of more than 200 students, faculty, staff and community members participated in the CSWS symposium ”Food First: Justice, Security, and Sovereignty” on January 23 at various locales on the UO campus. The mix of events included a morning panel, a noon-time teach-in, a documentary film, and a late afternoon keynote address and book signing.
Jayaraman, cofounder and codirector of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley, talked about her research and activism among food service workers, a work force that represents 7 of the 10 lowest paid jobs in the United States. Participants also learned more about organizing among farm workers through morning panelist Ramón Ramirez, president of Oregon’s farmworker union Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN).
Marissa Garcia, executive director of Huerto de la Familia in Eugene, spoke about bringing food security to low-income Latino residents in our community by providing garden spaces. Sarah Cunningham, an anthropology professor at Oregon State University, talked about OSU’s interdisciplinary program Food in Culture and Social Justice, which she coordinates. The symposium was the third presentation in CSWS’s year-long Lorwin Lecture series focused on Women and Work.