Kitchen Table Talks: Next Gen Food Activists

Food is the pulse of the millennial generation as thousands of young people are propelling the new good food movement forward by planting the seeds of a more just and sustainable food system. Across the country, students are activating for social change on campuses, while hundreds of new farmers and gardeners are digging into neighborhoods, and innovative food ventures are sprouting up. Come meet some of the best and brightest of these young food activists on Tuesday, May 3, as Kitchen Table Talks, in conjunction with UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, hosts a lively discussion with some of the leading youth voices whose mandate is food.

Joining us in conversation will be:

Nikhil Arora is a former Hass School of Business graduate and the co-founder of Back to the Roots, which produces grow-at-home mushroom kits grown from recycled coffee grounds. On pace to collect and divert over one million pounds of coffee grounds this year, it recently launched in 250 Whole Foods nationwide and can be found at Peet’s Coffee, as well as other natural food markets. Back to the Roots has helped sustain 10 urban schools gardens by donating their premium soil amendment.

James Berk is an owner-worker at Mandela Foods Cooperative (a program of Mandela Marketplace) a locally-owned and operated full-service grocery store and nutrition education center located in West Oakland, a community long underserved in grocery retail. Berk also does youth empowerment work with West Oakland Youth Standing Empowered and works with the Healthy Neighborhood Stores Alliance, which focuses on getting nutritious food and positive businesses practices into convenience stores. He has been honored for his work with the Robert Redford Center’s The Art of Activism award.

Yonatan Landau is the co-founder and director of the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFed), a network, training program, and research institute that helps students create sustainable food cooperatives on their campuses. Before his current gig, he launched a successful campaign to prevent the first fast food chain from opening at UC Berkeley and helped raise over $120,000 for a cooperative alternative, the Berkeley Student Food Collective.

Samin Nosrat creates community around food with her varied endeavors as a cook, teacher, writer, and accidental activist. Since Eccolo, a restaurant she helped run, closed in 2009, she has tirelessly questioned and experimented with what it means to be a professional cook. She is known for the Pop-Up General Store, Tartine Afterhours dinners, Home Ec Cooking Classes, and the most recently successful Bakesale for Japan. At the heart of all of her work lies the fundamental belief in the power of food to create meaningful connection.

Hải Võ organizes with Live Real, a new initiative building community with youth across the country around food cultures and policies based on respect for ourselves, each other, and the Earth, and is currently recruiting Real Food Fellows as part of the initiative.  A member of the California Food and Justice Coalition, he is helping coordinate community activities for the Community Food Security Conference this November in Oakland.  Vo has organized and participated in youth-led food justice initiatives, including the Real Food Challenge, California Student Sustainability Coalition, and the Student Farmworker Alliance.

Haleh Zandi is a co-founder, permaculture landscaper, and community organizer with Planting Justice, a non-profit organization based in Oakland, CA dedicated to food justice, economic justice, and sustainable local food systems. She strives to implement notions of human rights into practice by taking back public spaces so that every community, within Oakland and to Tehran, has access and sovereignty over affordable, nutritious food.

When: Tuesday, May 3 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: UC Berkeley School of Journalism, Room 105, Northgate Hall, Berkeley, CA

This event is free and open to public. Space is limited, so please RSVP with consideration.

Kitchen Table Talks is a joint venture of CivilEats and 18 Reasons, a non-profit that promotes conversation between its San Francisco Mission neighborhood and the people who feed them. Food generously donated by Gather Restaurant.

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