Part I: Lana Dee Povitz, Stirrings, How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice
In the last three decades of the twentieth century, government cutbacks, stagnating wages, AIDS, and gentrification pushed ever more people into poverty, and hunger reached levels unseen since the Depression. In response, New Yorkers set the stage for a nationwide food justice movement. Whether organizing school lunch campaigns, establishing food co-ops, or lobbying city officials, citizen-activists made food a political issue, uniting communities across lines of difference. The charismatic, usually female leaders of these efforts were often products of earlier movements: American communism, civil rights activism, feminism, even Eastern mysticism. Situating food justice within these rich lineages, Lana Dee Povitz demonstrates how grassroots activism continued to thrive, even as it was transformed by unrelenting erosion of the country’s already fragile social safety net. Using dozens of new oral histories and archives, Povitz reveals the colorful characters who worked behind the scenes to build and sustain the movement, and illuminates how people worked together to overturn hierarchies rooted in class and race, reorienting the history of food activism as a community-based response to austerity. The first book-length history of food activism in a major American city, Stirrings highlights the emotional, intimate, and interpersonal aspects of social movement culture. Lana Dee Povitz is visiting assistant professor of history at Middlebury College.
Part II: Bettina Elias Siegel, Kid Food, The Challenge of Feeding Children in a Highly Processed World
Bettina Elias Siegel is a nationally recognized writer and advocate on issues relating to children and food policy. Her reporting and opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Houston Chronicle, and Civil Eats, as well as her own widely read blog, The Lunch Tray. She frequently appears or is quoted in national media, including Today, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, NPR, The Doctors, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, and Parents. In 2015, Family Circle named Siegel one of the country’s “20 Most Influential Moms,” and she is one of the most successful petitioners in Change.org’s history. A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Siegel lives in Houston with her husband and two children.