This past weekend, myself and three other Unity College students attended the Northeastern Food and Justice Summit at Northeastern College in Boston. The conference was put on by a team of amazing organizations; The Food Project, Student Farmworker Alliance, and Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (COFED) and was sponsored by Real Food Challenge. These organizations united to get high schoolers, college students, youth leaders, and all of those involved in food justice together for a high energy weekend of brain storming, idea sharing, and plenty of great food!
There were just too many workshops to choose from, with (insert number here) amazing options going on during each session. The first workshop I chose to attend was named “Local Food in the New Economy” and was run by Daniel Ortega from the New Economy Working Group. Ortega began by briefly skimming over the multiple crises the human race finds ourselves currently in (social, economic, and environmental) and then proceeded to introduce the workshop participants to the idea of a new economy, new ways of measuring success, and how the ideal of community based economies, particularly local food systems, fit into the whole scheme. It was an interesting way of looking at one possible future for our world; one of national harmony based from local economies.
Alexis Fox, from the Massachusetts chapter of the Humane Society, led a workshop on effective lobbying at the state and local level. Fox has plenty of experience lobbying for animal rights and pushing forward farm animal protection bills. Her presentation was moving, informative, and a very effective call to action to all the college aged attendees. The room was quiet save for thirty or so pens wildly scratching out every word from her mouth.
The whole weekend was an amazing experience, full of energy, networking, new friendships being forged, good food being devoured, ideas speeding around the northeast, and hope for a new food future. In the future, when more summits like this come close to Unity, I will most certainly be attending, as I encourage you to as well.