Nikki Henderson speaks at unveiling of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation's America Healing Initiative
Tickets for the first Edible Education 101 lecture were snatched up in minutes.
The free tickets, available through TicketWeb, will grant nearly 300 non-students admission to the Aug. 30 lecture held in University of California, Berkeley’s, sprawling Wheeler Auditorium.
There will be 400 Cal students sharing space in the class with the general public ticket holders and members of the press.
But don't worry ... the community still has the opportunity to attend future classes, which are held every Tuesday evening.
The 13-week course, subtitled “The Rise and Future of the Food Movement,” was organized and funded by the Chez Panisse Foundation. Oakland’s People’s Grocery Executive Director Nikki Henderson is co-teaching with UC Berkeley Journalism professor and "The Omnivore’s Dilemma" author, Michael Pollan.
According to Henderson, the class will cover topics of crucial importance to the food movement.
“I think the ultimate aim of Edible Education 101 is to provide a rigorous academic experience that explores as many aspects of the food movement as possible,” she wrote in an email. “My ultimate aim with participating [in the class] is to centralize equity and justice within the conversation as much as possible.”
The new course provides an opportunity for students and non-students alike to interrogate controversial topics within the food movement. Examining the race, class and power dynamics at work in the movement is at the core of the curriculum.
“People's Grocery is participating in the course as a part of the larger food justice movement, and we wanted the class to touch upon the struggle that many on-the-ground communities face. The course will engage people who do not live in food insecure communities about the food justice issues faced in those communities and Oakland will be used as one example,” Henderson said.
The class has been championed as the coming together of Berkeley and Oakland activists. For Henderson, this solidarity is about tackling divisive forces in order to move beyond them.
“Race and class tensions have historically kept us from working together effectively even though we usually have ideological similarities,” she said. “And this is not just between Oakland and Berkeley - race and class tensions have kept people within Oakland and Berkeley from working together effectively, as well.”
Edible Education 101 will provide a forum for the exploration of these fault lines.
“I think we will gain the ability to build a much stronger movement if we bring everything to the surface and discuss it openly, with compassion and with concrete next steps in mind,” she wrote.
Each week’s class will feature a different guest lecturer, beginning with Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini on Aug. 30. Guests are experts in their fields and will place their discipline in the context of the broader food system/movement.
Henderson is particularly eager about a few of the speakers.
“I'm excited about Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez from the coalition from Immokalee Workers because it's one of the most effective 'people movements' in food that exists, and I'm glad to hear it from their mouths. Rebecca Flournoy (PolicyLink), Alegria De La Cruz (Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment) and Yvonne Yen Liu (Applied Research Center) are speaking on Race, Health and Food, and I'm really excited about opening that up for questions, and the strength of the discussion.
"I'm also excited about Marion Nestle because her book "Food Politics" changed my life, and if everyone understood what she was talking about the movement would be fiercely effective.”
Students will be given the opportunity to volunteer with a food-related-nonprofit three hours per week throughout the semester. They will relate this experience to course material through reflective essays.
“When we created the material for this class, we had the students in mind," Henderson said. "It's wonderful that UC Berkeley and Chez Panisse wanted this course to be open to the public and we're glad that we could include everyone who wants to engage in these discussions.”
Tickets for the Sept. 6 lecture will be available at 10 a.m. Aug. 31 through TicketWeb. Performing arts visionary Peter Sellers will lecture and the class will examine what is involved in building a successful movement.
Edible Education 101: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement
6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays
Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley campus