Karen Washington – 911 Our Food System Is Not Working

Many of us have reached a point in our work at which we realize the food system is not working. Leaders keep on relying on band-aid solutions, autocratic jargon and political hypocrisy to tackle the problems of hunger and poverty. Yet our society’s way of feeding and treating people just isn’t sustainable, especially when the United Nations predicts that by 2050 we will have an additional 2 billion people on this planet, most ending up in urban areas.

The simple truth is that we can’t talk about a fair, just, and equitable food system without radical new thinking and putting in a lot work. What sort of work needs to be done and who will be the people to do it? Karen Washington, one of the most renowned and influential food activists of our era shares her wisdom and her analysis of why the food system doesn’t need to be fixed but has to be dramatically transformed.

This talk was delivered at the 2022 Bioneers Conference.

Karen Washington, co-owner/farmer at Rise & Root Farm in Chester New York, is a renowned activist and food advocate, who, among her many achievements, in 2010 co- founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS) an organization supporting growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012, Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award. Karen also serves on the boards of the New York Botanical Gardens, the Mary Mitchell Center, SoulFire Farm and the Black Farmer Fund.

Learn more about Karen Washington at her website.


Malik Yakini – Food, Race and Justice

In this Bioneers 2015 keynote address, Malik Yakini, Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, explores how the current industrial food system that supplies most of our food creates inequities and shares wise perspectives on addressing racism, thinking beyond the logic of capitalism and how we might create a more just, sustainable food system.

The Food Web Newsletter

All life depends on food. It is that commonality that connects diverse species and is the basis for a relationship with our environment. From the microorganisms in the soil food web like the mycorrhizal fungi that exchange nutrients with plant roots to the woke gourmand at Chez Panisse ordering roasted, pasture chicken and local organic greens, all species depend on the cooperative interactions of the web of life to eat.

Dive into the Food Web with Bioneers and learn more about how a transformed food system can be a source of community wealth, creative culture, and individual health, as well as a way to fulfill our sacred calling as humans for environmental stewardship.

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