Every day this week, my dad and colleague, bestselling author John Robbins, is interviewing some of the top food revolutionary leaders on the planet. This is your chance to get cutting edge information about healthy, sustainable, humane and delicious food — from sources you can trust.
The Food Revolution Summit is packed with potent and even gamechanging insights. Like take yesterday, for example. Our theme was Feeding Compassion.
We started with one of my heroes, Dolores Huerta. Dolores, now 82 years old, may be looked back on as one of the great leaders of the last century. Her work has led to breakthroughs in the rights and humane treatment of farm workers, including passage of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, public assistance for immigrants, toilets in the field, drinking water protection from pesticides, and an immigration act which gave legal status to over a million farm workers.
At one point in the interview, my dad and colleague, John Robbins, said to Dolores: “I recently took out 20 books from my library on food, diet, agriculture, and the environment. I looked at all of their indexes, and I found that not a single one had a single index entry for farm workers.”
Dolores responded: “That is really sad. And you know, it is not just farm workers. We have a society that demeans people that work with their hands. A lot of our young people are helpless because they have been raised to not want to get their hands dirty. We often don’t value the people that work hard, the people that pick up our garbage, that clean our buildings, or the people that make or grow our food.”
What would happen, I wondered, if we treated the people who tend our crops with respect? Can a society be truly healthy if it consistently degrades and exploits the people who grow its food? Or if it poisons farmworkers, and the food they harvest, with pesticides?
Can a humane world be fed by an inhumane system of food production?
One thing’s for sure: We make better choices when we have accurate information. And when it comes to treatment of animals, the truth is becoming a precious commodity.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to want animals to be treated decently. And you don’t have to be an animal rights activist to think that you should have a right to know how your food is produced. But our second speaker, Will Potter told us that we are seeing a wave of “ag-gag” bills that make it illegal to so much as take pictures of farms and agricultural interests.
Let’s get real here. This isn’t about stopping you from taking photos of broccoli growing on the side of the road. This is about keeping anyone from seeing the cruelty that is the norm in today’s factory farms.
As Will Potter told us: “There’s virtually no oversight of factory farming and big agriculture in this country. This is an industry that wants to operate in total secrecy, and with total immunity.
Next we heard from Zoe Weil, who has helped hundreds of thousands of people to become spokespeople for a more humane world. Zoe’s passionate and accessible message invited us bring more compassion into our lives and into our food choices.
Zoe talked about how important it is to work for a vision without making needless enemies. “Unfortunately,” she told us, “the discourse around food choices often lends itself to side-taking instead of problem solving. People often want to latch on to the ‘right way’, and whatever way they’ve latched on to, they close the door to thinking about the bigger connections.”
Summit participants have been entering into lively dialogues, and sharing moving stories, on our Facebook page. Check it out and join in here.
The Food Revolution Summit is a place to get distilled wisdom from some of the top food leaders in the world.
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