Deep-Dish Dialogue: Rebuilding The Food System

Deep-Dish Dialogue: COVID-19 and Hunger

Deep-Dish Dialogue: Why Food Justice Matters

Deep-Dish Dialogue: A Better Deal for Food Workers

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Deep-dish dialogue: rebuilding the food system

Explore the cracks and chasms in our food system and meet some of the people advocating for meaningful change for our health, environment, and communities. We will hear from leaders working toward a more equitable food future through distinctive approaches and at different scales. Join Dani Nierenberg, recipient of the 2020 Julia Child Award, to learn about the role that individuals can play in helping to reshape the food system. This panel is a collaboration among Food Tank, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the National Museum of American History.

Deep-Dish Dialogue: Why Food Justice Matters
Our global food system is built on a legacy of exploitation. Black and Indigenous people, whose knowledge, skill, and labor helped shape and build America’s agricultural industries, are also those who have faced and continue to face the biggest barriers to food access today. Join leaders, scholars, and organizers as they discuss the power of knowledge, innovation, and community resiliency as a creative and sustainable means of challenging the food system and advocating for a more equitable future. 
Deep-Dish Dialogue: COVID-19 and Hunger
Many Americans are food insecure, but are traditional food pantries and soup kitchens the best models for providing long-term support? In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-hunger efforts new and old are still working to meet the increased needs and unprecedented challenges in their communities. Join us as we speak with people who are pushing the boundaries of food aid, working on innovative efforts to redistribute food and resources to those who need them most, and aiming for more permanent solutions to food insecurity.
Deep-Dish Dialogue: A Better Deal for Food Workers
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light some of the longstanding challenges workers experience across the food system, from agricultural fields to city streets, grocery stores to processing facilities. Join us to learn more about how workers and advocates harness their strength, ingenuity, and strong networks of support as they fight for workers’ rights.


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Business of food reporter for
The Washington Post
Chef/Owner of ThinkFoodGroup,
Founder of World
Central Kitchen,
Julia Child Award
Recipient 2019
Co-Founder and President,
Food Tank,
2020 Julia Child
Award Recipient
Soul Fire Farm
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,
Liaison Office for
North America
Co-Founder of Ghetto Gastro
General Manager at
MAʻO Organic Farms
Hoʻowaiwai Youth
Leadership Training Intern,
MAʻO Organic Farms
Cookbook Author + Founder of Equity at the Table (EATT)

Associate Professor of Environmental Justice at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of Freedom Farmers

Executive Director,
FoodLab Detroit
Community Organizer,
SF New Deal
President and CEO,
Martha’s Table
David M. Rubenstein
Curator of Philanthropy,
National Museum of American History
CEO and Co-Founder,
Common Threads
Executive Director,
Immigrant Alliance for
Justice and Equity
National Museum of American History
Chat Script...

Laura Reiley

Business of Food Reporter for The Washington Post  

Laura Reiley is the Business of Food Reporter for The Washington Post. She was previously a food critic at the Tampa Bay Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Baltimore Sun. She has authored four books in the Moon Handbook series, has cooked professionally, and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. She was a Pulitzer finalist in 2017 and a James Beard finalist in 2017 and 2019. The early part of her career was focused very closely on what was on the plate—as she has gotten older, she’s been distracted by how it got there. In 2016 she wrote a series for the Tampa Bay Times called “Farm to Fable” that exposed misrepresentations and fraud in the stories we are told about restaurant food and farmers’ markets. Since joining The Post, she has focused on issues of food ethics and safety, sustainability and food waste, and disruptive technologies in food and farming. The pandemic has, for perhaps the first time, focused the general public’s attention on the fragility of the food chain and on disparities in access, which has legitimized Reiley’s geeky preoccupations. In the past six months she has cooked so much that the palm callus she had from her chef’s knife in the early 1990s has reemerged. She is worried that her big ’90s hair may be next.

José Andrés

Chef/Owner of ThinkFoodGroup, Founder of World Central Kitchen,
2019 Julia Child Award Recipient

Twice named to Time’s “100 Most Influential People” list and recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal, José Andrés is an internationally recognized culinary innovator, New York Times best-selling author, educator, humanitarian, and chef and owner of ThinkFoodGroup, the award-winning collective of nearly 30 restaurants throughout the country and beyond. In 2010 Andrés founded World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit specializing in delivering food relief in the wake of natural and humanitarian disasters. Notably, his team served 3.7 million meals to the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and has since served more than 40 million meals worldwide. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WCK has partnered with restaurants, small farms, and local partners around the country to combat food insecurity. A naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Spain, Andrés has been a tireless advocate for immigration reform and on July 4, 2014, was named by President Barack Obama as that year’s Outstanding American by Choice. Andrés was the 2019 recipient of the Julia Child Award.

Danielle Nierenberg

Co-Founder and President, Food Tank, 2020 Julia Child Award Recipient

In 2013 Danielle Nierenberg co-founded Food Tank, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Food Tank is a global convener, research organization, and non-biased creator of original research impacting the food system. Nierenberg also conducts extensive on-the-ground research, traveling to more than 70 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. She has met with thousands of farmers and farmers’ groups, scientists and researchers, policymakers and government leaders, students and academics, as well as journalists, documenting what’s working to help alleviate hunger and poverty while protecting the environment. Nierenberg’s knowledge of global agriculture issues has been cited widely in more than 20,000 major print and broadcast outlets worldwide, and she speaks at more than 100 events per year, including major conferences all over the world. Nierenberg is the recipient of the 2020 Julia Child Award from The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

Leah Penniman

Co-Director, Soul Fire Farm

Leah Penniman (li/she/ya/elle) is a Black Kreyol farmer/peyizan, mother, soil nerd, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2010 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land. As co-director and farm manager, Penniman is part of a team that facilitates powerful food sovereignty programs—including farmer training for Black and Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for communities living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system. Penniman has been farming since 1996, holds an MA in Science Education and a BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University, and is a Manye (Queen Mother) in Vodun. Penniman trained at Many Hands Organic Farm and The Farm School, both in Massachusetts, and internationally with farmers in Ghana, Haiti, and Mexico. She also served as a high school biology and environmental science teacher for 17 years. The work of Penniman and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Equality Fellowship, the Fulbright Program, the Grist 50, and the James Beard Foundation’s Leadership Award, among others. Her book Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land is a love song for the land and her people.

Vimlendra Sharan

Director, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Liaison Office for North America  

Vimlendra Sharan is director of the FAO Liaison Office for North America. Sharan brings with him more than two decades of national and international government leadership experience focusing on rural development, agriculture, and food security issues. Sharan has worked with the Indian Government extensively in rural and tribal areas of Maharashtra and has also been actively involved in agriculture and food policy formulation, working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in New Delhi. He comes to Washington, D.C., from his previous posting as permanent representative of India to the Rome-based UN Agencies, where he served as vice president of the World Food Programme Executive Board, chairman of International Fund for Agricultural Development Evaluation Committee, Asia Group representative on FAO Programme Committee, and a member of the FAO Council.

Jon Gray

Co-Founder of Ghetto Gastro

Jon Gray is the co-founder of the Bronx-born creative collective Ghetto Gastro, defining their own lane that transcends food, art, music, fashion, and design. Gray’s curiosity has taken him around the globe and has had him seated across the table from world-renowned thinkers, artists, and chefs, but he’s most passionate about home. The Bronx is part of the team’s lifeblood, and every piece of the Ghetto Gastro universe is meant to uplift and celebrate the borough, and other places like it, as an unsung driver of global culture.

Cheryse Kaui Sana

General Manager at MAʻO Organic Farms

Cheryse Julitta Kauikeolani Sana, Kaui, was born and raised in Waiʻanae, Hawaiʻi. She is a graduate of Waiʻanae High School and joined MAʻO Organic Farms, a not-for-profit native Hawaiian social enterprise venture whose mission is “to grow certified organic veggies and youth leaders.”  As an intern, she learned organic farming practices, food systems, social and food justice, and aloha ʻāina, ʻāina aloha practices. While being in the internship, she experienced how to plant, wash, pack, and sell fresh organic produce for her community. Learning MAʻO Organic Farm’s core values of love, respect, and the willingness to work, she has been able to apply these values to be a leader in her community and to her family. Kaui received her bachelor’s in Hawaiian studies from Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Kaui is currently the general manager of MA‘O Organic Farms. With her team she helps to manage the organic farm operations while mentoring young adults from the community through their college pathway, all while producing two tons of organic produce a week. Recently MA‘O Organic Farms has been able to fundraise to purchase 200+ acres in Lualualei Valley. Kaui is driven and excited for the new opportunities to grow more organic food and to expand the social mission of the MAʻO.

Tiare Toetuʻu-aipa

Hoʻowaiwai Youth Leadership Training Intern, MAʻO Organic Farms

Tiare Toetuʻu-aipa was born and raised in Waiʻanae and is an alumna of Waiʻanae High School class of 2018. Toetuʻu-aipa recently graduated from Leeward Community College with her associate degree in Liberal Arts and plans to attain her bachelorʻs degree in Applied Science in Hawaiian and Indigenous Health and Healing at University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu Campus. Toetuʻu-aipa has been at MAʻO Organic Farms for over two years now in multiple leadership roles. She aspires to learn different ways of healing through Indigenous practice.

Julia Turshen

Cookbook Author + Founder of Equity at the Table (EATT)

Julia Turshen is the bestselling author of Now & Again, Feed the Resistance, and Small Victories. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Saveur. She is the founder of Equity At The Table (EATT), an inclusive digital directory of women/non-binary individuals in food, and the host of Keep Calm and Cook On, a podcast. Turshen lives in the Hudson Valley with her wife and pets.

Dr. Monica M. White

Associate Professor of Environmental Justice at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of Freedom Farmers

Dr. Monica M. White is an award-winning scholar and currently serves as an associate professor of environmental justice at the University of Wisconsin⁠–Madison. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. She is the first Black woman to earn tenure in both the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (1889) and the Nelson Institute (1970) at UW⁠–Madison. Her research investigates Black, Latinx, and Indigenous grassroots organizations that are engaged in the development of sustainable, community-based food systems as a strategy to respond to issues of hunger and food inaccessibility. As the founding director of the Office of Environmental Justice and Engagement (OEJE) at UW–Madison, she works to bridge the gap between the community and the university and its resources by connecting community-based organizations that are working on areas of environmental/food/land justice to faculty and students. Her first book, Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, published with University of North Carolina Press, was released January 2019. It received the 2019 Eduardo Bonilla Silva Outstanding Book Award from the Division of Race and Ethnic Minorities Section of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

In addition to her academic work, White has been active in the food justice movement for over a decade. She served as president of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, and has served on the advisory board of the Southeast African American Farmers Organic Network. Her work in the classroom and community embodies the theoretical framework of Collective Agency and Community Resilience and the use of community-based food systems and agriculture as a strategy of community development.

Devita Davison

Executive Director, FoodLab Detroit

Devita Davison’s overall goal is to create a food economy that acknowledges the importance of food justice, community health, and local ownership. She honed the theory and practice of Equitable Food Oriented Development that is at the core of FoodLab’s work. Davison was a 2017 TED speaker; her TED Talk on the big stage has been seen over one million times. She is a 2017 Grist Top 50 Leader in sustainability and a 2019 Sustainability Champion. She is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she received a BS in Social Science. FoodLab is a nonprofit organization that fosters the creation of an equitable local food economy by providing food entrepreneurs with education, peer-to-peer mentoring, and access to market opportunities. By primarily focusing on supporting women-owned food businesses from communities of color, FoodLab aims to improve Detroit’s neighborhoods by allowing everyone to take part in the development of a local food culture.

Vinny Eng

Community Organizer, SF New Deal

Vinny Eng (he/him) is a community organizer and founding member of San Francisco New Deal, a rapid response program formed to support neighbors facing food insecurity and to provide immediate financial relief to local small businesses. To date, SF New Deal efforts in response to COVID-19 have provided over 800,000 meals and granted $8 million to the San Francisco community. Eng also focuses his activism advancing the dignity of those with mental health disabilities, supporting individuals impacted by police violence, and advocating for transformative approaches to building community safety. This work is done in memory of his sister, Jazmyne Ha Eng, killed by police in 2012. In 2019 Vinny Eng was named a Food and Wine magazine Sommelier of the Year. He is a published writer, is the proud American-born son of Cambodian refugees, and holds a degree in economics from Duke University.

Kim R. Ford

President and CEO, Martha’s Table

Kim R. Ford serves as president and CEO of Martha’s Table. Ford previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. Ford provided leadership, direction, and management on over $2 billion in career and technical education, adult education, correctional and re-entry education, and community college initiatives, which collectively serve over 25 million students annually. Previously, Ford served as the Dean of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning at the University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC). She promoted an environment of student success focused on building community, instituting feedback loops, and helping students transition into higher levels of education and careers. Prior to joining UDC-CC, Ford served in the Obama Administration’s Recovery Implementation Office, which was responsible for implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. She directed working relationships between the Office of the Vice President and eight federal agencies on over $350 billion in Recovery Act programs. Ford holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Amanda B. Moniz

David M. Rubenstein Curator of Philanthropy, National Museum of American History

Amanda Moniz is the David M. Rubenstein Curator of Philanthropy at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and is the author of From Empire to Humanity: The American Revolution and the Origins of Humanitarianism. She curates the museum’s long-term philanthropy exhibition, Giving in America. She approaches the history of philanthropy as a lens onto Americans’ experiences of shared humanity, the pursuit of opportunity, and inequality, and collects objects and oral histories exploring the breadth and diversity of Americans’ giving of time, money, and other resources. Moniz was a pastry chef in New York City and Washington, D.C., before becoming a historian. Combining her professional backgrounds, she spent a few years teaching hands-on historic cooking classes and writing about food history. Her work has been published in the The Washington Post, American Food Roots, NPR’s Kitchen Window, and other publications.

Linda Novick O'Keefe

CEO and Co-Founder, Common Threads

Linda Novick O’Keefe’s desire to develop innovative solutions to social problems and passion for food led her to start Common Threads with Chef Art Smith and artist Jesus Salgueiro in May 2003. Under her leadership, Common Threads has grown its in-school, after-school, teacher and provider trainings, and family programming to more than 750 schools and community partner sites, serving 580,000 children in 13 major U.S. cities. Common Threads recently received funding from the federal U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) SNAP-Ed program to expand to New York City, Pittsburgh, and Erie, and throughout the six largest counties in Texas. From Common Threads’ inception, O’Keefe prioritized developing nutrition education programs designed to achieve real behavior change. She is a champion of rigorous evaluation and external collaboration with academic experts. By creating a scaled and sustainable program, O’Keefe has provided a platform for innovation in nutrition education. Recently, O’Keefe led the strategic expansion of Common Threads’ programs into health care settings such as primary care clinics. O’Keefe has been a Kellogg School of Management Board Governance Fellowship Mentor and served on the Building a Healthier Chicago Task Force. She was the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s Rising Star Award, was featured by Today’s Chicago Woman as one of 100 Women Making a Difference, was included as one of Clean Plates’ Moms on a Mission and was a 2018 SWSX Community Service Award Honoree. She currently serves on the Smithsonian’s Kitchen Cabinet and as a Babson College Social Innovation Fellow. O’Keefe has her Executive Education Certificate, Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, from Harvard University; her Master of Science in Public Service Management from DePaul University; and her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Arizona State University. O’Keefe lives in Austin with her husband, Nick; two children, Zack and Julia; and two rescue chi-weenies, LG and Mona.

Lorena Quiroz-Lewis

Executive Director, Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity

Lorena Quiroz-Lewis is the executive director and founder of the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity, an organization whose purpose is to amplify the voices of marginalized, multiracial, and immigrant communities by active participation in civic engagement in deconstructing barriers that perpetuate racial, xenophobic, socioeconomic, and gender identity and sexuality disparities and oppression. This organization emerged as a direct result of the organizing efforts that followed the August 7, 2019, ICE raids: the largest raids in the nation’s history. Quiroz-Lewis is an organizer, activist, and public health professional with 20 years in public health, various leadership roles, and grassroots organizing experience. In her role as an organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation, she helps to build statewide power for the underserved populations of Mississippi. Prior to her role as an organizer and executive director of Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity, Quiroz-Lewis served for two years as executive director of LABAlink, where she was responsible for helping restructure the board and grow the vision of the organization. Through these efforts she secured contracts with Health Connect One, a national birth equity organization, ROSE (Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere), and the Mississippi State Department of Health, through which she held the first statewide Language Access conference—a call to action and a sobering reminder that our state’s immigrant population had grown exponentially in the last decade. As a result of the conference, she founded the Mississippi Language Access Coalition with over 20 member and partner organizations, including the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Mississippi College, Millsaps College, My Brothers’ Keeper, and University of Mississippi Medical Center. Her work at the Office of Health Disparities Elimination spanned a total of seven years where she served as Latino outreach coordinator, and then director of Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement. Quiroz-Lewis is the proud mother of three brilliant and politically engaged Afro-Latinas, who are proud of their heritage, culture, and Afro-Indigenous ancestry.

Stephen Velasquez

Curator, National Museum of American History

Stephen Velasquez is a curator for the Division of Cultural and Community Life at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. His research interest includes Latinx history and identity, material culture, foodways, and immigration/migration history. He was co-curator for Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950–2000, and Many Voices, One Nation. He is currently involved in the exhibition Entertaining America as well as a research project on Mexican vineyard workers in Napa and a future exhibit on lowriders. Past projects include the Bracero Oral History Project and associated traveling exhibit, Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942–1964; Mexican Treasures of the Smithsonian; AZUCAR! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz; A Collector’s Vision of Puerto Rico; and Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian, as well as many other exhibit cases and special projects. He holds a master’s degree in anthropology from The George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Missouri.