52: Jahi Chappell on Beginning to End Hunger

M. Jahi Chappell is a political agroecologist with training in ecology and evolutionary biology, science and technology studies, and chemical engineering. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University, and a Fellow of Food First.

Jahi has recently published a book called Beginning to End Hunger: Food and the Environment in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Beyond. It is rooted in his field research in Belo Horizonte over more than a decade, and presents a far-reaching analysis of how to end hunger, what is keeping us as a society from doing it, and how we might overcome the many obstacles in our way.  Devon spoke to Jahi in the cafeteria of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, during a vibrant symposium on agroecology.  We talk about the experience of Belo Horizonte’s massive investment in food security, the expansion of those ideas to Brazil’s Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) programs, and the need to build trust between groups and find common agendas so that we as a movement are ready when political windows open for radical change. 

Photo courtesy of Cecilia Rocha.

27: Michaela Leslie-Rule on paying attention to culture in public health and nutrition, the complexity of food choices, and bridging the generational gap in food knowledge.

Michaela Leslie-Rule is a digital media producer, storyteller and social scientist. As the owner of Fact Memory Testimony she has been fortunate to collaborate with ITVS, Memphis Music Initiative, Community Foundation for Monterey County and Nike and Firelight Foundations’ Grassroots Girls Initiative. Embedded in Michaela’s approach to research, advocacy and communication is elevating constituent voices through the use of storytelling. She is particularly interested in participatory methods for measuring and documenting social and organizational change, and has designed and implemented participatory projects on four continents. She uses a story-centric approach to produce multimedia projects and advocacy campaigns. As the producer of IGNITE: Women Fueling Science and Technology, Global Fund for Women’s global advocacy campaign and multimedia project, she curated and oversaw the creation of five online storytelling galleries, designed and implemented an international girls’ hackathon and oversaw a coordinated advocacy effort between the Fund and UN Women demanding equal access to and control of technology for women and girls worldwide.  In this episode, Michaela speaks with Chelsea about paying attention to culture in public health and nutrition, the complexity of healthy food choices, the bridging the generational gap in food knowledge.  

14: Maria Eugenia Flores Gomez and Chris Bacon on revolution, solidarity, and participatory action research in rural Nicaragua

Maria Eugenia Flores Gomez is a social psychologist and community organizer with more than 15 years of experience working in Central America and California for peace, women rights, and food security. Chris Bacon is an environmental social scientist whose work has focused on food security and food sovereignty in Northern Nicaragua, and more recently, in California.  He takes a participatory action research approach to his work, and is a professor at Santa Clara University.  Mari and Chris work together on a project called Food Security and Sovereignty in Las Segovias in collaboration with the Community Agroecology Network and the PRODECOOP cooperatives in the mountains of Northern Nicaragua.  Mari and Chris talk to Devon about their collaboration born of revolution, solidarity, and participatory action research in rural Nicaragua.

11: Kyra Busch on agrobiodiversity, learning solidarity, and thinking on a 100-year time frame

Kyra Busch has advocated for local food sovereignty for over a decade.  Working with the Alternative Agriculture Network of Thailand and the Educational Network for Global and Grassroots Exchange, she worked on successful initiatives to certify and import Fair Trade Thai jasmine rice to the U.S. and to prevent an inequitable U.S.-Thai free trade agreement. Kyra spearheaded the nation’s first Indigenous farm-to-school program and managed a culturally appropriate food delivery program for diabetic elders on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. Kyra holds a Master’s degree in Social Ecology of Conservation and Development from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where she wrote her thesis on a groundbreaking biocultural curriculum in Kuna Yala, Panama. Kyra is now the program officer for Agrobiodiversity, Food Sovereignty and Resilient Biocultural Landscapes at the Christensen Fund in San Francisco.  In this episode, Kyra talks to Devon about farmers who love the fabulous diversity of traditional rice varieties in Thailand, how traveling and studying abroad can lead to solidarity, the promise of agrobiodiversity for a sustainable food system, and thinking about agroecology on a 100-year time frame.  

7: Joey Smith on young people farming, growing strange vegetables, and a proposal for ending hunger

Joey Smith runs Let’s Go Farm in Santa Rosa, California, on the land where he grew up.  For the last five years, he has grown a very wide variety of vegetables bound for a Community Supported Agriculture and for the Windsor Farmers Market.  Joey also works and teaches hands-on vegetable farming at Shone Farm, which belongs to Santa Rosa Junior College, a community college here in Sonoma County.  Joey, like Devon, is an alum of UC Santa Cruz and of Food First’s internship program.  In this episode, Devon and Joey talk about young people farming, growing unusual vegetables, a strategy for ending hunger in Sonoma County, and the farmers - one down the street and one in rural Costa Rica - that have inspired Joey.