Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The People Who Feed Us

Thursday November 20th 2008
6 PM to 8 PM
$5 both members and non-members

The People Who Feed Us – A Slow Food Portland Series on Farm Labor

Slow Food has laid out the goal of creating a food system that is “good, clean, and fair.” For over a decade the concept of good has been at the forefront of Slow Food events, and with the promotion of small, local and organic producers the clean concept has gained momentum. Fair is perhaps the most difficult of these to address as it strikes directly at the question of how we treat the people that produce and prepare our food, and has perhaps the greatest impact on the price of the food we eat. It is a difficult issue also because of how little it is talked about, and how brutal many of the details are.

Slow Food Portland is now developing a series of ongoing presentations and panels to explore the FAIR in “good, clean and fair.” This series will address issues facing local farmers, producers, migrant and immigrant workers, as well as look at labor practices throughout the food industry.

To begin The People Who Feed Us series we are focusing on local farmers.

OUR LOCAL FARMERS: What opportunities and challenges involving labor do our local farmers face? What does it take to run a small farm today? Our panel of local farmers and a farm labor organizer will discuss hiring practices, labor policies, working conditions, and other issues currently facing both the farmer and farm worker. They will share their stories of life on a farm today and look at developing “new farming models.” Hear directly from the people who feed us. Join us for this lively and thought-provoking discussion as we learn how they bring fresh local produce to our tables, restaurants, farmers markets and grocery stores.


Jeff Phalen, Persephone Farm, Lebanon, OR Jeff runs a small, diversified farm that sells a wide variety of vegetables and eggs through farmers markets and a wholesaler. He and his partner Eleanor O\'Brien work along side their employees and are always looking for ways to improve their farm and the conditions for the people that work there.

Jim Bronec, Praying Mantis Farm, Canby, OR Jim grows winter squash and other vegetables for processing, as well as seed crops. He has transitioned a portion of his family’s grass seed farm to organic vegetable production. He hires crews to weed and harvest and also works with PCUN. His labor practices reflect a deep respect for the work that laborers perform on his farm and a desire to have them share the bounty in good years.

Ramon Ramirez, PCUN, Woodburn, OR Ramon helped found Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), the Oregon farmworkers union that has grown from 80 to over 5,000 members since 1985. He was named president of PCUN in 1995. In 2003 Ramon was a recipient of the Leadership for a Changing World award for his contributions to the organization.

98% of PCUN members are Mexican or Central American immigrants. PCUN is dedicated to helping these agricultural workers understand their rights and is involved in a wide variety of organizing projects.

Date: Thursday, November 20 Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Place: Ecotrust, 721 NW 9th Ave # 200, Portland, OR 97209
Cost: $5 members/non-members

Thank you to Ecotrust and Deborah Kane for hosting this event.