Food and Media: Who to Trust?

Food and Media: Who to Trust?


Good evening. Good evening and welcome to edible education 101. It’s our fifth class meeting. Happy Valentine’s day. On a day of what should be joy and love, we have a lot of trauma happening in the world. So this is kind of a refuge, this class, to immerse ourselves in The rise and future of the food movement. We’ve got a really stirring class for you tonight. And before we get started, I just want to go over a couple of requests. I wanted to just remind everyone that this is a technology-free class. And it would mean a lot to our guests and to me if you would put away your laptops and give this speaker your full attention. Second is we really appreciate the enrolled students that come in, sit, and fill up the lower part of the theater. So if you’re hanging out in the upper atmosphere out there. Just makes for a more kind of connected conversation. ANd then finally I wanted to remind you that the first paper is gonna be due on March 7th. If you check the syllabus, there’s a rubric And the final rubric will be actually very similar to the one you see there. We’re gonna refine it a little bit to reflect some of the specific content that we’ve shared so far this year. But if you wanna kinda get started thinking on the main problem, you can delve into the syllabus now. And that’ll be due on March 7th. And I think it’s due at like 11:59 PM And generally universities’ protocol, if you turn it in late, a minute late, it’s late. So I just want to give everybody a heads up. Don’t wait till the last minute. It’s a four to five page paper. It requires some real thinking and creativity on your part. Actually you get evaluated on your creativity. So for those of you who know about the creative process. The sooner you immerse yourself and saturate yourself in the thinking. The more likely it is that your big idea’s gonna come to you just in time to write it down and turn it in, okay? So that’s March seventh, that’s just a couple weeks away. I also wanted to let you know that Bella, who spoke up, I think earlier in the semester. She asked, I think Alice Water. She said, how do we take this kind of values that we’re talking about and make it real for students? And she’s begun to communicate that with you, and I invited her to just make an announcement today. So Allison, take it away, you’ve got the floor for a second.>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Yeah.>>Okay, great. All right, hi everyone. My name is Allison. I’m an undergraduate student in this class just like all of you. And frankly.>>Go to the mic and say it. The mic will pick you up, just talk loud. The class can hear you, but now the people at home can hear you, too, okay?>>Got you. So I’m a undergraduate student here. And something that I’ve been really interested in exploring is kind of the concepts that we’re epxloring in this class. How do you be an enlightened eater? But then also, kind of tie in to some of my questions and some of the other things we’re now exploring in this class is. Acknowledging that college students have constraints on time, on money, and their habits. So, I’m kind of at this point where I’ve been talking to other people. I’ve been thinking about it a lot on my own, but I would really love to get a group together, perhaps on a Wednesday. And I was actually thinking about sometime on next Wednesday, to just get a good list together, and to just talk about this idea. I would love to hear what ideas you have. Or if you’re just interested in talking about this more in depth, to just stop by on Wednesday. We don’t have a time set up yet, but if you send me an email. My email’s right up there, it’s [email protected] Just maybe let me know what your availability is and I can go off of that and find the time for all of us to meet.>>Thank you, fantastic, 30 seconds, it was perfect. Thank’s Ella, that takes a lot of courage to get up in front of the class, way to go.>>[APPLAUSE]>>And tonight it’s gonna be a real honor to have>>A very special panel of really thoughtful and provocative voices talking to us. About how really news and opinion shapes this food debate. And we’ve got three amazing people joining Naomi Starfin. I’m gonna let Naomi introduce them and just a few minutes but before we get going I was thinking a lot. I was reflecting on the last couple of classes, I was thinking about this call to define our personal values. And I was thinking about the Berkeley Haas values. I know some of you are Berkeley Hass undergrads and graduate students. And others of you are coming from other schools at University of California, Berkeley. But Hass actually went to the step of defining the defining principles that we go by. And I wanted to share them with you if you’re not familiar with them. There’s four of them. One is question the status quo to his confidants without attitude. For the students always and fourth is beyond yourself. And I was thinking about all the speakers that we’ve had to date and how little they exude all of those principles. I was thinking about Dan Barber last week and really kind of how humble he was. It struck me as interesting. He just showed us pictures of Like the farm and the vegetables. If you were to go Google Dan Barber, you would see the most incredibly presented food that you might have ever seen in your life. He didn’t show one glamour shot of a dish he put together. It was concentrated fully on that collaboration with the breeders and what he was doing with the soil. And I was thinking about Saroo and questioning the status quo. And also bringing kind of confidence and posture to her work but always being in a learning mode as a student. And then, really everyone that’s come to the class thinking about their own actions, beyond themselves. I just wanted to reiterate this objective of this course is to get clear about your own values. And also share the vertically hostile views. And then use that as the lens when people are talking to you. If you can discern what values they’re bringing to their projection of their perspective of the food system. So I was thinking about that little squash and I was thinking about how Dan really took our thinking into a systems approach. He was thinking about the long term horizon that it took. It took seven years of waiting to go from that big butternut squash. That you get in the supermarket to that little baby honey nut. And remember in that Donella Meadows piece that we read about dancing with systems. It’s all about expanding the time horizon and he also talked a lot about that collaboration. And experimentation with the breeders That sense of really doing something together that one person couldn’t do on their own. That’s really systems innovation is when people get together and develope a shared vision of what’s possible. And then experiment and trial and error. And I loved also that slide that he showed us of how it almost Scaled up on its own accord. It just went from a good idea really caught on and spread. Then I was thinking about early in the class I showed you this really neat little picture. This is this kind of nicely designed healthy food system. But it’s really as I was thinking about it it’s really not the food system. It’s really kind of the food supply chain that, and this was an innovation, this was done a few years ago. Up until a few years ago, the food system diagram didn’t have waste or regeneration on it. Now that’s an important part of the system. But then I was thinking about this class, one of the objectives again is to develop food systems intelligence. And how can we develop this kind of x-ray vision to peer beyond the layers of what is presented to us? Through the opacity and get a better understanding of all these interconnections and interdependencies. So I like to think about this super power. I hope each of you will come out of this class with this enhanced sense of being able to see the truth, and the dependencies and interconnections. Then I showed you this systems map, and this was much more elaborate with inputs and outputs. And a lot more detail and complexity. But then, after I read the papers for this week, all of a sudden this map went into three D for me. Went from a systems diagram of inputs and outputs to a whole system of discrimination and oppression and injustices. That the whole food system is really built on. And I hope that that came alive for you in a new way too. So all of a sudden this map that we’ve been using I think is obsolete. I want you to think about maps because your second assignment I am going to give it away now. The one that’s due at the end of the semester, is going to be all about creating a systems map for this class. When you’re taking notes, I would encourage you to start mapping. And thinking about what parts of the food system you might map that would illuminate them in some way that would be useful for others. That’s also written about in your syllabus. Amanda why don’t you come up? We’re gonna do the question tonight. This is the attendance question. This is how we know if you’re here or not. So this question tonight. Do you have your i-clickers out? I’m going to give Amanda just a minute to prep because we’re short on a plug up here, but I’ll read it really slowly. I’d like you to answer this question, specifically from the readings you did this week, okay? So caring about food, A, means appreciating the nuances of flavor, texture, and origin. B, requires caring about people. C, it’s all about the soil. And D, all of the above. Go ahead and tells us your answer. And when you’re ready, you can switch the screens And it might take a minute. Does it take you a minute to boot up?>>By the way, if anyone has any [INAUDIBLE] or issues, just shoot me an email after class.>>A couple of you have emailed me. You can manually enter [INAUDIBLE].>>How are we doing?>>Technology.>>Technology. [INAUDIBLE]>>Well we’ll come back. We’ll come back. How about we do the question right after?>>Yep.>>Okay, great, cuz I don’t wanna cut into the time. We’ve got this amazing group of people here. Really talented writers, thinkers, actors in this movement. And it’s a great honor, to really welcome Naomi Starkman. Naomi is the founder and Editor in Chief of Civil Eats, really one of the most important journalistic platforms and sources of really informed journalism. Naomi is really a lawyer turned farmer, turned media entrepreneur and has been doing just an amazing job in a very resourceful way. And it’s really a thrill for me to have her here cause she is really one of my heros. And she’s invited three people who I have the greatest respect for. Justin Phillips Bonnie Suey, and Shakira Simley, please come up and please let’s have a warm welcome from Edible Ed.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Okay, can you all hear me? Okay hi you guys. Thank you for being here tonight. And I really look forward to this being a collaborative conversation. So I was here last year, it’s hard to believe it was a year ago. And I gave a shorter talk about sort of the state of media after Trump was elected. And it’s, again, hard to believe that it was all about fake news and alternative facts, and that feels like 100 years ago. But I’m here tonight, not by myself, but with some really excellent thinkers and writers and people who are storytellers. And tonight’s conversation, as you could probably gather from the readings for this week, is really about how food news is written. What the story is, who the story tellers are. And if shifting the story teller changes the story, which I believe it does. Just by way of background, and then I’ll introduce all of our co-speakers tonight. I am Naomi Starkman, I am the co-founder and chief of CiviLeads. CiviLeads is the daily news source. We’ve been around since two thousand and nine. And we won the James Beard Foundation’s Publication of the Year in 2014. I was a Knight Fellow at Stanford in 2015, trying to innovate on a very disruptive media business. So I’ve written and we’ll talk a lot about tonight that media and the food system are two sides of a broken coin. Media is broken. There is no business model. And the food system is broken and as a result we’re getting junk food and we’re getting junk journalism. So a lot of our conversation tonight will be about what can we do about both? How do we become enlightened readers, enlightened readers? People who care not just about what we are putting in our stomachs. But also what we are putting in our brains and our minds and how that helps be better in the world for all. So I would love to just take an opportunity to introduce some amazing people who are sitting next to me. These people are really among sort of the cream of the crop of thinkers and writers. Justin Philips has been writing about food stories for a long time now at the Chronicle. He joined them in the fall of 2016, and he’s been publishing some pretty incredible exposes about the restaurant industry. If you guys have been following his reporting. He also did an incredible job yesterday reporting about Taylor farms. We’ll talk a little bit about that reporting with him. And he’s done some pretty explosive exposes on the specialty coffee community as well, and he’s looked a lot at race and segregation within the local restaurant workforce. Justin also, amazingly, on top of all of that, runs The Inside Scoop, which is The Chronicle’s blog that’s devoted to restaurant and dining news. And here is the amazing thing about Justin. Before this, he did something entirely different. He served as the city industry and gaming reporter for the American Press in Lake Charles, Louisiana. And there, he covered the growth and transformation of Southwest Louisiana’s multi-billion dollar energy sector. So we’re gonna talk a lot about how you go from covering energy to food, and what that looks like. What stories are similar, what stories are different? Shakirah Simley is a writer, community organizer, and recovering New Yorker, although I have to argue with that. Having lived in New York for a long time myself, I don’t know that you ever do recover. She was a 2017 fellow for the Stone Barns Center for Food and Ag, and she was a former Community Director for Buy Right Community of Markets and its family of businesses. She’s also the co-founder of Nourish Resist, a multiracial organizing collaborative dedicated to using food spaces and people as tools for collective resistance. She currently works for the city and county of San Francisco, leading community and economic development in the city’s Bayview Hunter Point neighborhood. We’ll talk a little bit about that work as well. Bonnie Tsui is a long time contributor to the New York Times, and the author of American Chinatown, which was the winner the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, and the San Francisco Chronicle best seller. And her work has appeared in California Sunday, The Atlantic, and the NewYorker.com. So just a round of applause for our guests.>>[APPLAUSE]>>So last weekend, Margaret Sullivan, who is the media writer and thinker for the Washington Post, wrote her column. The article was called, Will Truth Win Out? Rob Porter’s departure holds a key to effective journalism in the Trump era. And she wrote, and I’ll quote her. Quote, we have a president who attacks civic norms, lies with impunity, and is not adequately held in check by Congress. We have a media system tainted by the likes of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson at Fox News, that enables him. We have unfettered technology that spreads disinformation in insidious new ways. It’s not a recipe for a functioning democracy. Thankfully, and in part, because good journalism, reality still manages to break through the murk. So food media is actually no different. There’s many ways in which media can feed us. It can also fan the flames of misinformation and add more confusion, and it can create a famine of ideas. I just wanna get a pulse here, how you guys get your news. So you can just show me by a show of hands, and then please feel free to shout out. How many of you get most of your news online via Facebook? How many of you read an actual newspaper in your hands, holding it? Okay, San Francisco Chronicle? New York Times? Washington Post? Wall Street Journal? USA Today? How about magazines, how many of your are reading magazines? Just say a few of the names.>>Economist.>>Great.>>New Yorker.>>New Yorker.>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Great, anybody else? How else are you guys getting your news? Just shout it out to us.>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Twitter.>>Okay, Twitter.>>NPR.>>NPR, great, anybody else?>>CNN.>>CNN, TV.>>Podcasts.>>Say it again?>>Podcasts.>>Podcasts, great. Can you share a few of your favorite podcasts?>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Okay, great, anything else? Any other ways that you guys are getting news?>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Thank you.>>[LAUGH]>>Good answer, anybody else? Okay, so a wide variety of sources. Do you guys feel overwhelmed by the news?>>Yes.>>Head shaking, affirmative yes. Are you guys following what’s happening right now at the White House? Nobody? Yes, no, some head shakes, okay. So we’re gonna talk a little bit about how the news system, a 24/7 news system impacts food. But also, how it impacts all of us, and how there’s an overload of information. I’m trusting that you all read this week’s assignments, and I wanna talk with our guests a little bit about that. But before we even sort of get into the assignments, I just wanna, each of us, to sort of talk a little bit about our work. And I wanna just start with you Justin, a little bit about how you came to be a food writer? We were just talking about his story yesterday, about Taylor Farms, and how you even found that story, and what constitutes a story for you. Because you’re actually looking at dining news, like what’s opening and what’s closing, and what chef is doing what. But you’re also pushing The Chronicle quite impressively to deepen its coverage around issues, around access and affordability, and who’s at the table and who is not.>>Yeah, well, thank you. Before we get started on that, I have to say, Bonnie, and I talked about this. There’s an impressive number of young people here on Valentine’s Day.>>[LAUGH]>>I thought this place is gonna be.>>Really impressive.>>Empty. This is very impressive, so cool. So my job with the Chronicle is, in part, an industry reporter, and the other part is I’m a blogger. So if you hear about restaurants opening or closing, or a big chef has a project in the works, or there’s a bar opening, odds are that I’ve had to write about it. Or luckily, I’ve broken that story, and then we keep it going from there. And so part of that takes a lot of networking, and meeting chefs, and doing these small bit stories, and trying to keep the pulse of the industry in the Bay Area. Then the other part, as a reporter, is me stepping back and examining that. And so that’s where stories about politics in restaurants come up, or me talking about race and segregation in the kitchen. The idea with this position is to use the blogging aspect to create content for my bigger pieces, and so it’s kind of worked out so far.>>How many stories would you say you’re writing a month?>>Goodness. So usually, a day, I’ll do two or three blog posts. And then a week, I’ll try to have a big story, one or two. So it’s, I don’t know, say five big stories a month. And then you try to do 12 smaller scoop posts a day to talk about the industry. It’s a lot, it’s part of the news cycle, so.>>And how are you finding your sources and your stories?>>So part of that is doing the blogging. It’s going out, actually talking to chefs, finding places that are opening, hearing the whispers and rumors, and chasing those down. And you build up sources that way, and those sources, once they get comfortable with you and wanna talk to you, that leads into your bigger industry stories. And so for me, Naomi brought up a story about Taylor Farms, which there were 16 former employees that were suing the company for discrimination and harassment. They were all African American employees. And I was actually tipped off to that story because of another story that I have done about sexual harassment. And so somebody that was involved with that Touch base with me and said, hey, you should look into this. I heard from one of the plaintiffs in that case, and it just went from there. So the idea is there’s a whole lot of strings as a journalist. And so for me, it’s there’s a duality to it. There is blogging and there is big picture stories, and they all kind of connect.>>How was it for you to come to the Bay Area as relative outsider to the food scene and be in this really preeminent newspaper that cares about food and covering the food scene for the Chronicle?>>I thought it was annoying at first.>>[LAUGH]>>I thought it was like, I think the Bay Area can take itself a little too seriously when it comes to restaurants. And being a Southerner, I was like, wow, this is really surprising. But, it’s a very nuanced food scene. There are so many layers to it, and you can dive into it and find interesting stories. You dont’ have to stay surface level. And yeah, I mean, I’ve enjoyed that. It takes a lot of exploring to really understand the types of restaurants that are out here. You hear a lot of stories if you keep listening, if you talk to the right people. It’s just a really deep food scene here. And once I got passed the surface of all of it, I was like, this is pretty cool. And it’s built some great stories.>>And I do wanna commend you for really pushing the Chronicle to do some really great, full feature length stories on issues that have [INAUDIBLE] not been covered by the Chronicle. And the whole team has just been doing an amazing job on covering such a harassment in the restaurant industry. Tara Duggan, and others really kind of following stories in the East Bay and in San Francisco. And the coffee industry, you guys have really been on that.>>So yeah, it used to be a thing where the food sections of newspapers, and I think we’re the biggest one in the country, used to just be pictures and kind of recipes and just really easy things to read, digest on a Sunday. Our section kind of pushes to have uncomfortable conversations. We want our stories to be front page. We want our stories to be national conversations. We want to identify trends that are happening, or talk about issues and be upfront about them. And sometimes that means looking at these really big companies, these really big brands that are really popular and trying to find stories within them. So Naomi brought up, does anyone drink Four Barrel coffee?>>I used to [INAUDIBLE] you’re covering the story.>>[LAUGH]>>Okay. Well, [LAUGH].>>[LAUGH]>>Yeah. So you drink Four Barrel? Yes. My coffee mug [INAUDIBLE]. Do you have it right now?>>No.>>Okay. What does it say on the coffee mug?>>I don’t [INAUDIBLE].>>Uh-huh.>>[LAUGH]>>So we’re gonna talk about sexual harassment at Four Barrel.>>[LAUGH]>>And that’s what the story was about. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Everybody loved Four Barrel. Or people still do, I don’t know. So I spent a couple of months talking to former employees who talked about the culture there, like sexual harassment and some of the branding and the merchandise. Not saying that yours is like that, but there was some really offensive merchandise that they would have. And they talked about the company’s founder, who, they would have after work parties, and he was really aggressive with women. He would grab them physically. He would perform sex acts, like, imitate sex acts at parties. It was just, it’s a lot of really inappropriate, sophomore behavior, really threatening behavior. And all of this was happening behind the scenes. So the idea was that it was the worst kept secret in specialty coffee. That means food writers probably heard about it, but just didn’t wanna touch it because why would they? And so me not really caring, I was like, all right, well, I wanna hear this. These are stories that we have to tell. We have to shine a light on these issues. And so I spent a couple of months talking to the women that had to deal with the founder of the company. While we were doing those interviews, while I was talking to them and building up sources, they decided to file a lawsuit. So the story came out at the exact time they filed it, so it just revealed all the stuff that was happening at the company over a couple of years. And so, yeah. And then from there, sorry for talking too much, but when you break those kind of stories, there’s a trickle effect for other news afterwards. So you write the story, people react, and then you find out what the company does. So is the company gonna say anything? Are they gonna issue a statement, or someone would come out and be like, all of those things are wrong and we’ve never done that? So for the next week, my job was just to keep watching what would happen, keep talking to the sources, keep reporting. So in a couple of days, the story broke, and then they changed their name, and then they talked about the founder divesting, and then they were gonna become this other thing. It shows you that journalism makes a difference.>>Mm-hm.>>And so those people, other people who didn’t know about Four Barrel, saw that and voiced their concern, or voiced their displeasure, and the company reacted.>>Right. And we’ll talk a little bit more about, sort of how journalism can make a difference and make an impact. And it can change people’s perceptions, because people who love Four Barrel are reading this and then they’re really disturbed and may make a decision as a consumer to not support that company. Now, it’s one of the most powerful ways you can actually interact with the food system. It’s the power of your pocketbook to decide who you are supporting and when. I mean, your dollars are very valuable to you. You guys are young students who probably you don’t have a lot of money, but where your money goes is really important. So, just thinking about that, we’ll come back to that. I wanna just ask Shakirah a little bit about her work. And maybe we can play her video as well. We wanna hit that, and then we’ll talk about, Shakirah has a lot of different parts of her life that come together, but let’s maybe watch the video and then talk a little bit about Nourish Resist. [MUSIC]>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Yeah.>>Did you like that?>>[LAUGH]>>[APPLAUSE]>>So Shakirah and I have been friends for many years, and we talk a lot about these issues in general, about food and media, and coverage and not. And I’d love to just hear a little bit about Nourish Resist. And then maybe we’ll backtalk a little bit to what brought you there. Great, so first things first. I want to ask everyone here. Raise your hand if you participated in an act of civil disobedience or resistance in the past six months. The past year? Two years. Five years. Okay, how many of you, that was when one of maybe the first times you’ve done something like that? Raise your hand. How did that make you feel? Seeng some films of->>Some films of.>>[LAUGH]>>How does that make you feel? We’re having a conversation. I don’t bite.>>Empowered.>>Empowered. Anyone esle?>>Someone [INAUDIBLE]>>Did anyone feel scared?>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Mm-hm, so just repeat.>>So uncomfortable, but also liberating. Got it. So I think in the past,I’d say year we’ve seen a lot of folks participating in resistance. It’s almost become trendy or cool. And that was really interesting to me because I come from a family where that wasn’t a trend. It was for survival. Specifically survival by any means necessary, because my grandmother was a Black Panther in Harlem during the 1970s and 80s. So, I think forming Nourish Resist, that came out of a group of women and fem identified people in our living rooms, we all worked in the food industry. And some of the issues that Justin was writing about, seeing that splashed on the front page of the chronicle, except that we were talking about three years prior, but in the safety of our own kitchen tables. And providing nourishing bowls of whatever we could cook, because we’re bakers, and jam makers, and general managers, and coffee roasters. And also providing a safe space for women, and also for people of color. And we wanted to create that space and do that for more folks who may be feeling the same way that we were doing, given the current political context. And after the presidential election 2016, we decided to pool our resources together and say, hey we’ve all already been meeting. We’ve already been providing a safe space. It sounds like our community needs [INAUDIBLE], let’s go to food spaces and recreate that feeling for our folks. I’ve been a trained organiser since I was 19 years old at Penn. I was trained by the Mid West Academy and Jobs of Justice, the national division, and I wanted to take those tools that I have learned and been using for so long, and provide them in the same space. So myself and my co-conspirators, who are amazing women in the food industry, decided to go to the most democratic food space we could think of, which was a highschool cafeteria.>>[LAUGH]>>Right? Who has eaten at a high school cafeteria, raise your hand. Everybody, everyone has eaten at a high school cafeteria. And I had been doing a lot of work in Mission High School, through my work at Birate. And I’ve had a really good relationship with the youth there who were part of urban agriculture class, and also an amazing principle. So key point for organizers, you need good allies, high school principles can be amazing allies. And also lunch ladies who were very kind to let us use their space, and we decided to put on a meal for 125 folks over inauguration weekend. And for our events, we want to do two things. We want to nourish you. So if you do really well, right? So like I said, we’re farmers, we’re artisans, we’re bakers, we work for your friendly local grocery store. We wanna make sure we’re feeding our community culturally appropriate, good, delicious food, and then for the second part, we wanted to teach you how to resist. And that was some of the workshops that you saw that happened onsite. So Know Your Rights, we had a youth power-building session, protest art, and Civics 101. And that’s kind of the format that all of our events that have happened over the past year have taken, right? You come in, you break bread, you meet your community, and it’s action oriented. I want you to leave with something and build your capacity. So you leave with a full belly, full heart, but ready to face the day. And not also rely on the work and emotional labor of brown and black people, do the work for you. White people, we haven’t gone to that part of the topic yet. So which was great. So we really had these really amazing intersectional dinners. Also right after that we had love letters to legislators, where we would encourage folks to write letters to their local state and federal legislators. It was actually around Valentine’s Day this year, last year. And you could write your letters with honey or vinegar. And because of these events, we’re able to send 500 letters in support of a California sanctuary law which just passed this past January. So I just wanted to help create a space using the tools that were immediately available to me, leveraging my community, reaching beyond myself, connecting to folks who had things to give, right, a little bit of fund raising and it was incredible. And we were able to do that again this past January for MLK day with reclaiming refuge, in which we talked about what it means to create sanctuary and how we can do better to make sure we’re protecting vulnerable communities of color. So that’s kind of Nourish Resist and what we’re doing, it’s this amorphous thing. It’s not a certified nonprofit or anything like that. We kinda like it that way. And we’re just looking for more opportunities over the next year to figure out how we can continue creating those safe, nourishing, capacity-building spaces over the dinner table. So that’s a slice of my life.>>And Jess and I met their actually, and I go to a lot of food events and a lot of conferences and talks, and it was actually one of the most productive, most useful amount of time I had spend. And it was really incredible to see this practical outcomes for these young people who felt empowered and left with tools. Learning what it means to say what your right are, there were lawyers there who were helping people, giving them what they need to know if they were to be arrested. It was really, really powerful, and the food was delicious. And I did feel nourished and I was ready for resistance after that. I want to just segway a little bit into your writing, which is part of your storytelling. And while you are somebody who’s been a community organizer both at your university, but also in the community in San Francisco, and now on this very high profile position for the city, you have written and you have had a platform and we read some of your stories for tonight, and I wanna just hear from you about that piece, about why that’s important for you. Why the writing is important for the work that you do. Thank you. First things first, my writing is a little bit different than Justin’s or Bonnie’s, and I think there’s space for all of us and all of our voices. My writing is for me to take a step back and reflect on things that I know and see and understand and have worked with, given my multiple intersectional identities. And, I have mostly written at the intersection of like race, food, gender, and injustice. And, I think one of the most powerful pieces of writing that actually took me a long, long time to write, I could never write 12 stories in a week. [LAUGH] It takes me so much longer. When I get there, I think it’s really good. It was an essay I wrote for an amazing book wherein, by my friend, Julia Turshen, called Feed the Resistance. And in my essay, I talk about how I’m having that almost yearly talk I have with my almost six foot three, very sweet, 25-year-old black little brother, and his behavior that he should have when it comes to the police. And we’ve been having this talk with my little brother since he was nine years old. And he’s 25. We usually have these conversations over the dinner table. So for a long time, it was my mom having these conversations, and now my brother lives with me, so now we have them. And it was right after the killings of Philando and Alton, and, I was like, I cannot separate my identity as a black person living in America, living with this on-going trauma from my identity as a food organizer, an artisan, and a person who works in the sustainable grocery industry. And I need to make sure that I am tying those together, and writing allows me that really powerful space, and I don’t really see folks making those connections. And just for me, in general, excuse me, I always wanna make sure that I’m tying these piece together, right? We can’t talk about these beautiful, this looks like mandarins, from this precious tree in the Central Valley without talking about the person, likely brown person who picked it and what their immigration status is, and what that means in the context of living in California under Trump’s state, right? I don’t wanna separate those things, right? And it’s okay to have uncomfortable conversations or difficult conversations. We can do so over places where we feel a little bit we have something in our belly first, but writing allows me to do that and I don’t wanna stop. Did I answer your question?>>You did. I just would love for you to read from that, that quote from your piece.>>Okay. Our multiracial movement built, sorry. I was getting really into it. Okay. Our multiracial movement building begins, needs to be fueled by reconciliation and atonement. Food spaces and food people are unique champions to create room for and facilitate this healing. Unpacking this racial trauma is best served over warming bowls of peppery ox tail stew or silky. These conversations should occur everywhere and all the time, particularly in school cafeterias, food pantries, church kitchens, public parks, and at dining room tables. And white people will have to examine themselves with each other first. Unexamined privilege is a conditional dinner invite.>>Thanks. Bonnie, I came to know her work. I first saw you perform live an amazing piece that later became a piece for the New York Times, which was in the reading for this week about the so called the Asian salad and what’s problematic about that, and I saw it and it was so moving to me. It really struck me when I saw it, and it was my favorite thing I saw that night, in that entire evening of all the conversations, and it stayed with me. And then when I saw it in the Times, I was really so glad to see it there. And then, the amazing thing about that piece is that it got an incredible amount of comments that were incredibly disparaging and really offensive. So I wanna talk to you a little bit not just about that piece, but because you write about so many things. You’re a journalist who’s written about many, many things. In fact, you just wrote this great piece in California Sunday about the fires->>Mm-hm.>>And it was really beautiful, and just profiling some people who lost their homes, and so many other things that you write about. And when you and I were sort of talking about this class, one thing that you said that really struck me was how food is giving you a way to connect to people->>Right.>>Perhaps differently.>>Right. So I think I’m a little bit different from everyone else here in that I’m a generalist, and so I certainly write about food, but I write about a lot of different things. But one thing I think that unites us that we try to do, I mean, with Shakirah’s story with this mandarin, this lovely bowl of fruit here, is that we’re trying to rip up, [LAUGH] throw the blanket up, and sort of reveal all of the hidden connections between everything in our society. And it’s sort of like once we do that, you see the upside-down and you can’t unsee it. You want to make those connections, and then you realize how everything, the tentacles get everywhere, and then you can really start to think about what you can do to be a responsible person in the world. And so food, of course, is so wonderfully universal, and yet at the same time, so incredibly personal. And so, I love that as a lens to get into stories because we all respond to that emotional power. I mean, we all have food stories that we tell that we feel really strongly about. It could be a bowl of Fruit Loops [LAUGH] that resonate, I mean, you just think about all the things that happen when you think about that bowl of Fruit Loops. Or, it could be this orange. And so, I started out in food and travel and magazines in New York. And I knew I wanted to be a writer, I knew I wanted to be a journalist, and of course, New York was gonna be that place where that happened. And I was born in Queens, and thought I was gonna live there forever. It turned out that didn’t happen, but it turns out you don’t have to be in New York anymore to write. [LAUGH] So let that free you all from that notion. But I do remember having a very seminal moment early in my career. I was a reporter at a magazine in New York, and I went to this beautiful, crazy food event thrown by Food & Wine magazine. And if there are any fans out here of Food & Wine magazine, there’s the long time editor, Dana Cowin. She was on Top Chef, and she’s sort of transcended that magazine as a cult figure, not just as a foodie gatekeeper. So this is one of the things that we’re gonna talk about today about gatekeepers. And so, I met her And I think I was 24, I was just supposed to be covering this event, and I sat next to her. And we just started talking about, I mean I knew nothing about food. I knew I liked it, [LAUGH] like everyone else. But I didn’t really know very deeply about just all of the possible stories to tell, except I knew my experience. And so we actually met for lunch maybe a couple weeks later in New York. And what I remember about her is that she was just so incredibly kind and a really good listener and she also ate so incredibly little because she’s always at these events and so she would take a little sample but I think that that made her a more mindful eater and consumer. And she asked me about what I actually really wanted to write about, and I told her a story that I don’t even know why I told her this but I told her about how my grandfather, when I was growing up, worked in a fortune cookie factory in New York’s Chinatown. And when I say factory, I mean, it was like a machine that went like a conveyor belt. And he would fold the hot dough into the shape before it hardened and put the fortune in it. And he had his fingers all bandaged up. And I told her about that and it obviously meant a lot to me. It didn’t really unpack what that story meant to me and to my family history, the story of immigration to this country, and all of the sort of family connections that brought so many different streams of people to different portals in America. And she listened and then she said, you know, you should write about that for us. And I did. And that actually was the first time that I realized, I mean, I didn’t think that she would be interested in this story, this tiny family story. But to her credit, I mean, she was very, for someone who had so much power as gatekeeper in the food writing world, she was attentive to those little stories and the stories of people she was not accustomed to hearing or seeing or meeting. And so that actually grew many years later into this book I wrote, American Chinatown. And so that was sort of a long way of explaining that I see these little connections. And that book, it has the story of my grandfather coming into the US and working in this factory, but also is the story of labor organization. It’s the story of restaurant workers in Chinatown. It’s the story of what a neighborhood means to a whole, the next generations of people who come from, Americans who come from those immigrants, and the stories we tell ourselves. And so that was sort of my introduction to what it could mean.>>And tell us a little bit about what happened around writing this story about the Asian salad. What was your experience with that?>>I always had this discomfort with Asian salads and I started trying to think about why that was. I mean it seems innocuous like on first blush. It’s just Asian salad, and it’s a general shorthand for cabbage, sesame, oil, and those canned oranges that I don’t know why, and those fried noodles, maybe, and chicken chunks [LAUGH] that could be grilled, could be marinated, whatever. And, I just thought like, what? Okay, they could call it, I mean nothing about it. First, I just wanted to then unpack, is there any actual legitimate food history behind it. So, in this essay I kind of like do a little digging and there’s some sort of really interesting trails to follow there, but nothing that was like, in China they didn’t really eat raw vegetables like that for a salad. There wasn’t really that lineage and also, this particular incarnation was sort of cooked up over the last hundred years here in this country and so it was really interesting. So I kind of unpacked that and they would call, there was a menu, they would call it oriental salad in these famous New York restaurants. And it was like The New York Times food critic said it was nearly indistinguishable from French or Russian salad on the menu. So it was like, there was nothing to be said about Oriental salad except that it looked like these other salads. And then I just thought about, well, so the modern, what we understand it to be is this wholly concocted thing. Which is fine, but we could also call it sesame chicken salad or I mean why does it have to be, and I should have asked questions about that and I asked questions about what we’re trying to do when Applebees presents a menu item that’s Oriental chop-chop salad or whatever. What does that mean? And so I just kind of, I landed on the idea, finally, that I think words matter. Like the salad doesn’t, eating the salad doesn’t offend me. I don’t love it but it’s not [LAUGH] I think that what happened after this essay that really surprised me was that there was a really intense trolling vitriol that came out from all the corners of the internet. And I thought, wow, Asian salad is the thing that triggers this. And I really was shocked, what, what is it?>>Can you just give some examples just so we know what we’re talking about?>>Man. I mean, people started accusing me of, this is so funny, a leap of logic that defies any of my own understanding, that I hated hamburgers and french fries. Again, I didn’t really understand what that had to do with my sort of picking apart an investigation into Asian salad and the authenticity of Asia salad. But I think what they were saying was, in some ways, was that I was attacking the authenticity of a food and I was ripping apart and attacking all other cultures at the same time. And again, like I still don’t quite understand it so I think we should talk about it some more [LAUGH].>>Yeah, and we will a little but, because what happened was, I saw this piece in the Times and then we write, and we have since 2009, we write a lot about the intersectionality between race and food. And every time we would write a story, especially if the story was by a writer of color, we would get trolled. And I mean hard, like really awful racist online comments on our Facebook page, on our social media page on Twitter. And it happened weirdly when we shared a story by Lauren Collins of the New Yorker, when she wrote this kind of connecting the dots between racism and barbecue piece in the New Yorker. And we shared that story, mind you this is not a lead story, and the amount of vitriol that came out on our own page, it was like fast, furious, and coordinated, and it was disturbing. And I started seeing both of these things at the same time. And I was speaking to Shakira about it, and I just wanted to do something that would actually call it what it was. And so we ended up with Bonnie and Shakira and some other writers of color who have written for us in the past. Writing a piece about why we can’t talk about race and food, which is one of the stories we shared for tonight’s reading. Because every time a writer of color is talking about the connection between race and food, there’s a silencing, and a further shaming, and a further silencing. And that’s what we saw with a lot of the comments, not just that you don’t like hamburgers and french fries. Which might be a veiled comment that you’re not American.>>Right.>>But that you’re not actually entitled to talk about food. What does food and race have to do with anything, and that’s a lot of the comments we would see. Race and food, keep the two separate, they’re not related. When actually they’re deeply related because the entire food system, the entire food system is built on a system of oppression, historically. I’m sure Saru spoke a little bit about this, and we’ve written endlessly about it. But to think otherwise is a grave error. And so just unpacking that in one piece, or many pieces, takes a while, and people get very uncomfortable about that. And we know that, and that’s our work. Our work is to be uncomfortable with it and then to ask more questions.>>It really surprised me how uncomfortable people got with having a civil discussion about this.>>Yes.>>We couldn’t investigate the subtleties of word choices wIthout getting really angry about it. And that was surprising to me.>>Right, and Shakira, you wrote for that piece as well. And if you wanna talk a little bit about your own experience writing about race and food.>>In that piece I unpack, which I’m sure you both have seen, this is. Folks of color who write about food and race have this double, triple burden. You’re often maybe sometimes even pigeonholed to write about those topics. Even if you do care about them and they’re important. When you do write about them, you are often attacked or silenced in some really scary ways. And people attack you, not just your writing, which I’m fine with. You can say I’m a shitty writer, that’s fine. But your personhood, and your identity, your gender.>>Your family.>>Your families, just because you’re talking about, hey, don’t culturally appropriate this recipe. And then the last thing is and then you also have to always be on guard in calling out other people and their BS when it comes to writing about issues of race and food. And it’s like, we’re tired, you know. I just wanna be a writer, but you don’t have that space or that luxury. And which I think makes it even more important, that we have, we say a brown swell, with Nourish Resist, of writers of color telling their stories. From just restaurant news, to stories in the New York Times, to essays, books, magazines, podcasts and creating as much media as possible. We need to make sure that we’re, how do I say this, maintreating us. Right, that we’re not talking tokenized. And make sure that we can tell the stories that we wanna tell. And we need our white allies to step up and make sure that we’re not always being attacked and silenced when we do tell these stories. It’s extremely important. And that can happen in editing rooms, that can happen with civil online discourse. That can happen if you are in charge of a publication and you are trying to get the next crop of amazing media creators. I’m hopeful about this, but it is ugly.>>And sometimes it’s very small corrections right so, that can be pointed out but are illuminating. I saw this tweet by Roy Choi, the chef, the other day, that I kind of want to read to you guys. It really struck me. He said I’ve been reading a lot of food journalism lately, and maybe it’s time to drop the precursor country to American. When identifying any branch after that was clearly American. I mean we don’t say Irish, Italian, Dutch, German, Slavic writer when referring to you. Can we try and change things? And it’s true I mean you just think it’s such a simple, Change. Or it’s a simple pointing out of this fact like you see a lot of Korean-American, Chef Roy Choi, right? And the hyphen, [LAUGH] it makes him less than American, I guess is what he’s pointing out, when they’re clearly American chefs. And so pointing out that very, it’s a small thing. But actually when you now think about it, actually, I never see an Italian-American chef, Tom Colicchio. Like you don’t see that. And so simply thinking about things a little bit more carefully can make a big difference.>>But it requires to have editors of color.>>Yeah, absolutely.>>Back to the gate keeper point.>>Yeah.>>You guys as writers can always be pointing this out, but really what has to change is the systemic change at the top level. Who are those gate keepers? Who are the people in positions of power? Where are the black-owned media companies? Where are the black-owned radio podcasts? And one podcast I really recommend to you guys is Racist Sandwich and they’re just incredible. And I can’t recommend them highly enough. I just think they are doing such a great job. Because it’s actually about food and race and they’re pretty right on. So they just did a successful Kickstarter, supported them. Highly recommend you listen to them to just get a different bead on this conversation. But having people in those positions who are making those decisions who would even know that Roy Choi is saying that, that they’re already thinking that.>>Yeah, yeah, absolutely.>>One of the things I wanna read here is from Justin’s reading about the white lies of craft culture. And then we’ll talk a little bit about that piece. This is a great piece as an eater. Craft culture fetishizes, the authentic, the traditionally produced, and the specific. It loathes the engineered, the mass-produced, and the originalists. Craft culture looks like white people. The founders, so many former lawyers, or bankers, or advertising execs, tend to be white. The front-facing staff in the custom denim aprons tend to be white. The clienteles sipping $10 beers tend to be white. Craft culture tells most white stories for white consumers, and they nearly always sound the same. So why did you pick this story for our reading this week?>>So I will pick other people’s stories if I feel like they vibe with me. I remember reading that one, and then I also wrote something about the restaurant industry. Talking about race demographics in your favorite restaurant that you might go to. How in the back, most of the people are brown, as you get to the front of the house positions, servers, waiters, and so forth, they are usually white. And so, this story, kind of like I understood it. I thought it, I mean there’s a line in there where they talked about craft beer and they were like, George Washington’s Distillery and Jack Daniel learned from a black man. Like they learned how to do their craft from a black person, a person of color. And so it’s these kind of stories that might not be fun for some people that just want food, and beer, and All they’re hanging out to be easy. But they’re really informative. And so, yeah, I just wanted to share it cuz it inspired me a bit in some of the stuff I was doing.>>Bonnie, you selected a great piece by Chef Andrea Reusing, who’s at the Lantern Restaurant in North Carolina. And I just wanna read this quote from it. It was on NPR The Salt, their blog. Inequality does not affect our food system. Our food system is built on inequality and requires it to function. The components of this inequality, racism, lack of access to capital, exploitation, land loss, nutritional and health disparities in communities of color to name some, are tightly connected. Our nearly 20-year food obsession with [INAUDIBLE] has neither expanded access to high quality food nor improved nutrition in low income neighborhoods. Only an honest look at how food gets to the table in the US can begin to unwind these connections. Food workers, as members of both the largest and lowest paid US workforce are on a unique position to leave these conversations. Many of us have already helped incubate policy change or wage equality, organic certification and the humane treatment of animals. But a simpler and maybe even more powerful way we can be catalyst for real change in the food system, is to simply tell the stories of who we are. I just wanna share this with you guys, because last year I went to go speak to a large group of people, probably about 750 people in Utah, at the University of Utah at the Natural History Museum. And it was sort of a talk about ten years since Omnivore’s Dilemma, since Michael Pollan wrote that book. And the question was, what’s changed in the food movement in the last ten years? And my entire talk was about the people behind the food. It’s not just the taste of food, it’s not just how the food is grown, all of those are very important pieces of the food system. But the food system and the stories that have not been told and are now just coming to surface and hopefully will be much, much more in the future. Are about the people behind our food, who are the players behind the food, how did that men [INAUDIBLE] add those women how do they get to this table. And I’m sure you guys have been learning much more about this as you go on in this semester here. I wanna bring in some of the questions from some of the students and these are amazing questions has really impressed you guys. And I think you guys can all answer or decide who wants to answer. So one of the questions is, at the source of the change in the industry why do you think that the leaders of the edible and culinary movements, restaurants, writers, etc., tend to overwhelmingly be white? How can we encourage or include more diversity among the leaders of the industry?>>[INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] So, I mean. There is a structure. I’m just gonna talk from the journalist perspective. When it comes to, When it comes to food writing for publications, there is every traditional way of how they do it. For years, it was always, like I said before, really great pictures, recipes. You didn’t really think too much about what you were reading or what you were eating? It was nice, it was a leisure activity. And even now, there aren’t that many food writers of color. I’m the only one I know [LAUGH] for an actual newspaper. And I don’t know if there are many other ones. And so, even though the Chronicle’s still pushing forward trying to make a difference, trying to make a diverse highs for the food section, which I think it’s fantastic. That most publications in this country aren’t taking those steps, so that structure that I talked about before, even if people are like, well, we’re not doing these many photos, we’re doing deeper stories, they’re still not changing it at its course. So that old structure of being really passive and wanting to do really nice stories and most of your staff looks the same. They’re usually a white staff. And they’re not really hiring people of color. People may say they wanna change that but its taken a really long time. And so I think that’s part of it, that the remnants of that structure is still there.>>I would say it’s all about power. Who has power in this country? It’s a question. It’s a real question too. Who has power?>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Who else?>>Who else? Right, so when you have, its like who has access to capital? Who has access to rich social networks? Who has access to land? Who has access to amazing education? What we’re seeing in the food industry is what we see in every industry. And I worked for a local government, and same thing. We have not had a real conversation about power in the United States. We have not had a real conversation about unpacking race in the United States. We don’t even wanna talk about slavery. We don’t wanna talk about genocide. We don’t wanna talk about land grabs. We wanna skirt things under the rug and then sing Kumbaya. Right, and just pretend that none of this stuff ever happened. We were still immersed in the legacy of these systems. Which are entrenched and repeat themselves. And I’m hopeful that right now we have a generation of folks who are like, no I’m cool not doing that or I have power I’m gonna step aside, I’m gonna shut up, I’m gonna like I’m going to give up something. We’re not going see a shift in a food system or any system unless we’re shifting or taking power. I think that’s, that’s where that is.>>And I think what we, our responsibility as journalists is to try to facilitate that conversation, right, by writing about things and I think that is the moment now to write about it and write hard. And be very vocal about these things that, these inequalities that persist because of things that have happened in this country. And so This sort of feeds into a little bit of what we’re talking about with the just glut of our media diets. There’s so much to read and there’s too much to read and we don’t read the same things. And many times we’re consuming just absolutely parallel, divergent streams of information, and so that makes it a real challenge. And so, as much as possible we try to reach different audiences with our work. But that also means trying to engage audiences that you’re not, that aren’t their given audience. So I think that’s one thing that we had to try to do.>>So a lot of the questions also come back to being like how you find truthful sources of information. So what do you guys read and who do you trust and how do you navigate really increasingly complex media landscape?>>Well Justin, and I were also talking about this earlier [LAUGH] about picking up the phone. I mean, people are not gonna tell you things over email or even texting, which is something that was interesting that came up, Justin can tell you that. But they’re gonna tell you stuff on the phone. And so, I mean, online sources. It’s this echo chamber, right? You can trace the same quote back to one false place where it happened. But because it’s been replicated. You know this fractal, it’s like a fiction that just has then permeates and might as well be true. So, for us, as when we’re reporting things like we have to basically pick up the phone and call those sources directly and find out as much as possible from those people. I mean, that is, I can’t tell you how many times I have read a quote and thought, maybe okay, that seemed accurate and that I keep seeing it over and over again and then I finally find out why. There was like some error in transcription or a like a miss attribution to the context and then suddenly that person is saying something totally different. And so, that’s one way, of course, I think we have to do it.>>Are there people in here that actually want to be journalists for magazine or be writers of some sort? You guys can raise your hands, like actually, Shawn?>>There are a few people.>>Just a few? Yeah, so that’s part of it. I mean, you can take that whole idea of finding the truth of a statement, you can use that in regular life. Instead of believing something that someone told you, three people removed from a situation, you might wanna find out from that actual individual. And so, the same thing goes from whether you’re writing about politics or whether you’re writing about food. I might hear something, because the food industry is very gossipy, especially in the Bay area. So I might hear something like, wow, I didn’t know that happened to so-and-so chef. Which, there are publications that might, that might just write based on the gossip, I might reach out to the chef and find out like, hey, I heard this. And their reaction might be, what the hell are you talking about? That’s crazy. But still the point is to find out the truth. So, when it comes to news that I pay attention to and often times this is, I don’t know how you guys feel about this but usually, when it comes to mainstream news like really loud voices, individual voices, are usually the ones that I don’t listen to. But I will look at local news a lot. I will look at reporters that I trust. Being in journalism you start finding out people that do really good work but yeah, you just have to be really discerning with what you pay attention to.>>And you know media is sort of imploding and all these local newspapers closing we’re losing so many, especially in the bay area, and all of the alternative weeklys we’re losing a lot of the voices. So as journalists we can ask these questions and we’re gonna dig until we find an answer. Or maybe the quote ends up being completely an opposite but what about students and the average public consumer. How are they supposed to know whether the quota is true or not? That’s also passing in the moment in social media.>>Do any of you guys watch John Oliver, his show? So there are people that watch that. I love it, there’s also, but he talks about the importance of local journalism. He’ll do these horribly boring stories that last an hour that we’ll watch and pay attention to and quote later on. But if you go back and find out where he got this information, and he has done a bit about this, it’s all local news. So that tells you how important it is. It might not be fun or flashy, but it is so significant.>>He did a great piece about Sinclair Media, and how Sinclair Media is trying to basically buy up local news and why that’s problematic, which I highly recommend watching. He also did a really great piece on native advertising, which is a form of sponsored content, why that’s a real problem for media. So he’s been a real advocate for journalists and journalism. I want to ask, Shakure, did you want to say something?>>I was just going to say, in doing that work, also, ask yourself why this person is telling this story. Which is something that I never really thought before until we had this proliferation. I’m tired, we’ve seen the spread of fake news. So for example, there’s an article in the New York Times about seven craft places to drink in the Bay view. And I was like, the New York Times is writing about this historically black neighborhood in San Fransisco. Okay, cool. Reading this article, there is no one business that has been mentioned in the New York Times that is owned by a person or has been open more like two or three years. We know the pace of food businesses, they close, right? I was pissed, I was like, do better, New York Times. What’s going on? That’s so irresponsible. You couldn’t find anybody else? You couldn’t go to Sam Jordan’s on Third Street? Which is an historical registered landmark in San Francisco. And connect with the people there. That’s super irresponsible. And then, what happens to that article? Developers, private developers or folks on Craig’s list are like, this apartment building is located next to the seven craft businesses as noted in the New York Times. Like that stuff is really pernicious and really disturbing. And we have to be careful. And as a writer, when you are going outside of your comfort zone or exploring other places, you should do your due diligence. And that’s what good journalism does. You take your time, you find the stories, you get them on the phone, you do as much research as you can. And you maybe check your bias or privilege, and your lens and why you’re telling that story and I just think that’s so important right now. And there are some folks who are doing that so well and that’s the people that I read. I fall in love with the writer and I just try to follow them and support them.>>And I would just add to that, ask a lot of questions. I mean one thing we really try to is not to do a hot take. But you know, we may not have the answer, but just ask questions and pose them and be comfortable with the nuance. So there’s two interesting questions here. They’re pretty similar, and they’re about cultural appropriation. So one is, especially in America, chefs often draw inspiration from many different cultures to create interesting dishes. Where do you draw the line between positive mixing of food cultures and cultural appropriation. And the second. What efforts can we make, as eaters, to elevate cuisines that are authentic to their original cultures to the same acclaim as their interpretations which have been whitewashed? Especially because of the association with whiteness is often what which is what allows a price premium to be justified.>>I think the answer is connected to what Shakure just said. It’s acknowledgement and respect and also acknowledging when you do what you do and what you don’t know, right? So you can say, I’m inspired by x cuisine, I went there. I took two trips there and I really wanna use some [INAUDIBLE]. I really wanna find out more. I don’t know that much. And so, I mean, like and then you invite, who know, a conversation about, I mean, wouldn’t you wanna find out more deeply about an ingredient when you’re using it in your cooking. I mean, it seems like that’s what a good chef should be doing? And of course being honest about, yeah, like this is not traditional by any means, so I’m not claiming anything. And I think that that says a lot, you’re trying to make something new I think that everybody wants to do that any artists wants to do that. And you rely on history and tradition and you make it something new, but to acknowledge those sources. It’s like when your writing a paper and you acknowledge your sources, you don’t say that you invented the whole thing. [LAUGHS]>>I had to think this conversation really blew up. In the mainstream. Do you guys remember this burrito place in Portland?>>God. [LAUGH]>>Did you hear about this as well? Wow, all right. There’s a burrito place in Portland a while back that was owned by these two white women, really young women. They had gone to Mexico I think, and they saw some women making, I think tortillas, from scratch and they were like, man, it’s so cool. And they came back and opened this little Papa burrito shop, and everything would have been fine with that, then they did an interview, and people asked them like, so how did you come across this idea? They told some really, they didn’t realize it, but wildly offensive story about ow they’d watch some Latin American women through a window, and one of the girls was quoted as saying, I had spoke to her in this horrible, broken Spanish and I wanted to find out where she found it. But they wouldn’t tell us. And then they watched her and stole the recipe, and came back and started doing it. They said this in an interview [LAUGH]>>[LAUGH]>>And so, of course, people were like, there’s your example of appropriation. There’s no respect for it. So many things could have been done differently to make that okay, but if you’re looking for your basic, what ignited this conversation. I mean, it’s been going on for a really long time, but the first real mainstream story that I remember that got a lot of people talking was two young women in Portland, making burritos.>>Yeah. I mean, there was also a radio interview with the Sporkful with Dan Pashman and Rick Bayless. And there was an event afterwards. We wrote about it afterwards. Cathy Erway wrote it for us about cultural appropriation. Who gets to call food an ethnic food? And then there’s been a lot of reporting also, what does ethnic food even mean? What does that term even mean, and is that even the right word? One of the interesting questions as a follow up to that is, how do you kind of balance the minority voices in food without resulting in this tokenization, as you said. There’s this balancing between finding the voices, writing about the topics, and informing at the same time. So that’s a tension that I think you all have probably faced.>>So yeah, coming from a food newspaper publication side, stuff that drives traffic for us, obviously, I wrote a story about the French laundry, like spinning $10 million last year to redo their kitchenm, right? Fine story, and it did really well for us, but if I write about a small pop-up in Oakland or something by a chef that’s a person of color, it won’t do fantastic online. And the idea now is, how do you balance those things? So part of it is hiring people like me. I’m still going to write those stories. I’m gonna follow things that seem interesting to me. And not to say that the French Laundry isn’t interesting, but ther are other restaurants, smaller places in the east base, smaller places across San Fransisco, that we should talk about. And as weird as it may be, the food sector for the Chronicle has a lot of power. If we whisper something’s pretty cool, odds are a blog will pick it up and it’ll be in a conversation that, I don’t know how often you guys go out to eat and stuff. But it’ll be in a conversation that you have with people that are foodies or whatever. And so our goal should be, and it is for me, and think it is for our staff, is to diversify what we cover. And we’re not gonna tell you why it’s important, but we’ll explain why it’s important to us, why we think it’s significant to a neighborhood. I think if you treat those stories, those small restaurants, those chefs of color, if you treat those the same way that you do a $10 million French Laundry renovation, then you have it on an even playing field. But we start to fetishize those brown chefs, or whatever they ‘re doing. It’s different. My goal was the same, whether I write about some Michelin Star place, I want to write about the place that you might pass up all the time in Chinatown or in the mission or something. So that’s part of it.>>Bonnie or Shakira, do you guys have any thoughts?>>I think it’s definitely disrupting the culture of gate keepers and who gets to decide who gets a byline. I think it’s putting women and queer folks, and folks of color, in more positions of power and decision-making. But I also think I’m seeing a reclamation on behalf of all different types of folks reconnecting with their cultures and their moms and their grandmas and their grandpas and their uncles about their own food culture, which is really exciting to me. And it’s cool to see in the states. I think we are more adventurous eaters and we’re open. And that’s exciting and we should continue doing that. I also think millennials are particularly keen on that. We are the most diverse, most queer, most progressive, most educated generation that there has been. Also we don’t have much money or [LAUGH] there is a lot of struggles with that. And I think within this generation, we’re gonna start to see some of those changes. But please write, please start creating media. Maybe you’re getting pressure from your parents that you should be a lawyer, like my mom did. We had a big fight about it, and I was like 20. And it all worked out, it’s fine. She’s proud of me now. And maybe it’s not the most traditional, [LAUGH] I’m still here. Hi mom.>>[LAUGH]>>[LAUGH] Maybe it’s not the most traditional route, and maybe we’re being sold on a set of goods on what we have to be in order to be successful. But I think we are now in an economy where we have to hustle. You can’t do just one thing and be good at just one thing. And I think taking advantage of these opportunities to create media in different spaces is also is really important. So for example, not a lot of folks raised their hands about reading newspapers, but how many of you read Buzzfeed? Raise your hand. Exactly. How many of you read Medium? Greetings on Medium, right. So there are spaces where our own storytelling’s already happening and we’re creating, our own stories on our own terms. And I just would really like to see folks continue to do that, particularly wih this generation.>>Can we have a few minutes for questions now?>>You guys have any questions?>>I have a question.>>Yes.>>Do you think it’s possible to thrive in this day and age? I was just so struck by this feedback, the vitriol you talk about on social media.>>Is there an alternative to Facebook, Twitter, Google? Can you get your message out without them, or are we just completely You mean like large platforms that share news stories?>>Yeah, like those that I named.>>Yeah, well one thing that I will always say is just, go straight to the website. You guys could always get subscriptions to The Chronicle.>>Go straight to The Chronical.>>[CROSSTALK]>>[LAUGH]>>Of course, of course, I have to plug my office. But I’ve just been thinking about this. I mean, personally, one of the things we’ve been trying to do here in this class and then also at Haas, we try to think, ou think about every time you spend a penny or a dollar or $10, it’s like an asset allocation of your value. So you can think about how you eat, like what car sharing services you ride in. And if you don’t like the practices of the company, there happens to be an alternative, you don’t have to use that one. You can take that app off your phone. I know with everything that’s happened in the last few years since you were here and all,, now I just read the New York Times to see what’s on Twitter. You don’t have to be on Twitter. I’m not on Twitter anymore. I’m not on Facebook anymore. If I want to get my word out there, what do I do?>>I mean, I think that we have a responsibility to be aware of where people are getting their information, right? So if we avoid Facebook and Twitter,, it may protect us personally, individually, as it’s good for our morale and mental health. But I think, [LAUGH] when we’re talking about our responsibility to communicate to our audiences and to our readers and tell those stories, and make sure they’re being received where we want them to receive. I think we have to be there. And that’s gonna change. There’s gonna be different ways to disseminate that information that we haven’t even thought of. But I think at least we’re not going to pretend that they don’t exist.>>Is there any way to hold them accountable in some way?>>People are definitely trying.>>Or to create small civil discourse?>>Yeah.>>I think it’s definitely starting to happen, particularly after election in the spread of fake news, particularly on Facebook.>>Yeah.>>And I think a lot of these businesses are having a moment, kind of like a crisis. Like, what do we do?>>I think Facebook is definitely having a come to Jesus moment.>>I don’t want my kids exposed to this. I think it’s important to have these conversations. And I think certain media models are starting to do that, like turning off commenting.>>Yeah.>>Right?>>Or some turning them on though now, yeah.>>I mean, I don’t want to crush civil discourse, but I also just want to not read what Joe Shmoe has to say in Indiana about this person, I just want to just read the article itself. Which may be just reading print, right? Not having your eyes in front of a screen all the time. The reason I think we’ve lost the art of reading a newspaper because there’s no algorithms to that, right? And it was laid out in a way that was purposeful to have you absorb the news and understand it. And I don’t want that to be lost. But->>No, yeah, that’s a great point. And I think, I hate to be negative about it, but I don’t think there’s any way to shield yourself from that news that we talk about. But the difference now is that ther are young people who care about finding the truth, who care about finding the news that they know that matters and reading the things that matter, which is why we can have events like this. Which is why we have a turnout like this. And so I don’t think we’ll be able to shield ourselves from that kind of news, but I’m encouraged that people want to find good journals.>>And that’s gonna become increasingly important with voting.>>Exactly.>>New York Times led their front page day with talking about how already organized forces are infiltrating the next election.>>Yeah.>>Shakira’s events. I wrote about one of her events and met, I can’t remember the young woman’s name, but I ended up writing this. I thought you were about to say her name.>>Demeris? Yes.>>Yeah.>>And we were talking in the hallway, and I was like, I have never seen young people this inspired. When I was in high school, I cared about stuff. But I would care about stuff the way high school kids did back then, which was technically not caring, I guess.>>[LAUGH]>>But Demeris was unbelievable and extremely passionate. And I talked to her for five minutes and wanted to run through a wall for her. But she wasn’t the only one, she just so happened to be the one that I decided to write the story about. There were a bunch of her that were at that event, and that’s encouraging.>>And that’s the point, right, is to get offline and get in line with your people and actually make the community real. And so to the person, I forget her name now, was it Elle or Ella, who encouraged you as classmates to get together offline. I really recommend that you do pick up the phone, actually talk to each other. That’s what this movement is all about.>>Take it to the streets.>>[LAUGH]>>Any more questions from the class? Yeah?>>Yeah [COUGH], sorry I have a little bit of a long question. So I work at a small grocery store that sells a variety of local products, That are paid by local people of color and a lot of them are culturally specific foods. And because our store focuses is primarily on selling local and organic food that comes at a premium price, that is often exclusionary to people of color and people that are low income. And as a business that can easily make changes to our storefront, I want to know if you had any thoughts on how we can best attribute cultural significance, and to be able to tell the stories behind the products you sell, but manifested in our storefront.>>Fantastic question.>>That’s okay. That is a great question.>>That is a great question.>>Yes. So question for you, do you ever bring the folks who make the food into the store?>>Sometimes, not as often as we should, though.>>So I think that’s number one. Do you ever have those folks serving your food directly and telling your story directly to your customer?>>In the time I’ve been there, no.>>Okay, do you ever h ost any sort of celebration, or do any sort of signage of the merchandising that would elevate those products a little bit more than maybe other ones?>>Yeah, actually we’re planning on making our storefront into a kind of living classroom that does highlight those vendors, but I want to know if you think that’s enough or we should do more.>>I think you start there. Connect with the producer themselves to get them. They can tell their story better than you, and you need to push them a little bit, particularly in retail to get them to tell their stories as much as possible. And then getting their food in the mouths of as many people as possible is also really important. So setting up a consistent schedule, thinking about how merchandising can look more prevalent and give them more real estate. Let folks of color take up more space, right? And be unapologetic about it. And I think the fact that you’re thinking about that in your space, in the grocery store, that’s power in and of itself. So I am going to say thank you for taking the time to do that, and to put them front and center. It’s the Berkeley Student Food Collective.>>Yeah.>>Could you all talk about that?>>[LAUGH] There’s a whole lot of snacking going on.>>[LAUGH]>>What’s your name?>>Elijah.>>Elijah?>>Yeah.>>And tell us about, what’s the classroom thing, again? That was really interesting.>>Yeah, so at the food collective right now, what I am trying to do is to turn our storefront into a living classroom. So that on either a bi-weekly or monthly basis, we would rotate out different themes and vendors what we wanna highlight. For instant, we would wanna highlight people of color, then we’d wanna highlight family owned businesses. And because our storefront is small, we have to keep it kind of limited in scope so it’s not too intrusive.>>Do you think we could hold edible education there?>>[LAUGH]>>Yeah, absolutely, you can all come in, yeah. You should all swing by.>>[LAUGH]>>And I’d also say get someone to write about it.>>Yep.>>Actually, maybe you all could write about it.>>[LAUGH]>>Right, right.>>The whole class?>>Yes, a lot.>>Good job, Elijah.>>[LAUGH]>>Nice move.>>Smooth.>>Yeah, it was real smooth.>>Okay, I’ll shoot you an email.>>[LAUGH]>>Yeah, that’s awesome, man. Yeah, that’s fantastic, good work.>>Thank you, and that was it.>>Thanks.>>Last question tonight.>>Sorry I’m really small so I was like. Hi my name is Katie. I’m an undergraduate student here at Cal, and I just wanted to first thank you all for coming here. And just take a very quick second to acknowledge my privilege from being able to learn from you all. Cuz a lot of folks aren’t in the same position to have access to events like this. And Alice Waters said a few weeks ago that the foundation for changing the food system is through education, but that’s like a whole other spiel.>>[LAUGH]>>Through the conversation center I was talking about the Asian salad, and the hyphen, and Kraft culture, and cultural appropriation. I’m reminded a lot about a point that Dan Barber made when he came last week about the whole idea that as Americans it’s so easy to draw from food traditions from other cultures. Because we don’t have our own distinct food culture. We don’t have our own traditions or crops to grow from, with the exception of maybe southern cuisine. And I would just love to hear your thoughts on the implications of what that means? Is that accurate? What that means for the future of food and media? Just this idea that America doesn’t have a very distinct food culture that’s unique to America?>>Yeah.>>That also is a good question.>>That’s a great question. So I was a fellow at the Stone Barnes Center for Food and Agriculture. And we had one-on-ones with Dan Barber, the fellows and I, there were about ten of us, and he brought that up. And I pushed him on that question. I was like, who are you talking about when you say Americans? What do you mean by other cultures? What does this dichotomy between North and South? Is someone as a first, second, or third generation immigrant not American? And we definitely had interesting exchange about it. And it’s interesting that he brought that up again when he was here. Because that to me made me feel like it’s important for us to start looking within ourselves for answers. Cuz you’re talking about my culture, you’re talking about Bonnie’s culture. I’m tired of this perpetual otherism that happens with American food. My food is American, your food is American. Why do we have to distinguish and make these ghettoize our food, and our traditions, and our food ways? And another thing that I also push to mind is who did folks learn from? That was black, and native, and indigenous women. A lot of those about sustainable agriculture, about our recipes, about preservation, which is something that is really close to me. That knowledge came from our own history here on American soil. So I’d say I would disagree with him about that, and making that dichotomy, cuz I don’t think it’s real. And, I think it’s important for us to have the next generation of food leaders tell a more broader story. Because it’s our experience, and that’s legitimate, and that’s valid, and we don’t need certain spaces or institutions to validate that. So, I would put the question back to you. And think about what is American food to you, and how you’re going to get it out of this dichotomy. So yeah, thank you.>>Yeah, thank you.>>[LAUGH]>>Yeah.>>[INAUDIBLE] you wanna add anything to that?>>Did you wanna do it? Go ahead.>>Yeah, I was just going to talk about how the othering, the sort of us and them, I was just gonna pass this [INAUDIBLE]. Is again like the words, I mean, it’s how we talk about it, and the us and them, and the we, and the we Americans. Even generations, I mean certainly, the American story is an immigrant story, so there are very many multiple diverse pathways of food. But that doesn’t mean that we have to have one monolithic, one that is somehow the one that is the valid one. And so that question, the Dan Barber question, is one I think is funny because of that reality.>>Also, to you, I think, where did she go, did she leave?>>No, I think she just stepped down.>>Sorry, also, you talked about what this means down the road as well. And for me, I just think it means food is going to become more interesting. I would be completely happy if I never read the phrase American fare, or American pub fare, which used to mean like hot dog or burgers, something like that. Now, we might be talking about a Korean soju bar in Oakland that has nachos, which might have been American pub fare but now they’re kimchi nachos. And it’s owned by people of color, that means that I just think it’s gonna become more interesting.>>And also we already eat all of this food. We’re already eating it, I guess we just have to figure out how to talk about it in a smarter way.>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Naomi, any last words?>>I’ll just say that these are really important questions. Do we have time for one last question?>>If it’s quick, we’re gonna run out->>Go ahead.>>We’re on live stream and we->>Okay, go ahead.>>Turn into a pumpkin.>>Apologies, just briefly, could you talk about anti-blackness and color, as in within people of color? And, how it may be a factor in what’s preventing people from becoming into food journalism, or becoming gatekeepers, or in the media.>>Say that again.>>It’s kind of following up on her question. So can you briefly talk about anti-blackness and colorism within people of color, and talk about how that may be a factor why people Aren’t getting into spaces such as functionalism or being an asset to like media to have those outlets or being the gate keepers that were discussed in the articles.>>That’s a great question too. So, no matter what, for someone like me, to be in the position that I’m in now. My whole idea is, I wanna help someone who looks like me. I wanna help someone who also might not have gotten that shot. I guess there’s a very fluke thing for me. I worked really hard for it, but I mean it could have been anybody. There were a ton of people that wanted to be food writers for the Chronicle, but it just so happened If they selected me. So the idea is, if there’s that little crease for a minority to fill a position, you wanna make sure that you reach back and help someone else out, or give someone else a recommendation. I feel like, if you can pay it forward in some capacity, before you know it, it’s people that look like me or look like you. That are in those editorial roles and then we’re not having this conversation of you know, how can you make sure that one of us gets in or one of us might make it. I feel like now we’re starting to, I know I am, I know Shakira is, like we’re starting to build that up, but.>>And I would also say having, if we are taking the intersectional approach to food and food systems and food media, then we are having the difficult conversations and making sure that we’re prioritizing voices who, like I said, don’t have as much and don’t have as much power and don’t have as much privilege. And I also think it’s gonna take some more intra-organizing amongst folks of color. I think there’s a lot of shared struggle, and if we can see ourselves in ourselves I think we can actually get somewhere. But I think it’s a really valid point. But we’ve seen it, we’ve seen it before with asians or black lives, we’ve seen that the potential for that to happen, so let’s bring that to food in a way where we’re being fearless. So that’s a great question, thank you.>>Thank you.>>Though I was just about to add to it man. It also takes people like Shakira who organizes events. I don’t know how it is for you guys, but there’s usually a lot of conversation about changes people wanna make. Or things that they would do. You know what would be nice if this was this way, but it takes organization. And if you can have a plan and if you get people in a certain room and have those conversations that’s what helps. And so I just wanted to add it takes people that could bring everyone together.>>Thanks for spending your Valentine’s Day with us [LAUGH]. Bringing it together.>>Let’s have a big hand.>>[APPLAUSE]>>And extra special thanks to Naomi for framing the evening.>>[APPLAUSE]>>And also just to remind Shakira the first time we spoke on the phone, you told me that you were in the classroom for this class.>>I was.>>Quite a few times, and so it’s a wonderful transition to have you up speaking with us. So thanks again. If you’re a student, stick around for just a few minutes, and we’re gonna do the attendance with your clicker. And be here next week, we’re gonna have Dr. David Katz from Yale University, he’s in charge of the life style medicine practice there. We’re gonna explore the connections between food and personal health, and a lot of the research that David’s done about food and it’s relationship to chronic disease. So, have a happy Valentine’s Day, see you next week.>>There’s the question.>>There we go.

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