This blog comes from NAMA's Coordinating director, Niaz Dorry, who serves on the Food Solutions New England Network Team.
The 2015 NE Food Summit is behind us. Thanks to all those who made the 2015 NE Food Summit in Boston one for the history books! Especially the team at the Sustainability Institute at University of New Hampshire: El Farrell, Colleen Flaherty, Jackie Cullen, Joanne Burke, Johanna Rosen, and of course Tom Kelly as well as the organizing team of Karen Spiller, Ruth Goldman, and Thai Ha-Ngoc. I must also thank Jedi facilitator Curtis Ogden of Interaction Institute for Social Change, and our team at NAMA for all they did to make sure we were a good co-host of this year’s Summit.
Looking back, here is a list of all that left an indelible impression on me:
10. We can do it! The Summit ended with the breaking news that the Fast Track bill to rush the TPP was defeated in the house – at least for now. It was a good reminder that together we can do the imaginable.
9. We all lived in a yellow submarine – temporarily. The set design during our dinner featured a oceanic theme complete with a yellow submarine that became an impromptu photo booth! Thanks to our board member Madeleine Hall-Arbor for the creative decorations.
8. We looked different than the years before. More and more, the Summits are beginning to look like the rest of our society – ethnically, culturally, economically, and racially diverse. We still have ways to go, but it’s great to see how far we’ve come.
7. We were multilingual. For the first time we had translators at the Summit to make sure all who attended the Summit could be full participants. With multiple languages spoken by the delegates, we couldn’t have done it any other way.
6. The Caribbean food catered by Stir It Up Cuisine Thursday night was awesome! We are grateful that they found most of the ingredients regionally proving that you can have culturally appropriate food with ingredients from New England. Click on this link to see photos of the dinner gathering.
5. We played games! We’re lucky to have Cynthia Bush on the NAMA team who makes games as a hobby so she added her creativity to the Summit by helping us design The Price Is Wrong game to highlight the need for fair prices and what we can do turn the tide of economic injustice in our food system.
4. The Food Chain Worker delegation brought their unique power to the Summit. They shared their often-heartbreaking stories but also tales of success about what workers in our food system have to endure so we can have “cheap” food. Huge thanks to Abel Luna of Migrant Justice and Shira Tiffany, one of our community organizers here at NAMA, for coordinating the work that brought this delegation to the Summit.
3. On a personal note, relationships were deepened, new friendships were formed, and we got to toast to good health and commitments toward balanced lives.
2. There were babies at the Summit! The future generations were at the Summit for the first time in the form of one-year-old twins. Obviously, they are not old enough to work but joined their mom Thelma who was part of the food chain worker delegation.
1. All you need is love! Okay, love and good food, and of course clean water. Yes… the word love was invoked on multiple occasions as the secret ingredient that bind us and gives us power. And we all felt it!
Here’s to 2016 NE Food Summit… in Connecticut!