What is a food desert? What is food apartheid? How does access or lack of access to fresh and nutritious foods affect a community? Ife Kilimanjaro, Ph.D. and Co-Executive Director of Soul Fire Farm and Melissa Spiesman of Food Rescue US will discuss historical practices that have led to our current food systems and how local communities can help to change the system by working with and for their neighbors. Understanding historical policies and practices is a great step in creating space for a new conversation regarding food security and a healthy future for all.
Ife Kilimanjaro, Ph.D., Co-Executive Director / Managing Director (she/her) of Soul Fire Farm, is a grandmother, author, researcher, educator, activist, traditional healer and spirit warrior whose life and work are informed by her deep commitment to healing, justice and co-creating a better world. A sociologist and organizer, prior to Soul Fire Farm, Ife Kilimanjaro served as the senior network engagement director at the U.S. Climate Action Network. She was spurred to work on environmental issues after working as an elementary school principal in Detroit, where she saw children get sick and miss school because of air pollution and lack of access to clean water.
Melissa Spiesman, Chief Operating Officer of Food Rescue US has over 25 years as a hospitality and nutrition professional and has combined this experience with her passion for ending hunger and food waste to help develop innovative food recovery solutions. In 2011, Melissa joined Food Rescue US, then known as Community Plates, and now serves as their VP, National Site Director. She has helped to expand the organization nationally. Melissa supports each individual location in their day to day operations and helps them develop strategic partnerships to increase their impact on the communities they serve. With a goal of expanding to all 50 states over the next 3-5 years, she meets with individuals and organizations daily to launch new Food Rescue US affiliates.
Dinner Disrupted is a series created in partnership with libraries in Fairfield and New Haven County engaging patrons in collective discussions and actions focused on engaging residents to play a more active role in their food system. Together, we can reimagine our landscape and use the library as a test ground for reincorporating food into our landscape. Imagine a future where the public grounds are a food forests, adding biodiversity to the landscape, which ultimately helps to improve air quality, regenerate the soil, aids with water conservation, and increases public health and wellbeing. Food security is defined as the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious foods. What affects food security is policy, zoning, land use, and increasingly, climate change.