Nourish New Haven 2014: Conference Program

Nourish New Haven: Local Food Justice and Sustainability

Friday and Saturday, September 19-20, 2014

Yale Divinity SchoolYale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale Institute of Sacred MusicBerkeley Divinity School at YaleThe Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, Yale Sustainable Food Project, Yale Dining and the Connecticut Mental Health Center provided major funding to make this conference free for all participants.  

In addition, restaurants, community organizations, and other leaders are joining us for this community partnership between Yale University and New Haven. Partners include Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro, Claire’s Corner Copia CitySeedCommon GroundCommunity Alliance for Research and EngagementGlobal Local GourmetInterreligious Eco-Justice Network of CTLoaves and FishesMiya’s SushiNew Haven Bioregional GroupNew Haven Community Soup KitchenNew Haven FarmsNew Haven Food Policy CouncilNew Haven Land Trust, Roia Restaurant, Sandra’s Next GenerationWest River Neighborhood Service CorpsYale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and Yale Sustainability.

Friday, September 19th


5:45pm-6:30pm          Check-in and Welcome with New Haven Master Cooks


Master Cooks Corps is a 12-hour weekend intensive training program to help passionate local cooks become great cooking teachers and advocates for healthy cooking in New Haven. The new initiative is a partnership between the New Haven Health Department, the New Haven Food Policy Council, CitySeed, and Global-Local Gourmet. Master Cooks will give a taste of what they’re cooking around town.


6:30pm-7:15pm          Soil and Sacrament: Food, Faith, and Growing Heaven on Earth
Keynote Address by Fred Bahnson

Fred Bahnson directs the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity. He is the author of Soil & Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith (2013) and co-author of Making Peace with the Land (2012). After being drawn to the agrarian life while serving as a peace worker among Mayan coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, he returned to the U.S. and in 2005 co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church-supported agriculture ministry in Cedar Grove, NC which he then directed until 2009.

7:30pm-8:45pm          Restorative Justice: Growing and Nourishing Sustainable Communities          
   Friday Keynote Panel

Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-director of The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, will moderate this keynote panel of food leaders sharing stories from the fields of faith communities, schools, and cities.

Andrew Barnett, Bishop’s Chair for Environmental Studies and Food and Justice, Episcopal Diocese of  Los Angeles, CA (YDS/FES ‘12)

Mark Bomford, Director of Yale Sustainable Food Project

Tagan Engel, CitySeed Community Food Systems Coordinator and New Haven Food Policy Council Member

Tyson-Lord J. Gray, Preacher, Religious Scholar, and Environmental Activist from NYC

Kristin ReynoldsLecturer, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Faculty in Environmental Studies and Food Studies, The New School, NYC

8:45pm-10:00pm          Community Social

Celebrate and connect with conference participants in the Yale Divinity School Common Room with food and music from the community.

Saturday, September 20th


8:00am-9:00am          Community Coffee Hour


9:00am-10:00am        New Haven’s Next Generation
Saturday Keynote Panel


Melissa Spear, Executive Director at Common Ground Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, will moderate Saturday’s keynote panel addressing youth and the future of food for New Haven. 

Marydale Debor, Connecticut Mental Health Center and Yale School of Medicine, founder of Fresh Advantage

Rebecca Kline, Executive Director at New Haven Farms

Rachel Murray, Farmer at Green Village Initiative’s Reservoir Community Farm in Bridgeport

Nadine Nelson, Eco-chef and Social Entrepreneur of Global Local Gourment and co-leader of NHFPC Master Cooks Corps

Stacy Spell, President of the West River Neighborhood Service Corporation and 2011 New Haven Man of the Year

10:15am-11:30am         Breakout Sessions

Eating for Our Climate:

The relationship between the food we eat and climate change is complex and significant. Climate change is projected to negatively impact food production in most areas of the world, posing a major threat to food security.  At the same time, food production generates substantial emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Panelists Mark Bomford, Director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project; David Fleisher, Agricultural Engineer with the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA; Cris Coffin, New England Director of the American Farmland Trust; and Meilssa Spear, Executive Director of Common Ground, will help answer the question: What should we know about the relationship between food and climate change when we are making that all important decision “What’s for Dinner?”

Local Approaches to Addressing Food Insecurity:

How does food insecurity impact New Haven citizens, and what is the larger context on the city, state, and national levels?  How is the New Haven Food Policy Council working to address these complex issues?  What role do emergency food providers, including faith communities, have to share from the front lines?  Finally, what potential new directions and progressive thinking may lead to greater food security in the future.  Here from panelists Kim Hart, Billy Bromage, and Alex Dyer of the New Haven Food Policy Council, along with Tracy Helin, a longtime anti-hunger advocate currently in charge of programs at the CT Food Bank.

Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Souls:

This session with Yale Divinity School Professor Teresa Berger will discuss the role that food plays in our worship lives and liturgy. How does our embodiment influence our experience in worship? How does worship nourish our bodies as well as our souls?

Growing Community: Urban Agriculture and Community Gardening:

In the age of abstracted economies and long-traveling food systems, urban agriculture and community gardening remain touchstones of our capacity to grow healthier food locally while nourishing a sense of neighborliness in our communities. Through the experiences of tilling, planting, weeding, and harvesting, people have an opportunity to learn new skills for growing healthy food but also establish meaningful relationships with other people, animals, and the soil.  Hear a panel of practitioners discuss their experiences and other stories involving local communities that share ownership of farms and gardens. 

Factory Farming Exposed:

Ninety-nine percent of the meat, poultry, and dairy consumed in the U.S. comes from factory farms. How informed are we about these industries and the people and animals within them? What do we know about their impact on the environment, both locally and globally? Please join Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Director for the Center for Biological Diversity; Bruce Friedrich, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Farm Sanctuary; and Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection for The Humane Society of the United States for a panel discussion that aims to expose the realities of factory farming and its effects on humans, animals, and the environment.

Advocacy in the 21st century: Reshaping American Public Policy:

Build on your advocacy prowess, whether you’re starting at the ground floor or you’ve been advocating for years. Due to globalization, technology, and the changing landscape of American politics, people who care about the poverty problem at home and abroad face new challenges for hunger and poverty advocacy. This workshop will unpack advocacy in our ever-evolving, complex century. Roberta Friedman, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, will discuss advocacy through the lens of school lunch programs, nutrition, and state policy. Derick Dailey of Bread for the World and Bread for the World Institute will discuss the interconnectedness of hunger, immigration, and mass incarceration to illuminate the importance of collective advocacy among diverse constituencies. 

11:45-12:30        Closing Keynote by Pashon Murray

Photo Credit:
Detroit UIX
Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt and star of Ford’s “Upside” commercial, is renewing Motor City from the ground up.  In 2012, Pashon started Sustainable Integrations to combat environmental deterioration by learning, educating, leading and serving the public through programs and services on sustainable land utilization, ecosystem remediation, renewable energy practice and improved waste management.  Newsweek named her one of “13 Women in Business to Bet On” in May 2014.  Currently a Fellow at the MIT Media Lab, Pashon is working to create soil blends optimized for different uses and a series of workshops for young people in Detroit’s schools around waste reduction.

12:30-2:00           Community Lunch


2:00-2:30             Journeying Together in Hope
Contemplative Prayer and Mediation Toward People’s Climate March in NYC