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Food movements in the US have played a key role in exposing and reducing the disparities and inefficiencies of the dominant food system from seed to table. While major societal disruptions, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or the 2008 Great Recession, magnify food system shortcomings, they also reveal food system strengths and offer windows of opportunity to rethink flawed ideologies and inefficient infrastructures, and to harness the power of grassroots food movements to take back the food system. The focus of this forum is to examine what can be learned from recent food activism to take on today’s challenges. Four experienced food activists and thinkers who have contributed to the recently published book Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning (UC Press, 2020), co-edited by Saru Jayaraman and Kathryn De Master, will share their perspectives on how past activism can inform future action to transform food systems. On April 22, 2020 join the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute for this virtual forum.


  • Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley
  • Jose Oliva, Campaign Director for the HEAL Food Alliance and Co-Founder of the Food Chain Workers Alliance
  • Andy Fisher, Executive Director of the Ecological Farming Association and Author of Big Hunger (The MIT Press, 2017)
  • Kristine Madsen, Faculty Director for the Berkeley Food Institute and Associate Professor, Joint Medical Program; Public Health Nutrition; Community Health Sciences; UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health


  • Nicholas Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
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