CIW at 2020 Climate Underground Conference: “The pandemic was like a stress test… for the food system as a whole”…

CIW: “The disconnect between the people who pick fruits and vegetables for a living and the people who buy them and eat them at the end of the chain is almost total…”

Late last month, former Vice President Al Gore held a virtual version of a gathering organized on his family’s farm in Tennessee for the first time last year known as the Climate Underground Conference.  From well-known food authors and chefs like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters to longtime advocates and journalists like Ricardo Salvador of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Naomi Starkman of Civil Eats, the conference brought together some of the leading lights of the food and climate movements to discuss the future of food on a planet challenged on multiple fronts. 

Here’s how the conference organizers described the goals and agenda of this year’s gathering:

We are excited for you to join a select group of guests for the second annual Climate Underground. This year’s event will explore how regenerative agriculture connects with fragile points in our food system exposed by the pandemic, as well as other critical and timely issues.

October 20: The State of the Food System
October 21: On the Front Lines of Food
October 22: The Great Transition

You’ll be joining farmers, chefs, activists, scientists, political leaders, researchers and other leading experts from around the country sharing knowledge on the economics of our current food system, food justice, the future role of restaurants in communities, the climate crisis, and how regenerative agriculture can help to solve these vital issues. Each day will conclude with some of the most renowned chefs in the country showcasing and discussing how these important issues affect their work today and in the future.

The CIW’s Greg Asbed was invited to participate on a panel on the second day of the conference, titled “Putting Justice on the Table.”  Here’s the blurb on the panel:

Welcome and Panel: Putting Justice on the Table
From meatpacking plants to farm labor to food availability, people of color suffer disproportionate risks and food injustices, all of which have been exacerbated in the pandemic. Featuring Reverend Heber Brown, Greg Asbed, and Jim Embry

Vice President Gore led what ended up being a free-wheeling and informative discussion on topics ranging from the church’s role in food justice to the impact of the pandemic on farmworker communities like Immokalee and the food system around the country. 

You can check out highlights of the CIW’s participation on the panel in the video above.