Saru Jayaraman—Food First: Justice, Security, and Sovereignty

January 23, 2017

Knight Library, Browsing Room
1501 Kincaid St.
Opening panel, film & keynote
Free & open to the public

Printable poster PDF

Lorwin Lecture Series: Saru Jayaraman
Keynote: (3:30–5 pm). “Forked: A New Standard for American Dining”

Saru Jayaraman is the cofounder and codirector of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has more than 18,000 worker members, 200 employer partners, and several thousand consumer members in a dozen states nationwide. The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, was 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Her most recent book is Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016).

womenwork_widgetThe third in the series of our Lorwin endowed lectures invites reflections and debate around the themes of food justice, food sovereignty, and food security. More broadly, the conversation will explore the nuances of each of these aspects of food studies and how they either engage with each other or fail to do so. In general, the dialogue will examine the roots of and continued “environmental vulnerability, social and economic inequity of the corporate food regime.” (Holt-Jimenez 2010).

Saru Jayaraman

Saru Jayaraman

Opening Panel: (10:00–11:30 am) The opening panel brings together advocates for farmworker rights, food sovereignty and food security under the rubric of “food first/first food.” The panel will feature speakers and advocates from the Pacific Northwest who are active in education, urban food systems, ecological restoration, first foods revitalization, Native youth environmental justice, and stewardship. Panelists include:

  • Sarah Cunningham, Graduate Program Coordinator, Anthropology, and Program Coordinator, Food in Culture and Social Justice, Oregon State University
  • Marissa Garcia, Executive Director, Huerto de la Familia (Eugene)
  • Ramón Ramirez, President—Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN)
  • Brett Ramey – Director, Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, University of Washington

img_forkedbookTeach-In: (12–1 pm) Collier House (RSVP for limited space: This teach-in with Saru Jayaraman will be an activist-oriented teach-in for students, faculty, community members and staff, including food service workers. What lessons, insights and organizing tools can campus activists learn from workers’ struggles to transform the restaurant industry? What coalitions might emerge between dining service workers on campus and the broader food justice movement? What kinds of strategies are needed to combat food insecurity among low-wage earners? Cosponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies.

harvest_documentaryDocumentary screening: (1:30–3 pm) La Cosecha (The Harvest). This documentary addresses agricultural child labor in America.

Keynote: (3:30–5 pm) “Forked: A New Standard for American Dining.” Saru Jayaraman’s keynote address will focus on economic vulnerability, food justice, and the living wage movement for today’s restaurant workers.

The Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is funded by a gift from Val and Madge Lorwin to the University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences and School of Law.

These events are hosted and sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women in Society and  cosponsored by the Food Studies Program, Environmental Studies Program, Department of Ethnic Studies, and the Labor Education and Research Center.