Food Revolutions: Latin America’s Food System Is Topic of 10th Annual Lozano Long Conference
Tue, February 14, 2017
Anyone interested in how US cities might feed themselves, how farmers can survive climate change, or how we can stand up to multinational food companies and big soda will find answers from some of the leading farmers and intellectuals in all the Americas.
—Raj Patel, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Latin America might just be the canary in the coal mine for the world food system. According to Raj Patel (LBJ School of Public Affairs) and Pilar Zazueta (LLILAS), co-organizers of the 2017 Lozano Long Conference, our global food system is broken, it is making us sick, and it is undermining the environment and eroding workers’ rights. No region in the world serves as a better example of this broken system than Latin America.
The tenth annual Lozano Long Conference, Revoluciones Alimentarias: New Perspectives on the Contemporary Food System in Latin America, will examine some of the most pressing food issues that face the region and the rest of the world.
Latin America’s food system has been shaped by an era of significant volatility, with trade liberalization, political upheaval, population displacements, and environmental change all playing a role. Traditionally, the Latin American agricultural sector has grown by focusing on exports at the expense of producing fresh food for local communities. So even after a decade of economic growth, under-nutrition overlaps with diets high in fat, sugar, and over-processed foods, sometimes within the same population. In addition to these negative health outcomes, industrial agriculture produces enormous amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
The emerging global food movement is reimaging how we can grow and distribute food in a more sustainable and fair way. In Latin America, social movements made up of farmers, agricultural workers, consumers, environmental groups, indigenous communities, and other experts have been pushing for greater food self-sufficiency, agro-ecological production, and equitable nutrition policies. This conference will address the opportunities and obstacles to transforming the current food system in Latin America and what the rest of the world can learn.
“If we give the food system the attention it deserves, the social benefits could be astounding,” says conference co-organizer Pilar Zazueta. “Latin America is leading the way in grassroots farming and public health innovations that could radically transform how we eat and how we interact with the environment. Our intention with the conference is to build a collaborative space to discuss the lessons we have learned so far and how we can continue to improve on areas like gender inequality in rural spaces, nutrition in urban areas, and diversified crop production.”
Food studies is by nature multi-disciplinary. Thus, this event will bring together innovative activists, researchers, and artists representing the fields of anthropology, ecology, geography, public health, law, history, sociology, political science, and film. Panel topics include agroecology and alternative farming styles; rights-oriented food movements; the land, work, and market struggles surrounding industrial agriculture; and nutrition and public health approaches to food policies.
Keynote speaker Humberto Ríos Labrada is winner of the 2010 Goldman Environment Prize. His address, to be presented Wednesday, February 22, at 5:00 p.m. at the Texas Union Quadrangle Room (UNB 3.304) is titled “Brokering Agriculture Innovation and Fostering Action Learning in Latin America.”
Filmmaker Teresa Camou will be present for a screening of her documentary Sunú, about corn and its precarious future. The film knits together stories from a threatened rural world, viewing corn through the eyes of small, midsized, and large Mexican producers. Screening is Thursday, February 23, at 4:30 p.m. in the Prothro Theater of the Harry Ransom Center, 300 W. 21st Street.
Conference panelists come from and/or are experts on different parts of the Americas, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, and Peru.
View an up-to-date schedule on the conference website at Revoluciones Alimentarias.
If You Attend
The 2017 Lozano Long Conference will take place February 22 through 24 at the Texas Union Building on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The Texas Union Building is located at 2400 Guadalupe Street, Austin, Texas.
The documentary Sunú, including a talkback with filmmaker Teresa Camou, will take place on Thursday, February 23, at 4:30 p.m. in the Prothro Theater, Harry Ransom Center, 300 W. 21st Street.
View the conference on Facebook at Latin America’s Food Revolution.
View the Sunú screening on Facebook at Documentary Screening: Sunú.
Follow @llilasbenson on Twitter using the hashtag #FoodRevolutionsUT.
Ten Years of the Lozano Long Conference
The tenth anniversary of the Lozano Long Conference is a welcome opportunity to reflect on the importance of learning, scholarship, and research focused on Latin American and US Latina/o communities taking place within the United States. The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection (LLILAS Benson) have been at the forefront of this work. Now, more than ever, the conference’s tenth anniversary hits home the notion that what we learn about Latin America has global significance.
Over the years, keynote speakers and guest artists of the conference have included former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos; author Ta-Nehisi Coates; actor and activist Eva Longoria; photographers Tony Gleaton and Maggie Steber; rappers Chingo Bling and Bocafloja; Sandinista icon and historian Dora María Tellez; journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro; and Venezuela-born author, journalist, and museum director Carlos Henríquez Consalvi.
A review of past conferences shows the breadth and scope of this ongoing endeavor:
2008: “The Performance of Leftist Governments in Latin America: What Does the Left Do Right?”
2009: “Contested Modernities: Indigenous and Afro-descendant Experiences in Latin America”
2010: “Republics of Fear: Understanding Endemic Violence in Latin America Today”
2011: “From Natural Events to Social Disasters in the Circum-Caribbean”
2012: “Central Americans and the Latino/a Landscape: New Configurations of Latina/o America”
2013: “Refashioning Blackness: Contesting Racism in the Afro-Americas”
2014: “Archiving the Central American Revolutions”
2015: “Nuevas Disidencias: Youth Culture, Transnational Flows, and the Remaking of Politics in the Americas”
2016: “Derechos en Crisis: Refugees, Migrant Detention, and Authoritarian Neoliberalism”
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