2013 Global Economic Justice Workshops

How are we to “feed Jesus’ sheep” in a world where close to 1 billion people cannot meet their basic food needs while there is enough food produced for all to eat well? The Global Economic Justice Workshops explored the causes of hunger and malnutrition in the global food system. We looked at how corporate interests have manipulated food’s availability through speculation, and other non-transparent processes. We also examined faithful alternatives to the current system, including agro-ecology, community based agriculture, and food sovereignty — pointing to ways in which the system can be transformed to ensure more local control over food. Workshops also explored themes like corporate industrial agriculture, corporate accountability, public-private partnerships, how land, water and seeds can and should be used, nutrition, emergency food distribution, and other factors including trade and transparency.

1,000 Days: The Foundation for Life

What can we do in 1,000 day? By improving nutrition for women and children in the critical 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday, we can save lives, improve the health of women and children, increase earnings potential for future generations, and grow economies of low-income countries. Learn about the church’s role in this worldwide movement to promote simple, cost-effective strategies to improve nutrition in this 1,000 day window.

Speaker: Rev. Nancy Neal, associate for denominational women’s organization relations, Bread for the World; Rev. Melanie Denny, Women of the ELCA representative, Women of Faith for the 1,000 Days Movement; Sarah Miller, intern, Bread for the World
Mary Pat Brennan, volunteer, Bread for the World; Rev. Nancy Neal, Bread for the World


Can the private sector truly feed the world?

In recent years U.S. international agricultural development programs have begun to shift emphasis from public funding back to a reliance on the private sector in the form of public private partnerships and increased private investment to drive agricultural development. USAID administrator Raj Shah feels it’s important to embrace this “wave of creative, enlightened capitalism…” “Yet many in the faith community feel that shift from public to private investment merits closer examination to assess whether or how such programs can truly reduce hunger and poverty and strengthen the human rights to food and water. Join us to explore for the possible negative impact of such partnerships and to begin to define the principles and best practices for ensuring that small holder farmers truly benefit from agricultural development projects.

Speakers: Katie Campbell, Senior Policy Analyst, ActionAid USA; Krista Zimmerman, Senior Policy Advisor, Lutheran World Relief; Moderator: Patrica Kisare, Legislative Assistant for International Affairs, Mennonite Central Committee U.S.


Corporate Accountability and Taxes

This EAD workshop will look at how corporate tax evasion, secrecy, lack of accountability and the international financial architecture all conspire to rob developing countries of vital tax revenue. Tax experts estimate that far more is lost in unpaid tax revenue than developing countries gain in international aid and that this lost revenue affects southern countries ability sustainably feed themselves, as well as many other aspects of their development. As the world prepares for another round of hikes in the price of food globally, and a possible increase in hunger worldwide, new solutions must be found.

Speaker: Jasmine Huggins, Church World Service


Corporate and Investor Impact on Global Food Systems
(Co-Sponsored with Domestic Workshops)

Download the PowerPoint Presentation.

Faith-based investors will provide an overview of how they are advocating for a food system that is equitable, affordable, safe and, importantly, sustainable for future generations. Specifically, they will highlight their work with corporations on food safety issues and access to nutrition. They also will share how they scrutinize the social impact of the assets in their portfolios to address over-speculation or excessive hedging in food commodities markets and the surge in large-scale land acquisition for commercial and/or speculative purposes which erode local development goals and undermine the economic, social and environmental justice of at-risk communities.

Speakers: Nadira Narine, Program Director of Strategic Initiatives, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; Cathy Rowan, Corporate Responsibility Coordinator, Maryknoll Sisters; Kate Walsh, Associate Director, Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment


Dignity! Justice! Action!

While the CEO of the world’s largest full-service restaurant group you’ve never heard of made $8.5 million last year, many of the workers at their restaurants and throughout the food supply chain earn poverty wages. Giant corporations squeeze profits from every link and worker along the supply chain – from Thai shrimp farmers and farm workers to processers, shippers and restaurant employees – and influence Members of Congress to keep the minimum wage for food workers as low as $2.13 an hour. Now an alliance of food chain workers are banding together to demand fairness and dignity and end corporate influence on our democracy. Learn about and join forces in this brand-new campaign.

Speakers: Diana Robinson, Food Chain Workers Alliance; Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United)


Faith and the Drive for Equity in Immunization

This session, organized by Christian Connections for International Health in cooperation with the GAVI Alliance, will highlight examples of how FBOs have contributed significantly to major improvements in maternal health and child survival by delivering basic health and immunization services to highly marginalized populations as well as the role of FBOs in advocating for immunization and financing of global health programs. The discussion will also address the critical role of FBOs going forward in both program expansion and advocacy for policies and financing in the final push towards reaching the 5th child with immunization to achieve universal immunization coverage. The argument that faith values demand equity in access to life saving immunizations for the poor as well as the rich will be developed.

Speakers: Alex Palacios, GAVI Alliance; Kathy Erb, Christian Connections for International Health; Dr. Sambe Duale, formerly SANRU Project, DR Congo; Moderator: Ray Martin, Christian Connections for International Health


Food in Times of Crisis

Droughts, floods, and conflicts can all cause food shortages that hit especially hard in developing countries. Building stable food supplies needs to start from a real commitment to creating conditions so farmers can feed their communities, but when a crisis strikes, food aid and food reserves can be the last safety net that keeps people from falling into poverty and hunger. At this workshop we will discuss efforts to improve food aid programs to support faster, cheaper and more effective local and regional purchases, as well as plans to develop food reserves to stabilize supplies and prices.

Speakers: Karen Hansen-Kuhn, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Dahlia Rockowitz, American Jewish World Service


Food Sovereignty: Land, Water, Seeds

The well-being of hundreds of millions of people depends on a democratic food system where all farmers can access a diverse seed source, clean water, and land. Yet corporations have bitten off more and more of the global food system—land, water, seeds, and inputs—and shape farm policy at every level. This undermines food democracy, a critical part of food sovereignty. Progress in changing the power dynamic and democratizing our global food system depends on the uniting of movements and the involvement of everyone, especially young people. We will look at how building local-global alliances and grassroots organizing have brought together young adults and diverse stakeholders to begin creating change in the food system, often directly challenging corporate practices.

Speakers: Sara Mersha, Grassroots International; Valery Nodem, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Church (USA); Blain Snipstal, Young Adult Program of La Via Campesina; Moderator: Andrew Kang Bartlett, Presbyterian Hunger Program


Global Food Crisis: Speculation, Transparency, and Trade

The spikes in global food-prices in 2007-08 served as a wake-up call to the global community on the inadequacies of our global food system. Commodity prices doubled, the estimated number of hungry people topped one billion and food riots spread through the developing world. A second price spike in 2010-11, which drove the global food import bill for 2011 to an astonishing $1.3 trillion, only deepened the sense that the policies and principles guiding agricultural development and food security were deeply flawed. Come learn about how speculation, lack of transparency and trade agreements contribute to the global food crisis. Learn from the experts and share your own knowledge of global and local solutions.

Speaker: Karen Hansen-Kuhn, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Global Food Fight: An Agro-Ecological or Industrial Agricultural Future?

Or both? Is humanity at a critical fork in the road? How do the stomachs of a growing population get filled? Given the enormous environmental impact of food and farming, which approaches are sustainable? Agrifood corporations claim they will feed the world; agro-ecological farmers claim that only their approaches are sustainable and provide real food security. And who gets to decide? Hear from people who have been working in the field on these questions and discuss how we can help shape the decisions moving forward.

Speakers: Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, Pesticides Action Network North America; Ricado Jacobs, Surplus People’s Project-South Africa; Other TBD; Moderator: Chloe Schwabe, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations