Skip to main content

tv   Bay Area Book Festival - Alice Waters and Saru Jayaraman on Food Politics  CSPAN  November 28, 2020 7:01pm-7:57pm EST

7:01 pm
food system in the united states. in former appellateudge douglas ginsburg looks of the constitution to the eyes of judges, leg scholars and historians. also ts evening former president barack obama reflects on his life and political caree career. open markets institute director sally hubbard looks at the history of monopolies in american industry and economics professors david rose argues more belie and culture are essential to a thriving society. find more schedule information about o consult your program guide. here's a discussion on america's food system. ♪ ♪ welcome everyone to berkeley unbound. the bay area book a civil date log many festive big ideas. the graphic epic time of crisis impossibility. how communities will reshape themselves help be reshape by
7:02 pm
outside sources as well as on the table. half of npr's kitchen sisters producers of the kitchen series for the morning addition and i will your moderator for the conversation and child food is fundamental. joining me are two of the most revolutionary food activists in the bay area. case there the nation. their mavericks in their field, saru jayaraman is a new book by beck people take on corporate food and winning. directive you see berkeley school labor research center, cofounder of the restaurant opportunity center united and president of one fair wage. alice waters is berkeley's mountain is 49th year. and the edible schoolyard project now in its 25th year. a program that has ignited a network of some 7000 edible education projects around the
7:03 pm
world. alice is also the author of some 17 books including her upcoming manifesto about the power of food. under sipping of the national medal of honor from president barack obama. welcome to you both. >> thank you. alice, let's start with you. food is fundamental what is the burning issue to you now? >> i think that we have a silver lining possibility. because we do all eat. we all eat. and we have the possibility of eating with intention. we could buy our food from the industrial food system, we
7:04 pm
could buy our food from a farmers market. we could grow our food. we could connect with the farmers to take care of the land. and we could say i want to buy directly from you. at the beginning i was looking to taste. i couldn't find food that tasted like the food i had eaten in france. and it led me to search for what was growing in and around the bay area. and the first thing we did was go to farm stands. when you buy directly from farmer doesn't cost as much
7:05 pm
because a retail component to i it. there are distributors taking the money. we would go to the stand and by the corn. and then ultimately we ended up the doorsteps of the organic movement in california. and the best tasting food was the food that was seasonally. also the most affordable. so that is where we went. we went and got peaches brought them to the restaurant. and it was amazing, people would say were did you get that page?
7:06 pm
it is so delicious. and again making the connection of farm to table. now come i don't if i answered your question. >> host: i'm wondering if there is a founding in this first early fruit trees and brought into the now, here we are six months into the pandemic so many food chains and food supply things have been completely disrupted. everyone's health is at stake. in thinking about these issues for decades now. what is the burning ember? who to the real part is the fact that the industrial truth system has been exposed. in it for the money.
7:07 pm
they don't want to buy the food for the animals brothers and give the people who are hungry, i just got rid of the animals, they shot them and buried them. this was a real moment in the pandemic fry think everybody lives in this country. he saw that happening on the front page of the "new york times". and you see the people who are struggling to find something to eat. it is happening all around. were worried about her food security. and we've never really been worried before in this way. maybe during the depression we were worried, i know my parents were worried during world war i ii.
7:08 pm
it's the reason they planted a victory garden at their home. and we ate out of that victory garden growing up. my mother would can the food for the winter. we ate ice it i always set would've been great if she was a good cook but she knew nothing about cooking food. that is the place where we have never been trained as a country. yes, there are pockets of people, particularly in the south. we found we went to tennessee and we cooked for the chefs there for al gore's climate underground conference. and i found that they had five different kinds of beans i had never heard of before.
7:09 pm
and they knew how to cook greens so beautifully. i was again, surprised by the biodiversity, the local bio diversity. the traditions of food that exists in this country. but in 50, 60 years of fast food indoctrination, we have forgotten about it. and this pandemic has brought it back to us in a way that we would want to know what is nearby. we want to help the people who need the food in our communities we need to think of everywhere that we can plant food. and i know that is happening
7:10 pm
in stockton right now. there is a project the mayor of stockton stressed if we could help connect the organic farmers with food boxes that could be given to people who need it living in stockton. and we found people to help us do that, well what could be better than people who need it most to get the help for food. but it has also exposed the whole health system. big time. and the people who are the most vulnerable because of their poor diets and fast food are the ones who are most
7:11 pm
susceptible to the pandemic. it's really a moment that we need to pay attention to what we are eating. so in again you have such an astounding overview of the food industry. the lives of people who work in food and in restaurants. you have devoted yourself to their will being and sharing those issues. what is the burning issue food is fundamental, right now what is the burning issue we will fan out to both of you to discuss. there are so many of them. where we need to go, where we've been, where we are
7:12 pm
headed. >> there is so much i could talk about. i think the burning issue for really millions of workers right now at least in the restaurant industry, for any part of the food system that you think are essential workers those essential workers are suffering. and the restaurant industry is the largest of the food labor system. and we in a lot of states there is this absurd minimum wage of $2.13 exists in 43 states, not in california was an issue before the pandemic. but the issue right now is a lot of states that pay these workers to dollars are reopening at 25 or 50% capacity and asking workers to come back with their lives for
7:13 pm
2-dollar wage when chips are down 50 to 75%. they are being asked to enforce social distancing and mask rules with the very same customers for whom they are supposed to get tips to make up their minimum wage. it is an impossible situation. it's a public health disaster. the workers are either going to enforce these rules and not get tips and face the food insecurity alice is talking about. literally thousands of workers telling us, i don't have money for gas to get to the food bank. when i get to the food bank there is no food, spoiled or it's gone. i have people telling me i'm now stealing food for my children because i have no other way to feed my children. these are foodservice workers. these are people whose lives have been about serving us food are not able to feed their children. so either they're going to reverse those rules because they are told they have to, and not get tips or they are not going to enforce the rules and get tips and feed their
7:14 pm
kids. it's an impossible choice. it's going to lead to a public health disaster either way. so the burning conditions continues to be how can we pay the largest workforce in america $2 an hour? it was never accessible. now it's literally a matter of life and death, literally. >> like to s something about that becse this is all about food being cheap. cheap and easy. an order for food to be sheep, only way is to buy food that's industrial pulled deuce. not to pay the people who are preparing it or serving it. and that is why the food is cheap. now since the beginning of
7:15 pm
time, food has always been considered precious, don't waste any little thing, save everything. i always think of josé when i say that because he said you know you by expensive organic chicken i can make for meals out of it he can make six, you know if you know how to cook. but the thing is the fast food industry has made money on taking advantage of the cheap price and in chasing people to buy that big food because it is cheap. and we need to really expose that right now for what it is.
7:16 pm
it's all wrong, it's all wrong. >> host: so could you lay out for people who might not know i spoke with you a few months back towards the early days when people were actually getting kind of violence in those early days. could you explain the situation for a lot of restaurant people what the conditions were. could you do a quick sketch of that so people listening could get a sense of what people are going through? in the ongoing situation. so before the pandemic there 13.6 million restaurant workers. it was the nations largest fastest-growing private sector. it is also the lowest paying that was due to the absurd wage of just $2.13 an hour. it originates from restaurant
7:17 pm
owners after emancipation not wanting to pay workers a minimum wage. not wanting to pay black people a wage make them learn on tips. it was intention to be on top of the wage. so they change it to for the black female population that became law in 1938 is part of the new deal which says you get the minimum wage except for tip workers you could see were dollars as longest tips brings the full minimum wage. one from 01938 to $2.13 an hour which is the wage today and was the wage before the pandemic. before the pandemic was a source of economic instability and sexual harassment. instilling mostly female population of restaurant worker workers, with the pandemic about 10 million of the 13.6 workers lost their
7:18 pm
job. we've done a lot of research could be started a fund we raise like $23 million to a and 20000 workers are applied for a low% of them, 60% were unable to access unemployment insurance. not because of immigration status the vast majority across the country were told that their wages and tips were too low to qualify for benefits. they had paid taxes to receive. it was such a slap in the face. these are states that refuse to raise their wages and then turned around and told them with the pandemic because we didn't raise your weight you cannot now get benefits because your wages are too low to meet the minimum threshold. that resulted in literally mass starvation, eviction, homelessness. i'm sure you have seen there so many press reports with restaurant workers living in poverty across the country. inability to pay utilities and
7:19 pm
heat in other states, winter is coming without heat people are going to die. people don't understand that people are going to die. th cannot feed their kids. theyiterally cannot be there kids. that has been an ongoing situation. when y compound on top of that thi incredibly impossible choice, either you take this 2-dollar job and risk your life going t tryo police customers while you're trying to tip them orou refuse the job and you don't get to keep your benefits. if you got benefits. because unempyment insurance was set up the 30s it was set up to encourage people to take any low-wage job it came your way so that means you are forced to take that job. otherwise you lose yr benefits. about al the restaurant workers facing tse conditions or health risks, i talked to restaurant worker today whose mother died of covid school he was working a
7:20 pm
12 hour shift in a resurant. these a communities of color with very high risk of everything from diabetes to l kinds of health conditions. they are being told if you don't take that job, we don't care about your health situatio if you don't take that job and goack to work for 2-dollar weight you will lose any benefits that you got. becauseost of those workers were denied andppointed by the state. some were able to get the $600 in a federal government which then disappeared and is not come back. and so here you are the very impossible choice. i'm going to risk my life and my family's life or lose my benefits. there iso good option there. i just don't think people derstand the scale or the intensity or severity seeing and about toee even more of. >> alice so what is going thugh her head?
7:21 pm
>> what is going through my hea head? a massive strike. just a massive strike. every restaurant needs to just say no. we won't open up our restaurant restaurants. we have to be sort of in solidarity is what was going through my head. truly. because i mean we are in a very vulnerable situation to. i mean we are very lucky that we have all of these years and wonderful clients who support us no matter what. we are trying to get food to them. we're trying to social distance and all of the above. but whether we can keep it
7:22 pm
together sell enough food so that when we open back up, when we are able to we will have the staff to do it. but think about that kind is kind of unbelievable to me. it is kind of unbelievable also to think about the food children are being served at schools. and of course for that school there is food for the kids. and that is something that we are scrambling to take care of in berkeley. i am just thinking about all around the country the children don't even have free or reduced lunch.
7:23 pm
it is a time when i think we can make decisions about how to feed all children three healthy school lunches every single day. and when we open up need to be prepared to do that. we really need to consider food and the values that come with that food. what we are teaching our children. and stewardship any quality and nourishment are key to that. how the food is grown is a big part of it. i am looking for leadership
7:24 pm
from the industry in california. i am. there we have a very big buyer of food. what if they purchase their food with discernment? what if they decided they would support all of the small farmers that take care of the land? it would put young people back into farming. put young people into farming. what if we bought directly from the farmers, what the end of the state of california did that. select not just uc berkeley. >> i am not talking uc berkeley. i'm talking much every campus. it could be an incredible stable buyer.
7:25 pm
it could connect all of the students with the farms. i mean that is what happened. we would go up to the farm pick up it was a real education and we had to learn how to cook differently at the restaurant and completely seasonally. but it is such a resource for research. you imagine what food could repair our immune systems. it's good for our health. and it's good for the health of the planet. it directly pulls the carbon down and it restores climate.
7:26 pm
and i don't know, i am very hopeful in that place because it is a chain around the state of california. and i guess i really was in berkeley at the right time in the 60s. and i felt the power demonstrating at that point. the hope that we had. the hope of stopping the war in vietnam. the hope that we could really attract civil rights. the hope that the university could provides free speech for everybody. and we accomplished a lot. we did that together and i have never lost my hope since then.
7:27 pm
so, that is where i am going. i'm going to the place of education which i think is her last truly democratic institution. all children go to school or should. i'm afraid our schools have been industrialize like our farm. we need to make an intervention right to the cafeteria door. we need to come in with the diet that is so fundamental. promote the university come for the fronts and appreciation looked grateful
7:28 pm
to the people who bring us our food. >> you have such an organizer a systemic mind all these kind of things just having heard what she said she has the vision using the system as an economic while connecting the universities to farms good for the climate regenerative agriculture. how would you implement that? help me implement this. what is on the first first things that comes your mind hearing that vision customer curing that mission?
7:29 pm
speech i think this crisis has created such an opportunity to push for transformative change at all levels. as on that question i would say elevate the crisis that children are facing.accessing food right now it's elevate the crisis of children in the bay area or around uc campuses that are not able to access food. i know my children's public school is shut down there facing a charter school. most corporate food and those corporate education trying to impede on the public school system. these can definitely play a role in changing all of that. i think elevating the crisis is a way i would go about doing it. i think that's true on these issues beyond the food system in america. i think elevating the crisis that all workers in the food
7:30 pm
system are facing whether they are in the meatpacking plants on their processing the meets at their table. subbing from high rates of coronavirus were there the restaurant workers trying to afford social distancing on a 2-dollar wage for there's an opportunity right now given that word essential there is a new awareness. that these workers are essential. we cannot live without them. so think it's time to push on the awareness. i think it's time to lift up the silver linings. think there's real silver linin lining. because she is one of many restaurant owners that have said, like she just said things have to change for workers and for employers at the same time. i just want to lift up. we've been having this extraordinary moment or restaurant owners who fought
7:31 pm
us on raging wages in the past about two or 300 of them have come over to our side in the last several months, during the pandemic and after the murder of george floyd have common said it's time to and this 2-dollar wage. and so we have created the unit he deals we came together in a crisis order that multiple states at the federal level. we sang for sakes if we as independent restaurants and workers were typically on the other side of the aisle if we can come together and say we need both the restaurants and raise the wage act which provides a 50-dollar minimum wage in an oblate elimination we both we protection for workers why can't our elected officials lead to an agreement
7:32 pm
to bring back the $600 unemployment insurance we should bring back stimulus on the verge of closin closing. they may hear the data we could lose between anywhere from 15 to 85% of independent restaurants to the pandemic. i think that is so horrific. as another data data point when you hear that data point is ultimately means 50 to 80% of low wage workers will be unemployed. so have unemployment insurance livable wages and relief for restaurants. we found a way to bring independent restaurants together to make these demands we just need elected officials to listen. the same way we need them to listen when he elected officials to listen to the people on the ground who not only know best and are fighting on these issues forever but have been willing to come together and really unique ways during this
7:33 pm
pandemic as a result of the pandemic. and are the model for what legislators need to do to get over themselves need to get over politics at this moment and realize we are and a massive crisis. we learned nothing from the paemic as we are independent and we have to work together to save each other. the lowest wage workern america, that person not having access to a vaccine, that will be an ongng problem. it's not lik we all get the vaccinwere done. until the lest wage worker gets that vaccine we are a at risk. we are all interdependent. >> i he to say i want you to add to your list of things that we need need real food.
7:34 pm
we are in a dress rehearsal right now for climate change. if we don't change the way we eat or enrich the soil with the compost and pull back carbon down into the ground, we are going to be in a much more serious crisis than we are now. so to band that grouped together, to connect them to the farmers who are taking care of the land. to ask public officials to really demand people consider what is food, what is nourishment about? what does it need grow food with chemicals and, what is it
7:35 pm
mean was it doing to us? it's making us vulnerable to the pandemic. that is what it is doing to us. so why don't we take that on at this moment to? i would love to be a part of that bigger conversation. i think it is what could really be the mission of the university of california. to put that word out in the world. but not only evaluate people in our health, but it's valuing the health of the land. i think it all comes together when you begin to value all of the people you see the diversit diversity.
7:36 pm
you fell in love with nature. we have fallen out of love with nature. what this fast food indoctrination. and so we need to come back again. that is where the real nourishment is. and beauty. i always called a delicious revelation. because i never think this is hard. i want meaningful work for people. i don't want restaurant people to be forced to work in the basement of restaurants make food they know is not healthy for people. i don't want that. i want us to find out that
7:37 pm
feeding people the most important job that anybody could have. that's really what it is about. mother cooks for the family, since dell made the kids to learn how to cook. they cook together. and we lost that we lost the family table. we lost the idea that food is precious. >> host: think we lost the family table before the pandemi pandemic. now we have food become togethe together. we had silver mother say killing food for my children. but had a mother say how long do you expect me to it go come ai don't have gas to get to the food bank. when i get that t only
7:38 pm
option to feed my children is bread and maple syrup. how long do you expect me to it feed my child breaded maple syrup? >> guest: that's why the university of california is land-grant university has huge pieces of property in richmond, california. maybe we could figure out how to plant food there ultimately get the toxins out of the ground by planting a cover crop of beings like we did the edible schoolyard in berkeley. what if we planted food on all the school grounds? what if he planted food in every city park? what if we planted food families doing an they are between the street and the sidewalk. how much food could be groped? like the conservation corps.
7:39 pm
we need help to get that organized. but even the booklets are up by the government during world war ii would be perfect for right now. because those are made for every area of the country, depending on the climate. and it showed you what you could plant easily. it's like a hopeful scenario. think about the homeless garden in santa kruse. i'm sure you know about that garden. it has been so successful. >> for people who don't know what that garden is, described that. >> guest: it started 30 years ago. by a group outing chadwicks
7:40 pm
program in santa kruse. it developed into a program for helping the homeless. and it has just grown, and grown, and grown. everybody lost that garden and started getting work. and something related to gardening. it is my vision of a real success story. and i thought why don't we plant on the land in berkeley down by the water by the bay? why isn't that a place that we could hire people that are homeless? they could grow food. there is a garden project that inspired me to start the edible schoolyard project 25 years ago.
7:41 pm
in the group on 7 acres of the land. by the time they got out, they wanted another place to grow food. so she started a halfway house garden outside the jail in south san francisco. they actually took the food to stands in san francisco and told him at the farmers market. i know that growing food can be deeply regenerative, transformational i daresay, transformational. and that is wide you can do it in a jail you can do it in the school. all the students are santa kruse came and helped in the
7:42 pm
garden. volunteered to work in the homeless garden. this was an amazing helpful way of feeding ourselves. and it could start tomorrow. >> so i want to ask you this, you were thinking about going forward, if you are to say three things that people could do, to bring a more just profitable, healthy sustainable food system for the world, to help people right now who don't have enough food, you both have your deep concerns. let's start with three actions. your book has a call to action. their situations when they saw
7:43 pm
the issues and scandals and gave back. people were to say take a bite right now take action what wouldou suggest? >> think three things i would suggest. one is we worked with governor neom here in california to launch a program calle highroad kitchen that provides grants tomall independent restaurants throughout the state that commit to, we have a whole race and gender equity program to increase race and gender inestaurants they commit to thatrogram and commit to providing 50200 free meals. about 50 or 60 restaurants got grants. they signed up they started a website called hhroad in addition to supporting alice's restaurant acid that go to the restrants in support when he
7:44 pm
went t choose where to eat out for those restaurants have increase in wagesnd equity and fding people and have been recognized by the governor is doing, tha is one thing i would say. the second thing is that as aliceaid there is a lot moving in congress rig now besides the fact thate have a senate that is moving certainly fast through place, justice ginsburg. we ao have a centage that has a blocks those minimum wage increases. and restauran act to provide relief to restaurants and renewal of the $600 that is a lifeline to millions and millions ofeople. i would ask that you call the nate switchboard, you can look up right now just go good senate switchbrd pretty get the number, call the senate switchboar and frankly don't just call her california senators, call other senators. tell tm to stop playing
7:45 pm
partis politics in the middle of a pandemi. instead of trying to rush a nomination, wre they rushing relief to millions of people who need it? why aren't ty rushing 600-dollar unemployment inrance and relief for restaurants and a new food system like alice said. why are they rusng to save us from a pandemic that's alady killed 200,000 americans. we need to color legislatures that is number two. and number three, i mentioned we started this fund for workers, as i said 220,000 workers applied, 30 or 40000 have come to us most are facing starvation and homelessness. i didn't go to fw emergency and give and encourage other people to give, we pay each worker $500 cash payment. it allows them to buy groceries,ust basic necessities. but it is kindf a two or
7:46 pm
three for your value. because when you give to that fund you're not just giving direct relief. where using those dollars and that fund to then bring workers together register them to vote, get them to vote in this election. until there is a real voter engagement program that's connected to the emergency fund that is a part of what you get when you give. osf emergency fund is a third thing i would say. people definitely need relief. let's shape relief in a way that shapes different future for all of us. let's think about immediate relief in a way that frankly anges the food system and changes the way we treat people that bring us our food as well. >> you can tell the name of the fund were people want to go? w debbie debbie os w. one fare wage emergency fund.or
7:47 pm
what about you three things action? your writing and manifest about the power of food what are three things you ask of people right now in this moment? >> guest: certainly everybody who can afford it should buy food directly from those people in the farmers market, in the restaurants who are supporting the network of organic regenerative local farms and ranchers. it is critical right now because all of these farmers have lost their restaurant customers right now. until that is why we are focused on selling farm boxes.
7:48 pm
we are going to be open more days doing that because we want to include more farmers. that is something really, really crucial. and i can't be any other place in plant a seed. plant a seed in a flower box. plant a seed wherever you are. even if it doesn't grow well, you learn something. a new complaint the right thing the next time. plant food. plant food. plant trees, but plant fruit trees. and i know there is a planting that's going on internationally. billions of trees to be planted for climate, restoring
7:49 pm
the climates. but it is very hard. under really appreciate you letting us know exactly the places to give our money. because i am bombarded by requests. i keep going back and giving to the people i know. but i know there are a lot of new people that are doing remarkable work. we really appreciate knowing where to give our money. so thank you so much for that. and i think it is important that anybody who can speak up effectively needs to.
7:50 pm
we need all of the compassionate voices willing to take a stand. this is for me really. and be willing to take the consequences. it is critical. and i know at some point we might really it is important to me most is that we really prepare that next generation. that we love them, we take care of them and maybe we can help the poor parents who are trying to teach. maybe we can help with lessons
7:51 pm
from the schoolyard on how you can teach when you cook food for your children. how you can teach mathematics. how you can teach science. how you can teach history of making food from the middle east when you're studying that culture. and you are making hummus and pita bread. you are learning and digesting the lesson thoroughly. so i think these are all very important ways that we can really help right now. >> host: i want to bring this to a close asking each of you what you would like to ask each othe other. but would you like to ask alice or what do you want to say to alice?
7:52 pm
you are so powerful in visionary what are you thinking? what would you like in this moment? >> i think i would like to say alice i think we should talk. we need to follow up. i do think there is a moment right now restaurant owners who have not been open to wage issues are suddenly open and probably those same people are opened to you alice and away they may not have been in the past. i think there are some of the same people who have been stubborn on these issues, unwilling to move, there is a new opening to move. i think we should be working together to push them. i will give a quick example we had a huge victory on friday. alice keep talking about the fast food world. i translate that in my book into what we call the other
7:53 pm
nra the national representative has a chain restaurants in america. they have been around for 150 years since emancipation they keep wages at zero, one, $2 an hour. got a lot of attention passed away from covid, he was the head of the other nra back in 1995. he dropped the deal with congress that charlotte the overall minimum wage go up as long as it's frozen $2.13 an hour. herman cain is responsible for that 2-dollar wage right now. so that is the other nra. on friday the trade magazine which was called nation's restaurant publish an article the title is the pandemic is pursing the that was well extraordinary.
7:54 pm
as we've been talking a lot up to independent restaurant owners trying to change their mind. nra trade magazine and actually cited our research and maybe it's time for a rethinking and a change on these issues. it just means there is a new openness to push on and we should do it together. i question. [laughter] let's talk. >> guest: i'm thinking there's probably some companies that you would like to really press on who are supplying school lunche lunches. and i like to help you press on them. >> thank you so much that would be amazing alice thank you. >> yes. i keep thinking about this moment of the nba the national basketball association came together with their coaches
7:55 pm
and players in a moment of social justice it was on fab five edible time and moved so deeply. there's so much public educatio education. now there's building arenas and i'm thinking you two are going to be the nba. and just like that initiated by the wnba, this is going to be initiated by women. >> i want to thank you for joining us today. i want to save berkeley abound at 5:00 o'clock with the school of law speaking of uc berkeley. will be having the final conversation today. you know that's going to be a juicy one. in the kitchen sisters i want
7:56 pm
to thank you all for joining us in the zoom room enjoying the area book festival unbound. stay safe, stay steady, and make your vote count. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. ♪ ♪ ♪ but tv continues now in cspan cspan2, television for serious readers. >> this week center for public affairs event we present american journalist academics for his new book races of our republic exploiting the constitution with ruth gators ginsburg, et cetera, and many more. judge


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on