WID Attends Sixth International Conference on Food Studies

A photo of the cover of the conference program
The conference program | Photo by Elizabeth Layman

On October 12-13, 2016, two staff members from FEAST’s parent organization the World Institute on Disability (WID), Marsha Saxton and Elizabeth Layman, attended the Sixth International Conference on Food Studies in Berkeley, CA.

On the first morning, the keynote speaker was Anna Lappé, Co-Founder of the Small Planet Institute and one of the minds behind the Real Food Media Project. Throughout her life, she has focused on food systems and sustainable food and farming, viewed through the lens of climate change. According to Lappé, food and farming are a casualty of climate change, a culprit of climate change, and a cure for climate change.

On the second morning, the keynote speaker was Lorenzo Scarpone, Founder of Slow Food San Francisco and an importer and distributer of Italian wines. Growing up in Abruzzo, Italy, Scarpone learned about small farmers firsthand. He moved to San Francisco, and he now focuses his energy on protecting food biodiversity, lifting up small and artisan farmers, and showing American children and politicians where their food comes from—farms. According to Scarpone, world peace begins at the table with a shared meal.

A woman stands in front of a PowerPoint and presents to a crowd
Marsha Saxton presents on disability basics | Photo by Elizabeth Layman

Both WID staff members presented about food and disability. In Marsha Saxton’s presentation, Saxton focused on introducing the basics of disability to the food studies community by discussing food access issues specific to disabled people. (Her PowerPoint can be downloaded below.)

In Elizabeth Layman’s presentation, Layman focused on the creative ways people with disabilities prepare food, shop, and cook with the help of accessible technology. This technology also makes food more accessible to low-income cooks, aging cooks, and young adult cooks. (Her PowerPoint can be downloaded below.)

Both Saxton and Layman also gave overviews about the FEAST website and asked questions during other presentations in order to highlight the important intersection between the disability community and the food studies community.

Saxton and Layman were in good company. Professionals from thirty-two different countries were represented at the conference. Their presentations were incredibly varied. See the PDF at the end of this post to read about some of the presentations and WID’s favorite part of each of them.

Two small chunks of cheese, each with a small edible flower on top
Edible flowers on cheese with honey and cheese with vinegar | Photo by Elizabeth Layman

Saxton and Layman were honored to attend and present at the Sixth International Conference on Food Studies this year, and they hope to continue learning about how the disability community and the food studies community can work together.

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