Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 10th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Look at Labor

laborfestSLUG REPORT > Food activism prompts upcoming UC Santa Cruz conference

Food: it's a topic so interwoven into our everyday lives that it never seems to stray too far from our thoughts, and our concerns. Whether it's finding out what's right to eat or growing it in our own front and backyards, food, and specifically where it comes from and how it gets to us, is a trending topic.

Food issues will be the theme of a Feb. 3-4 UC Santa Cruz conference called “Labor Across the Food System.” The conference is sponsored by the Center for Labor Studies, is in collaboration with the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), the Food First Institute for Food and Development Policy in Oakland, and was organized by the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research. Organizers expect the attendance of academics, activists, and journalists from throughout the nation to discuss labor and social justice and their role within the modern global food system.

“It's been a couple years in the making,” says conference chair Mary Beth Pudup, a UCSC community studies professor, who conceived of having the conference. “It sort of arose from discussion among faculty and students, too ... about all the food activism and interest in food-related research that has emerged over the last decade. With so much interest in food and where it comes from, no one really asks 'Well how does it get there?' How did your food get from the farm to your fork, or from farm to your table?”

The conference begins Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Humanities Lecture Hall with a keynote speech by Frank Bardacke, a resident of Watsonville who cut lettuce and celery in the fields for six years in the early 1970s, and taught English as a second language for 25 years. Bardacke has also written two books, “Good Liberals and Great Blue Herons: Land, Labor and Politics in the Pajaro Valley” and the more recently published “Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers” (Verso Books, 2011).

“So often local institutions overlook the talent in their own backyard, and so inviting Frank just seemed like a natural fit,” says Pudup. “His book has just come out and has been gathering praise, and also having someone locally from the community who is also a scholar was a great opportunity to involve the community and not just have a [strictly] UCSC event.”

The conference continues on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., also at the Humanities Lecture Hall, with opening remarks by conference chair Pudup, UCSC associate professor of sociology and director of the Center for Labor Studies Steve McKay, and UCSC professor of community studies Judy Guffman, who's recent book,  “Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism” (University of California, 2011), is tackling many of the assumptions made about the so-called “obesity epidemic” and calls for more attention to injustices within food production.

Four panel discussions will follow, each addressing a major sector of the food systems: farm labor, food processing, shipping and retail, and food service and restaurants.   

“I think it's a perfect fit for UCSC given our historic and good work that the campus does,” said Pudup. “And having Frank Bardacke as a keynote speak is a important recognition of the talent within the local community. I hope there are more events like this in the future … maybe this will be the start of it.”

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Hot in Here

This ain’t no Burning Man—the MAH’s GLOW festival flames on


Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 9

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Seoul Food

Santa Cruz’s new Sesame Korean is a great introduction to an ancient culinary tradition


Is there evil in the world?

Yes, some people don’t think right because they have been treated badly. Milo Robbins, Scotts Valley, Second Grade


Dos Aguilas Olive Oil

Aptos company is letting locals pick their own olives in October


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist