Gottleib explains food injustices

Kerong Kelly, News Editor

Robert Gottlieb, a scholar and activist on food justice, engaged the University community on issues of food waste, race, and the environment on Feb. 10 in the Elaine Langone Center Forum.

Gottlieb outlined three major components that are a part of understanding the complex systems of food justice. The three major parts include, but are not limited to: food system perspective (explaining how food is grown and consumed), constituency framework (thinking about who is impacted by food access), and the relationship between food justice and social justice.

Parts of such systems include workers’ rights, production, growing, distribution, consumption, and how the food eventually becomes waste. Gottlieb then addressed the challenges of food justice and how students can be active in their local communities. He illustrated these changes by showing how the food industry has evolved over the course of 25 years. In 1987, Walmart had no connection to the food industry. Today, Walmart is the largest global retailer—it controls about one-third of the food industry.

“While insisting on the systemic nature of food justice and its clear ties to civil rights movements, Dr. Gottlieb also exposed the complexities of food issues and the need for a pluridisciplinary approach to reimagine viable solutions. Bucknell’s students in their food-related courses across campus are well-positioned to implement the action research model Dr. Gottlieb suggested,” associate professor of French Philippe Dubois said.

Gottlieb is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Urban Environmental Studies as well as the director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. Gottlieb has authored and co-authored 12 books.

“The discussion was interesting and insightful. Mr. Gottlieb is a pioneer and an advocate in a very important movement. However, his talk was heavily focused on the United States, and California more specifically. Still a fantastic speaker and discussion,” Bwalya Mwaba ’16 said.

The event was co-sponsored by the Multicultural Student Services (MSS) and the Provost’s Office.

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