Writer: Andrianna Natsoulas
Title: Food Voices: Stories of the Food Sovereignty Movement
Farmers and fisherfolk across the Americas are embracing a new political and economic system to feed and strengthen their communities. They are collectively creating a regime change by sowing the seeds and pulling the nets to ensure their communities have healthy and culturally appropriate food. “Food Voices: Stories of the Food Sovereignty Movement” captures the stories and images of people working towards and living a just, sustainable and sovereign food system. They are indigenous peoples, urban farmers and migrant workers. They are men and women, young and old. They are Haitian, American, Latino and Brazilian. They are creating a self made food system.
Bio: Andrianna Natsoulas has been an environmental and community activist for two decades. She has worked at various organizations from Greenpeace to Public Citizen to the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. She has coordinated with the global food sovereignty movements to protect local food production and distribution, fight trade agreements and build alliances. She has participated in protests around the world from Washington, DC to Cancun to Geneva to Hong Kong and has stood shoulder to shoulder with farmers and fisherfolk to defend their rights to provide local and culturally appropriate food for their communities. That is where her passion lies – in the global fight for food justice.
Excerpt “Food Voices: Stories of the Food Sovereignty Movement”
Dena grows beans, corn, tomatoes and an array of produce, while also raising lambs, chickens and pigs. She and her husband have been farming in Glendive, Montana since 1981.
Food sovereignty is something I never named. It is something I grew up with and thought that is the way life should be. My grandparents came from eastern North Dakota. We always ate out of Grandma’s organic garden. It was always my intention to feed ourselves as much as possible, the way my Grandma fed us. She is the one who taught me about food preparation, canning, soap making and about being self-sufficient.
All I wanted to be was a farmer. While raising my children, we had at least one garden, and we hunted and fished. I taught my kids and they are self-sufficient. I thought most people lived the way I did from their gardens and the land. And then I found that even my farm neighbours weren’t living that way. The farm agencies told them it was not efficient to grow their own food, milk a cow and it was much better to buy it at the grocery store. That was in the late 70’s and I started to question the whole system.
Now you read reports that nutritionally, food is much poorer today than it used to be. We don’t pay attention to healthy soil, and then we don’t have rich soil full of nutrients. Soil is becoming a medium to hold plants upright, and not a living entity in its own right. If we are looking for the earth to feed us, then we need to take care of it.
Unfortunately, it takes dead bodies and people dying from e coli and listeria to see that the food supply is not as safe as they think it is. Because of convenience, people have given up their responsibility for a safe and nutritious food supply. Now that food nutrition deficiencies, like obesity and diabetes, are an epidemic in this country, people are beginning to pay attention. But the infrastructure is gone, and so are the people – the family farmers and fishermen. The corporate food system has destroyed the small infrastructure. They pay off Congress to pass rules in the guise of food safety, but it is really about getting rid of competition- small producers and small processors.
Carlos has been organizing migrant agricultural workers since 1977 in South Texas, the Río Grande Valley, and now in the border area between the United States and Mexico.
In 1992, I was mapping the field in Southern New Mexico for a labor stoppage. While I was there, people arrived to test the field, the chiles, and the crop. Suddenly the owner and farmer of the field arrived. When he saw me, he knew he was the farmer who was the target for our labor stoppage. I asked him, who are those people? He said they were the owners of the crop. They were there to check the quality of the chile, to check whether the chile was ready for harvest.
At that point I realized the farmer did not have control over production or the price. He was also a victim of the food system controlled by a few corporations and food processors who set the rules of the game. At that time we changed our attitude towards producers and realized they were not the enemy. At the beginning of the year the farmer signed a contract with the company to set the price, what to grow, when and how. The contract clearly specified the quality of the product and told the farmer what kind of seeds to use, the fertilizers and the chemicals. Everything was imposed upon the farmer. I started to dialogue with this specific farmer and realized there was no margin to increase salaries and improve the working conditions in the field. We started to understand the plight of the agricultural worker in a bigger context. We were so focused on the conditions of the farm workers that we did not realize that it was a system.
Writer: Nicole Treska
Title: A Special Sunday
The idea of the ‘self made’ is central to my writing… it seems central to the creation of something believable and felt. While I think a writer, an artist, is constantly creating the self made, I also think this occurs in that much of my work is fiction born of family history. I constantly find myself struggling to take these stories from the place of memories and forge them into something new, and mine. A fiction. Someone once told me that you take the given and create the made…I like that.
Bio: Nicole Treska lives in Harlem and attends The City College of New York, where she also teaches literature and composition. She was born in Boston, grew up in New England and Colorado, and many places in between. She graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in English in 2004, then island hopped to Manhattan in 2008 to pursue writing fiction and earn her Masters in Creative Writing. Nicole is generally friendly, and can be won over easily with wit or whiskey.
Excerpt: “A Special Sunday”
Ed Sullivan starts in 45 minutes. You are crying in the kitchen when Tommy arrives, gun drawn, moments later. The two of you flap your arms like giant birds. The smoke billows out the window and is sucked into the air above the projects where it hangs for a little while. February cold replaces the haze in the kitchen. You survey the damage. The pot is charred and hissing in the sink, and the wall behind the stove is black from the smoke. You reach over and touch it, and the stain smears off on your fingers. Tommy puts his gun down, and puts his arms around you while the tears roll down your face. Wordlessly, he takes off his hat, and rolls up his checkered sleeves. He pulls the kitchen chair over to the sink, climbs up on it, and begins to scrub the bottom of the pot. You smile and wipe your tears away, and get to work. Moments later, you are perched on the stove, scrubbing the blacknesss away with a Brill-O pad. It is easier than you thought.
You wipe the wall clean, dart to the clock and see that there are fifteen whole minutes left before your world becomes inexplicably better. You don’t know where your brothers are. Sometimes when your mother works late, they take advantage of her absence and cross the new highway to play hockey with their friends, or kiss girls in the cold night. You don’t care where they are. You don’t care that they destroyed the kitchen. All you care about is the twelve minutes you have left before history reaches down and shakes up your very young life.
You throw some cold cuts on a platter, with sliced Italian bread, mustard and pickles. You run onto the back porch and pile the just dried laundry onto your arm and over your shoulders. The chill comes through your tights and the dry clothes are stiff with winter air. You have to make two trips to bring in all the sheets and towels, underthings and uniforms. When your mother gets home she will notice how clean everything is. How great everything looks. She will know you worked hard, and she will want to hear about your day, and the show. You are folding sheets, with the television on. Three minutes to go.
The Last Supper Salon 2010 will explore the creative individual as a self-made person and provocateur of social change. In contrast to the male robber baron of our industrial age, the contemporary version of the ‘self-made man’ is an artist of any gender, discipline; someone who is cross-cultural and cross-national, and someone tapped in to the individual as part of the border-less, collective wisdom created by open source ideas sharing. Humanity is transforming it’s identity to fit the current needs of a new economy, and socio-political environment. Using an experimental, multi-sensory, collaborative approach, we hope to critique the way we produce the goods and services that define our generation, the way we consume media, products and our environment, and the way open dialog, DIY and technology promotes self-made identity prototypes.
Writing Curator’s Statement by Douglas Turner & Tryn Collins
We are living at the edge of postmodernity, the end of an era–the seed of preconceived notions and ideas. And we are writing a new chapter, a new era; the beginning of an as of yet defined anthology. Nevertheless, with our attachment to ideas, every attempt to define our notion of Now feels like unstable shifting ground. The shape of our cultural surroundings is so hard to grasp. Is it a matter of perspective? Are we indeed leaving or arriving? Are we closing out an era or forging a new one? Has it always felt this way? By seeing the shape of the self as fluid and moving: an impossible shape, the definition of the writer-self is experiencing a transformational process. Nothing exists that the self cannot access. In a time of expansive growth, the all encompassing technology and connectedness makes the collective self consequently indefinable. Does this make for an even more feverish strive for private/individual self? In the Creative Process, self-made connotes a volitional choice to become something, and that sense of determination involves sacrifice–to shed something in order to make room for the harvest; to leave an old perception or idea behind. We give ourselves to a cleared space for creativity, a moment in the writing process when the words and structure of story seemingly come from nowhere. Our perspective would then shift from the position of the Individual to a larger one of the Whole. Should then our idea of self (private/individual) bend sacrificially to the collective? The creative process then would have a beginning, no end, only an ever-expanding desire to create. There is infinite potential that the individual has access to, and every great writer has tapped into that source. Understanding culture as object and subject of influence, the intersecting of community and art are momentous to burgeoning culture. When we cling to preconceived ideas and styles we mimic; satirically creating art–instead of letting go, honoring what came before, and carrying on the tradition of creating something new. The writers of modernity and postmodernity have thoroughly explored the role of the individual in all sorts of ways and with good reason. Can we, and if so, how will we determine the end of an era and the beginning of something new? What are we contributing to the Creative Process, a process that is consequently indefinable? We seek to curate a group of writers who are exemplars of selflessly expressing the autonomy of the creative process, as a means of becoming self-made.
Information for Online Submissions:
Digital version of written work, Writer’s Name, Title of piece, Genre (poetry, short story? etc), Length, Availability to attend opening, Short Bio, Interpretation (how work relates to theme of show), jpg Headshot (2″x3” jpg 300 dpi), Link to writer’s website, Permissions to publish piece.
email Douglas Turner & Tryn Collins: Writing@Lambastic.com