In the News

Food and Justice with a Side of Nostalgia

Visitors jotted down their food memories and clipped them to a line at Radcliffe's Marketplace of Ideas. Photo by Melissa Blackall/Radcliffe InstituteVisitors jotted down their food memories and clipped them to a line at Radcliffe's Marketplace of Ideas. Photo by Melissa Blackall/Radcliffe Institute
Harvard Gazette
June 6, 2019
By Lucia Huntington

Food and justice were on the menu at Radcliffe’s Marketplace of Ideas, as were intimate memories of family, friendship, love, and loss, some displayed for all to read.

My dear friend, Nan C. Freeman, was a martyr for the UFW [United Farm Workers]. She was killed by a truck while supporting farmworkers in Florida. When we were children, playmates with her brother and my sister, her mother would stop our play to call Nan and Nelson in for their milk, consumed between meals in their kosher home. The call to milk was the voice of love to me as a child.

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Making my first paella all by myself (or maybe with divine intervention from my Abuelita). (Spoiler alert: It was yummy!)

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Growing tomatoes on the patio — my daughter calls them garden snacks!

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My family had a farm a few miles SE of San Jose. I milked a cow for several years, fed the pigs & chickens, tended the vegetable garden. Made butter. My dad would once a year slaughter a pig—not my favorite memory.

Visitors’ handwritten memories, pinned to a clothesline, were a highlight of the Radcliffe Day event held Friday in the Sunken Garden. Nonprofits and food activist organizations offered information, buttons, and bananas. A steady crowd took leaflets and asked questions, including Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Harvard President Larry Bacow, and Radcliffe Medalist Dolores Huerta, a civil rights icon and the co-founder, with Cesar Chavez, of the United Farmworkers of America.

Posting a food memory. Photos by Melissa BlackallPosting a food memory. Photos by Melissa Blackall

 

Larry Bacow recalled his mother's "Roll Cake," which was served at his inauguration as president of Harvard.Larry Bacow recalled his mother's "Roll Cake," which was served at his inauguration as president of Harvard.

 

Dolores Huerta (center left) and Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin are flanked by Fresh Truck's Raya Jackson (left) and Markiesha Duverneau. Dolores Huerta (center left) and Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin are flanked by Fresh Truck's Raya Jackson (left) and Markiesha Duverneau.

The event resonated with Susan Hurwitz ’67 and her daughter-in-law Lindsay Rosenfeld, Harvard School of Public Health Sc.M. ’04, Sc.D. ’08.

“I was really drawn to this topic. It’s about living on our planet and the whole epidemic of obesity and why aren’t [people] getting the food that would improve their health.” said Hurwitz.

“I teach in this field, and I keep thinking of my students and wanting them to have a Marketplace of Ideas like this,” said Rosenfeld. “These are all pieces of the social determinants of good health.”

Lewis Counts, who attended with his wife, Constance Counts ’62 (“the last real Radcliffe diploma”), recalled his time as a food activist in the 1970s.

“Get a lot of concerned citizens doing small things and it adds up,” he said. “But somebody has to be up front, and that was Dolores [Huerta] and Cesar [Chavez].”

Organizations participating in the marketplace included the Boston Area Gleaners, the Food Project, Fresh Truck, the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, the Small Planet Institute, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Edible Schoolyard Project, Equitable Food Initiative, and Rural & Migrant Ministry.

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2019