Justice Begins with Seeds Conference in California

Justice Begins with Seeds Conference in California (This announcement is purely informational. Beginning Farmers has no official position on genetically modified organisms.) When: September 14 to 17th 2011Justice Begins With Seeds Where: The Women’s Building and other locations in the Mission District, San Francisco Brought to you by the California Biosafety Alliance www.biosafetyalliance.org About: We are at a time of many crises. And in the face of all the global challenges before us, the domination of the food supply, and the contribution of the current food regime to climate change, numerous environmental crises, humans rights abuses and displacement of people to name a few, makes it perhaps the most pressing issue before us. To control food is to control people. To destroy topsoil is to destroy the most elemental thing upon which we all depend. And to convince people that this system is the only way and that there is no other option is one of the most pressing myths before us that needs to be shattered. The conference: Justice Begins with Seeds will be a space for movement building to actively address the the symbol of the corporate food regime: genetically modified food, address the many layered implications of GE/GMO food, and build strategic coalitions and deeper collaborations amongst diverse stakeholders more widespread political action addressing GMOs in varying levels throughout the state of California.

The conference will focus on hands on workshops and panels on how to build alliances, how to start a rights based campaign, and how to get involved with GMO labeling initiatives throughout California. People from different organizing contexts will have the space to discuss, share strategy and build the movement to address the corporate food regime.

The conference is timed strategically to follow the Heirloom Seed Exposition in Sonoma and to precede the annual Food Justice Coalition Conference which will take place this year in Oakland. With this, we see this event feeding into upcoming events and pushing the issue of GMOs back onto the radar screen, while encouraging people to actively take on the issue politically.


  • Vandana Shiva: Navdanya

Plenary panelists:

  • Ignacio Chapela: UC Berkeley
  • Miguel Altieri: UC Berkeley
  • Anuradha Mittal: Oakland Institute
  • Gayle Mclaughlin: Mayor of Richmond
  • David Campos: San Francisco Supervisor
  • Marcia Ishii-Eiteman: Pesticide Action Network
  • Carl Anthony: Breakthrough Communities
  • more to come

The California Biosafety Alliance is a cross sector, multilevel and inter-ethnic alliance of individuals and organizations working together to engage in broader outreach around genetically modified (GMO) food issues and to bring together strategic coalitions of diverse stakeholders to advocate for a GMO free food supply, as a means of pushing for a shift from an industrial food model, to a model of local resilience. GMOs are a symbol that represent the industrial food system and a key point that needs to be addressed in order to address and shift  away from the industrial food model.

Our vision is to get the multi-faceted number of issues with GMOs, ranging from health, to social justice, to environmental destruction, to a major contributor to climate change though topsoil degradation and numerous un-factored externalities, to corporate consolidation, to enter the framework of various groups that have not traditionally focused on the issue of GMOs as a central theme and point that needs to be addressed to push for a systemic shift in the current corporate food regime.

Workshop and Panel Tracks:

1  Local global connections: Examples: gmo movements, trade policy, immigration, low-income and food access–systemic problems, global connections, land grabs, human displacement and immigration, past GMO campaigns and perspectives, global perspectives on food and farming (ex, Hopi or Oaxacan perspectives on corn), IAASTD report and global policy.

2  Biocultural diversity: from soil to plate: what is and what can be

Examples: food sovereignty and small farmers successes, monoculture and soil degradation, land management, problems with GMO ‘co-existence’, farm practices: dry farming, carbon farming: restoring topsoils, agriculture and climate change: how agriculture contributes to climate change, and how it can solve climate change, resistance and resilience through diversity, peasant perspectives.

3 Food, health and policy:

Examples: Legal issues, policy, health issues and our right to know, emerging GMO issues, current legal challenges, deregulation of GMOs, issues of patents, health implications of GMOs, Roundup and health and environmental impact, food access, etc.

4 Building the Movement: resistance and alternative structures

Our democratic right to know, organizing and effective campaigns, passing local ordinances, rights based organizing, learning from what was and moving forward, storytelling and movement building, grassroots experience from other contexts, lobbying, pressuring business, educational strategies, working with local politicians, etc.

Check in soon for detailed info on attending and to reserve your space.

Registration will be on a sliding scale from $25-100 for the full length of the conference.

Sliding scale based upon following income levels:

If your income is…under $15,000 — you may apply for a scholarship.

If your income is…$15,001-$35,000 — you pay… $25

If your income is…$25,001-$50,000 — you pay… $50

If your income is…$35,001-$75,000 — you pay…$100

If your income is…over $75,000 we welcome additional donations to cover scholarships for others.

Also, to all, please consider becoming a sponsor or getting your business to become a sponsor if you work within related fields of sustainable food, etc, or in an area that relates to the conference.

Your participation will build the conference and the results obtained will be your achievements.


Bay Localize

Breakthrough Communities

Center for Food Safety

Comite de Defensa del Maiz Criollo

Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy

Food and Water Watch

David Campos: San Francsico Supervisor District 9

Gayle Mclaughlin: Mayor of Richmond

Global Exchange

GMO Free Los Angeles

Institute for Responsible Technology

Latin American Alliance for Immigrant Rights (ALIADI)

Latino Environmental Advancement and Policy Institute (LEAP)

Mandela Marketplace

Movement Generation


Oakland Food Connection

Oakland Institute

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Watch

Rainforest Action Network

South Central Farmers Cooperative

If you would like to submit a proposal for a panel or workshop, click here for details.

1 Comment on Justice Begins with Seeds Conference in California

  1. I just wanted to let you know that we have now published our event registration details.
    See: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1728731683

    Or on our website: http://biosafetyalliance.org/conference/

    Thanks for posting!
    Best wishes

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