Is Food a Human Right?

Panel to discuss issue at Conrad Grebel University College Sept. 21.

September 16, 2011 | Web First
Jennifer Konkle | Conrad Grebel University College
Waterloo, Ont.

Is food a human right? Is the famine in east Africa just a symptom of something bigger? Does buying locally actually promote peace? How does a discussion on food relate to the International Day of Peace?

Inspiration from a visiting art exhibit called “Just Food” and concern regarding the ongoing crisis in east Africa has spurred an event that will tackle these tough questions on issues of food and peace. 

Conrad Grebel University College’s celebration of the UN declared International Day of Peace takes place on Wednesday, September 21. The public is invited to view the “Just Food” exhibit in the atrium and main floor beginning at 6:30 p.m. followed by a panel discussion in the Great Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Moderated by Rick Cober Bauman,executive director at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario, the diverse panelists include:

  • Doug Amstutz, recently returned MCC Ethiopia Country Representative
  • Clare Schlegel, Farmer, Former President Canadian Pork Council
  • Steffanie Scott, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Geography and Environmental Management, uWaterloo
  • Efrem Seifu, Project Officer of EKHC Integrated Rural Development Department, Ethiopia. Guest in Ontario of Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB)

The art exhibit was commissioned by the Mennonite Committee on Human Rights and is based on pieces from 19 visual artists from Canada and around the world who were asked to add their voices to a growing number of people connecting the right to food with a faith-based response to hunger.

“The ‘Just Food’ art exhibit reminds us that a culture of global peace means that everyone has the right to food and that no one should go hungry,” says Marlene Epp, History and Peace and Conflict Studies professor at Conrad Grebel. “When people are hungry or when food is not distributed equitably, there is insecurity and unrest. Human security means enough food for all."

The International Day of Peace is a global holiday to highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace. As a Day of Ceasefire it provides an opportunity to make peace in our own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our day.

This event is hosted by the Peace and Conflict Studies Department at Conrad Grebel University College on the campus of the University of Waterloo. It is sponsored by the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union’s  Stewardship in Action program.

--Sept. 16, 2011

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