Undercover at Walmart: A Conversation with Tracie McMillan
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (PDT)
The event is full, but we anticipate a significant number of no-shows. We will assess the number of seats available and let more people in at the start of the event. If you would like to attend, come get in line between 5:30 and 6, and we'll let in as many people as the fire code allows.
Join the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) for a conversation between Tracie McMillan, journalist and author of the recently released book The American Way of Eating, and Sandy Brown, co-owner of Swanton Berry Farm. After going undercover to labor in the fields of industrial farms, stock groceries at Walmart, and work in the kitchen at Applebee’s, McMillan—called "a voice the food world needs" by the New York Times—has some eye-opening tales to tell about the people behind our food and the inner workings of the corporate food system. Swanton Berry Farm’s Sandy Brown, who is also a UC Berkeley graduate student researching farm labor and fair trade certifications, will talk with McMillan about labor, privilege, politics, and eating in America.
The talk will be followed by a book signing and a reception with farmers market refreshments.
Cosponsored by Book Passage and Food Chain Workers Alliance.
What if you can’t afford nine-dollar tomatoes? That was the question award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan couldn’t escape as she watched the debate about America’s meals unfold, one that urges us to pay food’s true cost—which is to say, pay more. So in 2009 McMillan embarked on a nearly year-long, groundbreaking undercover journey to see what it takes to eat well in America. From the fields of California, a Walmart produce aisle outside of Detroit, and the kitchen of a New York City Applebee’s, The American Way of Eating ($25.00) takes us into the heart of America’s meals. With startling intimacy, McMillan portrays the lives and food of Mexican garlic crews, Midwestern produce managers, and Caribbean line cooks, while also chronicling her own attempts to live and eat on meager wages. Along the way, she asks the questions still facing America a decade after the declaration of an obesity epidemic: Why do we eat the way we do? And how can we change it?
Sandy Brown has worked with Swanton Berry Farm (the first organic farm to have a contract with the United Farm Workers) since 2003. She divides her time between farm life and graduate studies in geography at UC Berkeley, where she researches agricultural labor relations in California and Latin America, the role of Fair Trade certification and labeling in labor practices, and strategies for promoting social justice in agriculture.