Thursday, November 19, 2009

World food expert, Frances Moore Lappe, speaks at local college

"It is far too late and things are far too bad... for pessimism," said world food expert, Frances Moore Lappe, paraphrasing Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of Visa.  Last night, nearly 500 people crowded an auditorium at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY to hear the author and activist speak.

Frances Moore Lappe's 40-minute talk, titled "Food, Finance, and Climate Crises: Finding Common Roots, Searching For Solutions," began with two premises: 
1) nobody wants this world full of problems and 
2) solutions are known and available to us.  

So why haven't we implemented those solutions? "Most people feel too powerless to act," she said. "We don't quite know how we got into our current food, finance, and climate crises, so the way out does not appear clear to us."

"Let go of 'lack' and lack of goodness," she urged the audience. "We have to drop this debate about whether we are good or bad. We are complex creatures.  It's all in each of us." She explained that the world already produces enough food for everyone, but we have created scarcity in a world of plenty.

The concentration of power in our current system brings out the worst in us, she said, so the solution is finding a way to disperse power and increase true democracy.

Her talk was followed by a lively panel discussion and audience Q&A. 

Lappe's first book, Diet for a Small Planet, has sold 3 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1971.  She is the co-founder of Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and the Small Planet Institute, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lapp√©.  She has been called a forerunner in thought, action, and spirit and one of the 20th centuries most vibrant activist thinkers.

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