Those who fight for racial justice and those who fight for environmental justice have failed to recognize that they are fighting the same fight. This argument – advanced by James Cone in his article “Whose Earth Is It, Anyway?” – informs the theme for this year’s Just Food Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary. Our food system, past and present, demonstrates the truth of Cone’s argument. The food stories and the race stories of our country interweave at nearly every point, and they tend overwhelmingly toward injustice and exploitation of both people of color and the land. At the same time, the systems and structures of the food system prevent consumers from perceiving the injustices on which they depend when they gather at the table. The system makes anonymous both the people and the land it marginalizes.
Convictions at the core of the Christian faith challenge systems of exploitation and injustice. Christ persistently met the marginalized at the table; Christ ministered through food, had a curious knack for interweaving food and teaching, and invited his followers to remember him after his death and resurrection at the table. Participants at this year’s Just Food Conference will be confronted by the complexities and challenges of “Race and Food”; they will share stories of struggle and injustice; and they will worship together, spend time at the Farminary, share meals, and together imagine the hopeful and abundant life to which Christ calls us.
Larissa Kwong Abazia
Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She earned her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University and M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary. Larissa’s ministry started with a pastoral residency program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. It was there that she learned and practiced the importance of active listening and reflection during moments of trauma and transition. She then moved to Chicago to serve a congregation three blocks from Wrigley Field. Her main responsibilities included overseeing a Friday evening program for at risk LGBTQ youth and the young adult ministries of the church. Larissa has since served congregations in New Jersey and Queens, NY. She now serves as the Director of Church Relations at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Throughout her life and career, Larissa has been dedicated to racial and gender justice. She is interested in the ways that the intersections of all parts of one’s identity can be embraced as strengths. This work brought her to denominational leadership, including serving as the Vice-Moderator to the 221st General Assembly, where she was able to challenge the current structures and assumptions of life together. Larissa is a regular speaker and preacher throughout the denomination.
Eric D. Barreto is the Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament. He holds a BA in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University, an MDiv from Princeton Seminary, and a PhD in New Testament from Emory University. Prior to coming to Princeton Seminary, he served as associate professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, and also taught as an adjunct professor at the Candler School of Theology and McAfee School of Theology.
As a Baptist minister, Barreto has pursued scholarship for the sake of the church, and he regularly writes for and teaches in faith communities around the country. He has also been a leader in the Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium, a national, ecumenical, and inter-constitutional consortium comprised of some of the top seminaries, theological schools, and religion departments in the country. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion.
Eric Holt-Giménez, PhD has been Executive Director of Food First since 2006. He is the editor of the Food First books Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems and Land Justice: Re-imagining land, food and the commons in the United States; co-author of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice with Raj Patel and Annie Shattuck; and author of the book Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement for Sustainable Agriculture and of many academic, magazine and news articles. . Of Basque and Puerto Rican heritage, Eric grew up milking cows and pitching hay in Point Reyes, CA, where he learned that putting food on the table is hard work. After studying rural education and biology at the University of Oregon and The Evergreen State College, he worked for 25 years with the Campesino a Campesino (farmer to farmer) movement throughout Mexico and Central America. Holding a MSc in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis, and a PhD in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Eric has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Food Systems and Food Movements at University of California, Santa Cruz, University of California, Berkeley, the International University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, and at the University of the Pacific in California. His latest book, A Foodies Guide to Capitalism: Understanding the political economy of what we eat, is scheduled for release in September 2017.
The Rev. Nathan T. Stucky, Ph.D., hails from Kansas but lives in Princeton, NJ, where he serves as Director of the Farminary Project at Princeton Theological Seminary. An ordained Mennonite (Mennonite Church USA), Nate’s work with the Farminary integrates theological education with small-scale, sustainable agriculture at Princeton Seminary’s 21-acre farm. He has a special interest in the role of community formation and Sabbath in the education of pastors, church leaders, youth ministers, parents, and young people. A musician, frequent retreat speaker, and farmer, Nate holds a B.A. in music from Bethel College (Kansas), and a M.Div. from Princeton Seminary. Before coming to Princeton Seminary, Nate worked in youth ministry and farming. He and his wife, Janel, are the happy parents of Joshua (11), Jenna (8) and Isaac (5).
Keri Day is an Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religion at Princeton Theological Seminary. She earned an M.A. in Religion and Ethics from Yale University Divinity School and received her Ph.D. in Religion from Vanderbilt University. Her academic research focuses on how African American theology and black religious thought address global economics, especially among women of the African Diaspora. Her articles and essays on religion, culture, and economics have been published in a number of nationally regarded journals. Her first academic book, Unfinished Business: Black Women, The Black Church, and the Struggle to Thrive in America, was published in November of 2012. Her second book, Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism: Womanist and Black Feminist Perspectives, was published in December of 2015. She is at work on her third book project, which explores how early Pentecostalism (a la Azusa Street Revival) provides alternate genealogical inheritances, lineages, and religious imaginaries for Christian theology and democracy in the West.
Alongside her scholarship, she also engages public policy leaders. In 2011, she was the keynote speaker at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Springfield, Illinois, highlighting the importance of interfaith dialogue within local communities. In addition, she was part of the 2012 delegation of scholars who participated in the White House Religious Scholars Briefing in Washington D.C. to discuss issues related to economic policy, religious freedom, faith-based initiatives, human rights efforts, and peace building efforts around the world. She has been a guest political commentator on KERA/NPR, DFW/FOX News, and Huffpost Live with Marc Lamont Hill on issues related to faith and politics. She has written for the Dallas Morning News’ Faith and Politics Blog, The Feminist Wire, and The Huffington Post. She is a fourth-generation Church of God in Christ (COGIC) preacher. She previously served as an Associate Pastor at Cathedral of Praise in Nashville, TN.
“The logic that led to slavery and segregation in the Americas…is the same one that leads to the exploitation of animals and the ravaging of nature.”
Experiences of race and food connect with the deepest parts of our identities, often in subconscious ways. Just Conversations at Just Food will provide an opportunity for participants to connect the input from conference plenary sessions with the depths of their individual and collective stories. The hope is that these conversations provide a space for new life and redemption to grow.
Experiences of race and food connect with the deepest parts of our identities, often in subconscious ways.
Larissa Kwong Abazia
Schedule may change as we approach the event date.
Please check back often for updates.
Larissa Kwong Abazia, Preacher
Registration for the Just Food Conference is $195.00 and includes all conference events, worship services, plenary sessions, Just Conversations, snacks, trip to the Farminary, dinner Thursday evening and lunch Friday. Limited lodging (not included in the registration fee) is available in the Erdman Center on the Princeton Theological Seminary campus.