Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Food in San Diego: The Roots of Our Future

When we talk about food in San Diego, the conversation can go in so many directions--the burgeoning restaurant culture and farm-to-table cred so many restaurants and chefs strive for, the impressively expanding farmers market scene, ever-present nutrition and obesity concerns, the issue of food justice. Some of these topics overlap, some tend to sit far apart on the discussion spectrum but all will be the focus of the upcoming Breakfast Dialogue hosted by Citizens Coordinate for Century 3, or C3, a group founded in 1961 that advocates growth management "by encouraging open space, high standards of urban design, and coordination between public and private sectors so that San Diego's continuing development will complement its natural setting." The Breakfast Dialogue will take place on Thursday, June 27 from 7 to 9 a.m. at the Wyndham San Diego Bayside on N. Harbor Dr. downtown.

The list of panel participants includes farmers Noel Stehly of Stehly Farms and the new Stehly Farms Market and Lucila de Alejandro of Suzie's Farm, Priya Reddy of the New Roots Community Farm in City Heights, Trish Watlington of The Red Door and The Wellington restaurants in Mission Hills, and Julianna Arnett of the San Diego County Obesity Initiative/Community Health Improvement Partners. I'll serve as the moderator.

Noel Stehly

Lucila de Alejandro

Trish Watlington with Chef Miguel Valdez
According to organizer Diego Velasco, principal with architecture and planning firm MW Steele Group, this dialogue will be C3's broader first discussion of several that will later drill down to more specific concerns within our food economy. If you're in San Diego, interested in where your food comes from, and in discussing the issues that surround local food production, food security, public health, and even land planning--this is the place to be.

Some of the topics we'll discuss include:
  • The challenges of food access in low-income and immigrant communities
  • The barriers to food production, including the soaring costs of energy and water, and some of the creative solutions farmers are employing
  • How our food planning addresses the health and nutrition needs of lower income communities--can we even tackle issues of social and economic justice, food security, ethnicity, and culture with food?
  • The state of the farm-to-table movement in San Diego--is it a fad, an upper class foodie trend, or, more importantly, about public health and quality of life?
  • How does planning ensure that we reserve land for agricultural uses? We have more than 6,000 family farms in San Diego County, but is there still room for agriculture in San Diego's future?
Tickets are $25 for C3 members and $35 for non-members. For reservations, go to the C3 website or call 858-277-0900.




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