Where does food end and activism begin? How do food and organizing intersect, if at all? Is there a place for activist food writing, and what does it look like? In this panel, we’ll be looking at the ways food brings people together for political purposes, as well as the limits of food as a political tool.
MODERATORElazar Sontag is a 21-year-old cookbook author and food writer from Oakland, California. His work, which explores the intersections of food, culture, and queerness, has been published in The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and Bon Appétit, among other publications. In addition to his freelance writing, Elazar works at Serious Eats.PANELISTSTia Keenan is a New York City-based writer, cook, cheese specialist, and community organizer. She writes the “Cheese Wisely” column for the Wall Street Journal, and is the author of The Art of the Cheese Plate: Pairings, Recipes, Style, Attitude (Rizzoli, 2016), Chèvre (Short Stack Editions, 2018) and Melt, Stretch, & Sizzle: The Art of Cooking Cheese (Rizzoli, 2018). Keenan currently co-leads NAWS (Neighbors Against White Supremacy), which engages white and non-black People of Color in Queens to challenge anti-black racism and white supremacy in themselves and their communities, and to create intentional, justice-driven collectives engaged in multi-racial struggle for liberation. She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including Ruminate, which supports food systems with a conscience and fosters smarter connections between good people and good food, through the lens of the cheese plate. She lives in Queens with her husband – award-winning sommelier Hristo Zisovski – their son, a dog, and small flock of backyard chickens. Dayna Evans is a freelance writer who is been published in the New York Times, Eater, Jezebel, New York Magazine, and others, and a founder of Permanent Bake Sale, a grassroots organization that sells homemade bread to raise money for charity.Casandra Rosario is a pioneer for marginalized voices in the dining scene. She created Food Before Love in 2012 to combat stereotypes that people of color do not care about fine dining, restaurants, or issues surrounding food. She was one of the first bloggers to address the disparity in dining, long before mainstream publications started to address issues of diversity in the food space. She created (and continues to create) a seat at the table and a safe space for us to share our stories and experiences in food & travel, without waiting or asking for permission from mainstream food media.
In addition to her work online, she has created and curated the "Roots and Vines" panel on food issues, all while, demystifying wine education as it relates to the topic. She has also done curated culinary tours and events both nationally and internationally. Now, she’s looking to expand her reach beyond the online space by working on representing black and brown voices on TV.