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Author to Speak, Sign at Four Seasons
October 20, 2017

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My friend sustainability and local economy expert Andrew Fisher will be speaking and signing his book at Four Seasons at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3. His new book is called "Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups," a work that rose out of his focus on Food Justice and community economic problems across America. It's important that Shepherdstownians know that Andy's larger focus is more on building sustainable communities and bolstering local economies than it is on hunger issues. This will make for a very worthwhile Q&A after his presentation.

Andrew first came to my attention several years back through his work with The Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP) , where he was the "Interim director" for a few years, a post he resigned from so he could carry out his rather evangelical "Big Hunger" tour of US and Europe.

The PFTP is one of those inspired community sustainability projects that maximizes the value of existing local resources. They are "a grass-roots NGO that provides a community-based solution to a critical and growing need: access to healthy food. By empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of urban fruit trees, they are preventing waste, building community knowledge and resources, and creating sustainable, cost-free ways to obtain healthy, locally-grown food. They organize people to gather fruit before it falls, and make it available to those who need it most. They register fruit and nut trees throughout the city, bring people together to harvest and distribute thousands of pounds of fresh fruit each year, and teach tree care and food preservation in hands-on workshops."

Before the Portland project, Andrew was the director of The Community Food Security Coalition, which was a non-profit made up of 325 member organizations who focus on social and economic justice, the environment, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community development, labor, anti-poverty, and anti-hunger initiatives. The coalition was dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems to ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food to all people at all times. The organization encouraged a system for food sovereignty grounded in the principles of justice, democracy, and sustainability. The coalition sought to further these goals through a comprehensive approach of policy advocacy, education and networking, and technical training.

A quick reading of reviews of "Big Hunger" will leave one with the impression that Andrew is anti-foodbanks. He is not. Here is a thesis statment of his work drawn from a recent presentation in the Berkshires:

"We need a vision for reforming federal food programs, we need a vision of how we do local anti-hunger work, moving it away from just distributing food and into building communities and human capital and social capital and community economic development. We have to be more thoughtful about our limited resources and consciously transition out of a system that produces a lot of waste because we are well into an age where we do not have unlimited public resources so we have to concentrate on ways of spending what resources we have in ways that allow them to work double-time as we transition from a food system that is really doing a lot of damage into one that's focused on our own Values. I feel that this is a more effective way of addressing the challenges we face."

Please come to Four Seasons on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. to dialogue with Andrew on this topic

Allan Balliett

Shepherdstown Chapter Leader, The Weston A Price Foundation

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