Winne '72 to discuss 'Food Justice and Good Food'

Mark Winne '72

As part of a two-day visit to Bates, food activist and author Mark Winne ’72 gives a talk titled “Food Justice and Good Food — When Shall the Twain Meet?” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 30, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

The event is open to the public at no cost. A reception and book signing follow in the Benjamin Mays Center, 95 Russell St. This event is sponsored by the Bates Contemplates Food Planning Committee. For more information, please call 207-786-6336.

Winne’s time at Bates will also include visits to classes and meetings with students.

Food, like air and water, is a basic necessity, but stands as a glaring example of how the gap between America’s “haves” and “have-nots” remains deep and wide. No matter what aspect of the subject we consider — hunger, obesity or recent food trends like local and organic — food is emblematic of a promise fulfilled for some but falling ever so short for many.

Winne has worked for 35 years to close the food gap. From organizing breakfast programs for low-income children in Maine to developing innovative national food policies in Washington, D.C., he has dedicated his professional life and writing to finding local, state and federal solutions to America’s food disparities. To this end, and to those whose passion for this purpose is no less than his own, he dedicated his first book Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty (Beacon Press, 2008).

Closing the Food Gap tells the story of how we get our food: from poor people at food pantries or bodegas and convenience stores to the more comfortable classes, who increasingly seek out organic and local products. Winne’s exploration starts in the 1960s, when domestic poverty was “rediscovered,” and shows how communities since that time have responded to malnutrition with a slew of strategies and methods. But the story is also about doing that work against a backdrop of ever-growing American food affluence and gastronomical expectations.

From 1979 to 2003, Winne was the executive director of the Hartford Food System, a private non-profit agency that works on food and hunger issues in the Hartford, Conn., area. During his tenure with HFS, Mark organized community self-help food projects that assisted the city’s lower-income and elderly residents. Winne’s work with the Food System included the development of commercial food businesses, Connecticut’s Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, farmers’ markets, a 25-acre community supported agriculture farm, a food bank, food and nutrition education programs, and a neighborhood supermarket.

Winne currently writes, speaks and consults extensively on community food system topics including hunger and food insecurity, local and regional agriculture, community food assessment and food policy. He also does policy communication and food policy council work for the Community Food Security Coalition.

He lives in Santa Fe, N.M., where he serves on the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council and the Southwest Grass-fed Livestock Alliance.