Nashville Dames attended the LDEI Annual Conference 2016 in Washington D.C.

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Global Appetite Local Impact

LDEI Conference Washington DC
October 26-29 2016

Nashville Chapter Attendees:

Anne Byrn, Sylvia Ganier, Nancy Knoepfel, Lee Towery, Nancy Vienneau

Keynote: Culinary Diplomacy and Conflict Cuisine

Dr. Johanna Mendelson Forman of American University’s School of International Service spoke about Food as Soft Power: In non-coercive fashion, it can shape preferences, project an image, act as a form of foreign policy. The same notion that brings a family together at the table informs the dinners of heads of state.

She then touched on points, such as: Liking a country’s food is the bridge to liking the country, its people, the culture; how food shortages and withheld food are weapons of war; how food from kitchens in refugee camps becomes part of a micro-economy; how the food of diaspora populations influences culture of its hosts; and how post-conflict food represents a return to normal.

On Food and Security, she said that out of the world’s population of 7 billion, 800 million are food-insecure, having little to no access to food.

Food and Immigration is central to Americanization; it has shaped the American experience, the American Plate. 2016 is the Year of the New Culinary Diaspora: Refugee chefs bring a counterpoint to ant-immigrant sentiment and have the power to connect beyond language barriers.

How might our chapter implement culinary diplomacy locally, perhaps with newer immigrants?

Other Takeaways:

— Continuing that thread, Lauren Berstein, director of Diplomatic Culinary Partnerships presented Food As A Diplomatic Tool. Her department has partnered with the James Beard Foundation, creating a Volunteer Chef Corps. A prime example is Chef Mary Sue Milliken, who has traveled to Pakistan to work with “Lettuce Bee Kids.”

— The image up top is of Team Nashville on the front row, during a contest to see who could come up with a great fundraiser. Nashville presented the idea for Tour de Farm 2017 (our fundraiser coming up in April) and took home first prize for the idea! Sylvia Ganier captained the team with other members from Des Moines, Louisville and Washington DC.

Most importantly, NASHVILLE volunteered to host the LDEI conference in 2019! Much to the rousing applause of the other chapters who look forward to hot chicken in a few years!

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