I have spent most of my professional life in academia. When I was a doctoral student, I had the great fortune of working alongside Paulo Freire in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Freire’s central idea is that people living on the social margins have a privileged understanding of the world. This radical idea has shaped my life and activism for four decades.
In the early years of my teaching career, I worked in teacher education at Berea College. Later, I moved to women’s studies where I continued “growing” a program that includes a major and a popular luncheon lecture event we called “Peanut Butter and Gender.” In an effort to raise community awareness about gender, we invited colleagues and students and community members to break bread with us. It wasn’t long before we became the most popular luncheon program on campus, both for the healthy food and the talks on gender.
My major project over the last fifteen years is “Take Back the Kitchen.” For a decade I traveled the world to work with other women in their kitchens, learning how to prepare traditional foods that promise health and sustainability for the human community. My own kitchen became a classroom for Berea College students to learn how to prepare community feasts while studying the global food economy. I see the work of changing our food system as an act of feminist visionary resistance against corporate agriculture and I argue for a fourth wave of feminism to wrest control of our bodies from the fast-food economy.
Recently I retired from the chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies department at Berea College in Kentucky. I moved with my life long partner to Westport, Connecticut, where we now live down the street from my daughter and her family. During my first winter of retirement, I traveled to Tijuana to volunteer with a legal team helping asylum seekers. In addition to my project to help transform our global food system, I now work as a legal advocate for citizens seeking refuge in the United States. Instead of preparing classes, I study immigration law, consult with clients and meet with the legal team at Building One Community in Stamford, Connecticut.
This new website is dedicated to the world-wide movements to co-create a new way of living on earth. In the words of Arundathi Roy, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
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