Thanksgiving – for a beautiful planet
Last week, we were privileged to celebrate our new partnership with the James Beard Foundation in New York at the London residence of the Deputy US Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
On a day as close to Thanksgiving as we could manage, knowing that our US guests would be otherwise engaged on the day itself, a small gathering of us were able to hear the wisdom and thoughts of exceptional panel on the subject of food, photography and climate change.
Claire Reichenbach, CEO, James Beard Foundation
Welcomed by Matthew Palmer, Deputy Chief of Mission, I then explained the background to the Awards and our partnership with the James Beard Foundation, and Clare Reichenbach, their CEO, described powerfully the important work of the Foundation to support the people behind American food culture - ‘good food for good’ anchored in talent, equity and sustainability.
Jean-Michel Grand speaking
Our speakers - Fiona Harvey, multiple award-winning Environmental Editor of the Guardian, Jean-Michel Grand, Director of Action Against Hunger, our partner charity, and Dorte Verner, past Finalist and Head of Agriculture & Economics, Africa at the World Bank - were skilfully chaired by Cindy Harvey, Press Spokesperson for the US Embassy.
Dorte Verner speaking
For those of us not so steeped in the understanding of the work to combat climate change, it was both fascinating and encouraging to hear of some the work in Africa, related by Dorte, developing the use of a particular kind of fly to generate an exceptional protein. While Jean-Michel talked about the role of photography in showing the work of a humanitarian organisation and Fiona explained how photography works alongside her words in the world’s third most-read newspaper website.
Professor Marty St James
But it was a killer question, or perhaps observation rather than question, from one of the audience, the distinguished artist Marty St James, which, for me, went to the heart of the matter.
Marty’s observation was that art and artists have been at the forefront of the fight to get climate change acknowledged and addressed. He described the image made in the 1980s by conceptual artist Agnes Denes with whom he had exhibited in Moscow, called Wheatfield - A Confrontation The work, a 2-acre wheatfield, was grown on empty landfill next to the World Trade Center. Denes and two assistants sowed the field, tended it and then harvested the wheat.
"Wheatfield - A Confrontation" by Agnes Denis
All three panellists described tension, not to say hostility, between those advocating action and those in positions of power who are needed to instigate the action.
Surely it is art which can bridge that vital gap?
Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are.
And do take a look at our James Beard Foundation Award, in its very first year, to see if you have images in your archive which could suit this exciting and special category
- How to stand out in the shortlist by Caroline Kenyon January 4, 2024
- Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year changed my life January 2, 2024
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