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World on Your Plate looks to shed light on healthy food movement

Food often serves as a presence in our most important milestones. It’s there for our most joyous celebrations and most somber occasions. It helps sustain us when used to its greatest good, and feed our chronic illnesses when routinely abused – regardless of who we are or where we came from.

“How we eat food also affects the rest of the planet, and that's a part we don't always think about,” said Eveline Hartz. “Where does the food come from? How are companies, these big companies especially, treating the soil? How are they treating the animals? How does that affect our health and affect workers?”

These are the questions the World on Your Plate 16th annual Food and Sustainable Living Conference looks to address next weekend, said Hartz, of Clarence Center, a retired nurse and former health coach who chairs the event.

This year's installment will run from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, in the Wick Campus Center at Daemen College, 4380 Main St., Amherst.

That Friday includes a 5:30 p.m. taco buffet followed by a 6 p.m. showing of the film, “Redefining Prosperity: The Gold Rushes of Nevada City.”

World on Your Plate works to restore the Earth by promoting sustainability for farmers, farmworkers and consumers alike; advancing education and action on issues on food safety, security and sovereignty; and creating a table where all are welcome, says Eveline Hartz.

A local organic plant-based lunch will be included Oct. 12. Workshops, vendors and informational tables also are part of the daylong session, Hartz said.

Oct. 12 keynote speakers will be John DeGraaf, a nationally acclaimed author and filmmaker whose documentaries include “Affluenza,” “Beauty for All” and the “Green New Deal”; and Walter Simpson, founder and director of the University at Buffalo Environmental Sustainability Office. He will speak about climate change.

Cost is $35 in advance at worldonyourplate.org and $40 at the door, and free to students with preregistration and ID; financial assistance is available to others.

Q: What is the Friday night movie about?

Nevada City, Calif., is a bit like Buffalo in that it was once an was an industrial town. At some point, they used up all their resources. Factories moved out and the place was dying. At some point, there was what they call the “Second Gold Rush,” which was based on nature and community, a sense of place. Groups – and they were a bit conflicting groups – came together to rebuild the Yuba River. It's a story about that process and how this city then became a vibrant city.

Q: Who should come to world on your plate?

Anyone interested in anything dealing with food. People who are interested in social justice. People interested in climate change, and people just interested in learning more about the community.

Q: What will the workshops be like?

We have a couple dealing with food and with gardening. Sarah Sorci, who is an herbalist, is going to be talking about toxin-aware gardening and foraging in Western New York. Jessica Myers Altman will talk about how eating plant-based foods can prevent reverse chronic disease. Jay Burney is doing a talk on insects, native plants and the decline of biodiversity. Then Lynda Schneekloth is going to take that a little further and talk about why we need a nature-based climate solutions. That that will be about using our event to get ourselves out of this climate change predicament.

Heather Hartz is going to do something fun about using natural dyes. She's my daughter and she's really quite the artist. The Western New York Youth Climate Council is coming as well and they are going to be talking about climate change. They will also be assisting Vicky Ross, who is the director of the Western New York Peace Center, and will talk about biodiversity, oneness and the 99%. We have Michael Zak coming to talk about vertical and hydroponic farming.

Jack Kanack will talk about climate change in 2019 and then Tomasz Falkowski will give a talk entitled “The agricultural response to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.” Santiago Masferrer is going to have a hands-on experiment to help people see and understand how we need to all work together.

Remy Rotella Orlowski – her company is Super Seeds – is going to be talking about heirloom vegetables.

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