Thursday, August 11, 2011

A 'people's movement' for real food is coming to Lawrence

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Brett Ramey, modern-day freedom rider
  • Brett Ramey, modern-day freedom rider
Freedom Riders, a traveling exhibition about the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, is nearing the end of its run at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. The courageous confrontation of segregation in the Deep South continues to inspire. Young people are conducting a bus tour in homage of the Freedom Riders, only the justice being sought relates to food.

Live Real, a national initiative that promotes "a people's movement for real food solutions," is holding a brown-bag lunch at the Dole Institute on Friday. Lawrence is one stop on a bus tour that began in Birmingham, Alabama, on August 7 and ends in Detroit on August 18.

Live Real is a protest against a food system that's high in industrial concentration and low in nutritional value. One of the organizers is Brett Ramey, who lives in White Cloud, Kansas, and is a member of the Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Missouri.

For the last several years, Ramey has worked with indigenous youth in leadership development and sustainability programs. He was living in Arizona before he moved to the reservation in White Cloud. He's now affiliated with the Center for American Indian Community Health, an effort created by the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Ramey and others participating in the Food and Freedom Rides do not face the physical danger that the original Freedom Riders faced, of course. But Courtney Oates, a 20-year-old "real food fellow," apparently was arrested after she tried to drum up support for a Food and Freedom Rides event in her hometown of Europa, Mississippi. From the Live Real website:

Courtney was followed home by police after posting fliers about the Food and Freedom Rides community garden groundbreaking celebration. Authorities heavily questioned and threatened Courtney, releasing K9 units on her 14-year-old sister's birthday party prior to her arrest. Courtney was charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

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