TEDxFruitvale Conference to Focus on Farmworkers, Social Justice Movements, and Socially Responsible Business

Conference is next step in farmworker rights movement

Palo Alto, CA (September 14, 2011) – On Thursday, October 14, at Mills College in Oakland, CA, TEDxFruitvale: Harvesting Change will bring together 100 attendees from a variety of disciplines and walks of life to celebrate the people upon whom we depend to harvest our food.

In three sessions, titled Meet, Movement, and Money, the independently organized event, licensed by TED, will provide a 360-degree view of farmworkers today and throughout history; compare labor’s progress with other social justice movements; and end with a discussion of fair labor practices from a business standpoint. Three special musical guests will perform for each session. The 18 high-profile speakers include Arturo Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers; Nikki Henderson, executive director of People’s Grocery; U. Roberto Romano, director of The Harvest; Gerardo Reyes-Chavez, leader/organizer of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers; Wayne Pacelle, President/CEO of the Huane Society of the United States; Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland; and Amelia Morán Ceja, a former farmworker, now president and owner of Ceja Vineyards.

TEDxFruitvale is sponsored by the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the socially responsible food service provider Bon Appétit Management Company. In 2009, the Foundation hired three recent college graduates and sustainability champions as Fellows, asking them to visit farms around the country to learn about labor practices throughout the entire supply chain. Those firsthand experiences informed their work on the Inventory of Farmworker Issues and Protections in the United States, a comprehensive 65-page report the Foundation Fellows drafted in partnership with the United Farm Workers and with support from Oxfam-America, released on March 31 (César Chávez Day), 2011.

“This conference was the logical next step in the Foundation’s work on behalf of farmworkers,” says Foundation President Maisie Greenawalt. “We’re excited to see what recommendations emerge from this amazing collection of thought leaders and activists who will be coming together for the first time.”

Although TEDxFruitvale is limited to 100 in-person attendees by TEDx rules, there is no limit on virtual attendees. A live webcast of the conference will be available for viewing from 9am to 3:30pm PST at www.tedxfruitvale.org/webcast. For those who want to organize a viewing party of the webcast, visit www.tedxfruitvale.org/viewingparties for a contest, registration form, and many helpful resources.

Follow @TEDxFruitvale on Twitter or via Facebook: www.facebook.com/tedxfruitvale.

About TEDx, where x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxFruitvale, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxFruitvale event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Talks are then made available, free, at http://ted.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Long Beach, California (along with a parallel conference, TEDActive, in Palm Springs), and TEDGlobal is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily; the new TED Conversations, enabling broad conversations among TED fans; and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.

TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED.

Contact: Bonnie Powell, bonnie@tedxfruitvale.org, (650) 621-0871