Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

For updates on Stowe Center programs and events, sign up for our enews at http://harrietbeecherstowe.org/email.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day, Stowe, and Food Justice

Though celebrated around the world, Americans, whether Irish or not, love St. Patrick's day more than most. But despite the popularity of St. Patrick's day, Irish history, including the story of why many Irish-Americans came to the United States, is absent from history curriculums.

One of the darkest and misunderstood periods of Irish history is undoubtedly the potato famine, where an estimated one million Irish citizens died and an additional million fled the country (to places like the U.S) in a period of mass starvation and destitution. The potato famine, which lasted from 1845-1852, is largely understood as a natural disaster- that is the deaths were a result of widespread blight that affected potatoes. And while the blight contributed, political decisions, including the mass exportation of other food crops, like grain, eggs, flour, and cattle by British landlords, exasperated the situation, and turned a one-crop disease into a manufactured phenomena of economic exploitation and marginalization.  

Illustration of Irish potato famine

Elements of the Irish potato famine can be seen today in global food systems. Though enough food is produced for all of the world's 7 billion people, much like enough food existed in Ireland at the time of the famine, 1 in 8 people still go hungry. The existence of hunger is a result of inequities in the production and distribution of food. Globalization has allowed individuals with means to access food from all over the world, yet many of the individuals cultivating this food can not afford or access it themselves.

How can we use lessons from the Irish potato famine to compel contemporary food justice? Though most known for anti-slavery advocacy, Harriet Beecher Stowe was a champion of early environmental and food justice causes and even supported local, "fair trade" general stores. Is buying local and "fair trade" food a solution to larger inequities in food distribution? How can we create a more equitable global food system? 

Come to the Stowe Center to experience the new Stowe House experience aimed at using the story of Stowe to encourage positive change and social justice. Whether you care about food justice, education, or abolitionism come and share your thoughts! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff. I grow my own food and try no to rely on processed or big agriculture.