When most people think about solutions for food insecurity and hunger, they think of economics, policy, or agriculture. The arts aren’t usually top of mind. The panelists for this session make the case that the arts can and has been an important tool in the fight for food justice.

The arts connect peoples’ hearts and minds; they can open doors and pocketbooks. They have made a difference in other social issues – Hiram Larew reminds us of the poem “The New Colossus” etched into the base of the Statue of Liberty, inviting immigrants to the New World, which represented an ethos of welcome for decades.

However, there is a delicate balance to strike. Von Diaz, a documentarian and cookbook author, speaks of the tightrope she walks to accurately document families living in less than favorable circumstances while preserving their dignity and celebrating all they do have. Stephen Towns creates visual art that celebrates Black and Brown laborers who have long worked in the background, elevating the significant role they have played in building our nation’s economy. When that balance is found, the results can be powerful and generate impact for communities worldwide.

You can take a beautiful image of a community that is struggling… and inspire someone to learn more about them and inspire them to potentially give. The intentionality of the process of capturing these images… draws someone in. The world needs the people who draw people in. – Von Diaz – Von Diaz