Oak announces Jodi Koberinski as fellow

The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights has recently selected Jodi Koberinski of Canada to be the 2015 Oak Human Rights Fellow for the fall semester. According to a press release issued by the institute, “Koberinski’s pioneering work reimagining agriculture and advocating for more equitable food systems, not only in Canada but around the world, puts her at the forefront in the field of food sovereignty, the theme for this year’s Oak fellowship.”

In an email correspondence, Koberinski said, “This Fellowship will play a pivotal role in my work on food sovereignty and earth democracy. The human rights dimensions of food systems is a crucial conversation—having this time to articulate these ideas will be a ‘game changer’ for our efforts to transform and reclaim our food systems”

Though the Oak institute usually brings activists from the world’s poorest countries, the press release reported that “the institute was wowed by Koberinski, even though she hails from a relatively wealthy country like Canada.” Director of the Oak Institute and Associate Professor of Government Walter Hatch said in an email that “Jodi is a smart, dynamic activist who makes connections between various pieces of the far-flung food debate—from the loss of local seeds to the erosion of soils due to agri-monoculture, from the chemical poisoning of farmworkers to the food deserts facing inner city residents.”

According to press release, Koberinski feels that she is increasingly vulnerable in Canada due to her open criticism of industrial food production. It reported that “she believes that powerful agribusiness interests that benefit from the status quo work to discredit her, and that the Canadian government has grown hostile to activists like her.”

Koberinski will arrive on campus in August and will spend the semester leading a human rights seminar on food systems. She will also be building the Beyond Pesticides Network, an organization which, according to its website, “works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides.”

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