Inside the Hen House
Port Commission Hearing Room
San Francisco, CA
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Inside the Hen House
Inside the Hen House
A panel discussion sponsored by CUESA


Do you know where your chicken comes from? Carole Morison, the former chicken farmer featured in Food, Inc., will tell the story of her 23 years working within the industrial poultry system, in which growers must agree to inhumane practices that cause water and land pollution and produce birds full of antibiotics. Currently an activist for the rights of family farmers, Morrison will share harrowing insights she gained and lessons she uses to help farmers improve local food systems.  She will be joined by farmers Norman and Aimee Gunsell of Mountain Ranch Organically Grown, who raise chickens organically on pasture and sell the birds at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. The Gunsells will speak about their commitment to sustainable poultry and what that means, and tell how chicken eaters can find better alternatives to factory-farmed meat.

Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules, In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore's Dilemma, will introduce the panelists and frame the debate. Our moderator will be Anya Fernald, who launched the Slow Food Nation event and now supports the development of values-driven food businesses through her company, Live Culture.

The panel will begin promptly at 6:30 and end at 8:00.  A reception with farmers' market refreshments will follow. Some tickets may also be available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

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CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to cultivate a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. CUESA envisions a food system that is environmentally sound, humane, economically viable, and socially just. CUESA's educational programs include cooking demonstrations, farmers market festivals, farm tours, do-it-yourself kitchen skill-building classes, interactive discovery stations, and a weekly electronic newsletter.

Carole Morison raised chickens for 23 years under a corporate contract on her family farm in Maryland. After exposing the food, labor, and environmental damages exacted by industrial farming in the Academy Award- nominated film Food Inc, Morison lost her contract and no longer farms. Currently an activist for the rights of family farmers, she co-founded the Delmarva Poultry Justice  Alliance and works as an agricultural consultant, helping farmers make business decisions that improve local food systems.

Norman and Aimee Gunsell are deeply committed to sustainability and began selling their chicken at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in February 2009. Norman has been farming ever since his family moved to the rural area of Mountain Ranch in Calaveras County 42 years ago. When he graduated from high school he took over what was then his mom's turkey farm and raised the birds free range on contract for a large corporation for over a decade. He married Aimee in 1993 and the two began the current operation, Mountain Ranch Organically Grown.  Norman and Aimee keep flocks of 500-800 pasture-raised chickens at a time, as well as 2-6 cows at a time. They are also experimenting with growing some portion of the grains they feed their chickens, in an effort to create a closed-loop system on their farm.

Michael Pollan is the author of Food Rules, In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore's Dilemma. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post named The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals one of the ten best books of 2006 and it won numerous awards, including placement as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, and gardening. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer, and their son, Isaac.

Anya Fernald launched Slow Food Nation and now supports the development of profitable, values-driven food businesses through her company, Live Culture. She also spent four years working for Slow Food International for whom she directed the International Presidia project, where she traveled around the world visiting small artisan food producers who produce sustainable food and practice myriad types of sustainable agriculture. This experience gave Fernald a deep knowledge of how food is produced and what ways consumers can act to support food production thats good for the earth and for human health. She is also a judge on America's Next Iron Chef.


Port Commission Hearing Room
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No