Posted January 22, 2019
The 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit steering committee is proud to announce that Jose Oliva, co-director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance will be our keynote speaker on Wednesday, April 3rd. Jose has spent more than 15 years advocating for workers’ rights and social justice.
Jose will discuss current efforts at the national and regional levels to improve wages and working conditions for workers all along the food chain. His talk will illustrate the necessity of these changes in building a more just and sustainable food system through a focus on jobs in our institutional food service operations and supply chain.
Jose Oliva was born in Xelaju, Guatemala, on November 15, 1972 to Myriam Gonzalez, a popular educator. As a result of Jose’s mothers’ involvement in social justice issues, they were forced to flee Guatemala in 1985. Once in the United States, Jose went to work at the Midwest Latino Research and Policy Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago under the direction of Dr. Aida Giachello.
He then was called to be Executive Director of Casa Guatemala where he began to organize day-laborers in Chicago’s street corners. He founded the Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center and then became the coordinator of the Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers' Centers Network. In 2008, he became the coordinator for the Workers’ Alliance for a Just Economy a program of the Center for Community Change.
Jose served in several leadership positions at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, the national organization of restaurant workers. Jose is the co-director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of food-worker organizations that collectively represents over 350,000 workers. Jose is a 2017 James Beard Award recipient and a recipient of Eating Well’s 2018 Food Heroes Award.
We are excited to have Jose's participation at the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit and we look forward to the conversations his keynote will generate throughout the conference!
Learn more about Jose and his organization's work by visiting the Food Chain Workers Alliance website.