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Jonathan Safran Foer Virtual Visit

On February 24, 2021, Farm Forward held its eighth “Jonathan Safran Foer Virtual Visit,” an annual series of interactive webinar sessions where Foer meets with students, educators, and other participants around the world to discuss many of the themes from his award-winning book Eating Animals. This year’s conversations centered around factory farming in the contexts of animal and environmental ethics, social justice, and pandemic-related concerns.

In this year’s event, Jonathan met with over 1,500 participants from institutions including the University of Oxford, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 2012, over 20,000 people have taken part. All participants have the opportunity to interact with Jonathan live in their classrooms, as well as from their own homes. The response from teachers and students has been overwhelmingly positive:

This year marks the fourth time that I’ve assigned Eating Animals in my literatures of food seminars, and the third time that my students and I have had the opportunity to attend the Jonathan Safran Foer Virtual Visit. When students listen to Foer talk about his own struggles with these issues, and also his empathy with others’ struggles, this allows for a more open and honest conversation in my classroom, which is invaluable. More than any other book I’ve taught in these seminars, Eating Animals is the one that most profoundly changes the minds and hearts of my students—not to mention what they choose to put on their plates.”

—Jennifer Cognard-Black, Professor of English, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Watch a recording of a 2021 Visit

It’s only with your support that Farm Forward will again be able to sponsor these unique virtual visits, ensure that the program’s cost is covered in its entirety, and provide free copies of Eating Animals to schools facing economic hardship.

Will you please support our Virtual Visit program by making a donation to Farm Forward today?

Eating Animals proclaims the message that changing the way a nation eats is as much a cultural issue as it is a political one. Yes, reforming farming requires social and political action—but it also requires the work of writers, artists, scholars, and religious leaders. That’s why Farm Forward supports educators who want to incorporate the cultural significance of animals and animal agriculture into their courses. Our hope is that reading Eating Animals and having the opportunity to talk directly with its author will encourage students to examine the repercussions of their eating habits from a variety of perspectives and help cultivate new advocates for change.

The Jonathan Safran Foer Virtual Visit is such a gift to our community. As a vegan educator and animal advocate, hearing Foer speak with participants gave me better access to my own words and responses. His manner is also really admirable as he’s dealing with many different people with varying perspectives, but was respectful to all and kept dialogue open. I’m so glad I attended and look forward to next year.”

—Lisa Apfelberg, Director of Programming, Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy

Eating Animals is already required reading in writing seminars at Boston University and Princeton University, and all incoming students at Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill were required to read the book in 2011. It has been used in disciplines ranging from environmental and animal studies to history, philosophy, and English at institutions such as George Mason University, New York University, and Rutgers. One of the reasons the book appeals to educators is that it is meticulously researched, making it a reliable reference for factual information about animals raised for food. Another reason is the nature and arrangement of its subject matter, which makes Eating Animals ideal for the development of critical thinking skills.

In the book’s introduction, Foer writes that eating animals is

“a slippery, frustrating, resonant subject. Each question prompts another.”

It is precisely this willingness to both confront complexity and still call for decisive action that makes Eating Animals unique.

Questions or comments about the Virtual Visit program can be sent to Joey Tuminello at [email protected].

Educational outreach programs are just one example of how Farm Forward puts individual contributions to work to promote conscientious food choices and end factory farming. You can join our network of supporters by making a donation that will help us continue our important work. To stay up to date on our projects and to learn about how you can get involved, please sign up for the Farm Forward newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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