As we approach 2014, the movement for real food that is just and fair is gaining momentum with every season. Never before have more people been able to build direct relationships with farmers through CSAs, farmers’ markets and farm to cafeteria programs. Food policy councils continue to grow, bringing activists, architects, government officials and youth into the same room to dream and scheme about what we want our food system to look like. We have a White House garden for the first time in generations! And young farmers and community leaders across the country are reconnecting with the dirt and diligence of growing our food.
Amidst all these victories, disparities in our food system continue to pose serious economic, political and social barriers to millions of people every day. These gaps are stark and progress is still out of reach for too many, especially low-income populations and communities of color. Government programs that protect our most vulnerable neighbors are threatened with each passing legislative cycle. Farmworkers continue to suffer horrific working conditions, including several prosecuted cases of modern-day slavery, and the majority of workers in the food system live in poverty and use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce. The US has lost four million farms in the last 50 years, as independent family farmers have been unable to survive under farm policy that favors corporations, and rural communities are dying. Governments and corporations around the world threaten peasants’ land rights through repressive and violent land grabs. And one in four children in the U.S. doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from.
The good news? We have the means to ensure that affordable, nutritious food is accessible to everyone. We have organized campaigns and amplified voices to call others to action. And we have youth leaders, policy-makers, chefs, farmers, filmmakers, community activists and you on our side. As we continue to gather more brain-power, muscle power and people power, we’re moving a more just and sustainable food system forward and building community food security from the soil on up.
We build Community Food Security by:
- Listening to, learning from and partnering with the leaders and organizations who are growing this movement — literally — on the ground in their communities;
- Supporting grassroots voices and democratic decision-making on critical questions about who has access to food, how it’s grown and where, and the conditions food and farmworkers face in kitchens and fields;
- Finding the solutions that already exist in our own neighborhoods and around the world and helping them gain traction;
- Connecting the dots between economic, political, educational and institutional challenges and building the necessary relationships to make real food solutions possible;
- Weaving together the varied and at times disparate actors and sectors, their challenges and innovations at the grassroots and in halls of Congress;
- Gathering the voices, ideas and tools for change as we take action to build a broad based movement for justice in our food system.
Do you plan to build edible gardens with your local school, ensure that no child goes hungry, advocate for a fair Food and Farm Bill or hold agribusiness corporations accountable to our right to seeds, land, and fair wages? No matter your role in creating a more just food system, the Food Security Learning Center provides practical resources and hands-on tools to help you dig in and connect with others around the country — and the world — who are making change one garden, one market, one plate, one policy at a time. Onward!
This project is supported by the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Grant #2012-33800-20310.