WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series was created to support and amplify the voices of people working to regain control of their communities' food system. Telling their own stories, these individual leaders and communities are on the front lines shaping the movement to alleviate food insecurity and build food justice across America. WhyHunger believes that telling one's story is not only an act of reclaiming in the face of the dominant food narrative of this country, but also an affirmation that the small acts of food sovereignty happening across the country add up to a powerful, vital collective.
Social Justice for Lunch: Delta Fresh Foods Initiative at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Continuing WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series, is “Social Justice for Lunch: Delta Fresh Foods Initiative at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference.” This piece explores the work of the Delta Fresh Foods Initiative (DFFI) to transform the food system in the Mississippi Delta region into one that is more equitable and just for all.
Social Justice for Lunch gives insight into an equity-based approach to address the lack of access to nutritious food and the direct connection to decades of persistent poverty and oppression. DFFI was created from the ground up by organizers who recognized the importance of having a justice lens on their work and the necessity to include marginalized voices at the table. Together they chose to use Farm to School projects to strengthen the local food economy, promote healthy lifestyles and build social equity for Delta residents.
“With limited staff and a large chunk of geography to impact, we chose school, community and church gardens as a focus for projects to build the supply and demand in communities.” –Judy Belue, Director DFFI
Hear directly from the voices of Deborah Moore, DFFI Board Chair, Judy Belue, DFFI Director and Brooke Smith, WhyHunger’s Grassroots Action Network Co-Director who has worked with WhyHunger to support the development of the organization since 2009. Learn about what it takes to build an inclusive, collective power for long-term change and the framework that can be replicated going forward to ensure everyone has access to nutritious food.
Chant Down Babylon: Building Relationship, Leadership, and Power in the Food Justice Movement
Leaders from three dynamic grassroots organizations, convened in Detroit to initiate a conversation and develop action around collective leadership by people of color in the food justicemovement.
In the latest addition to WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series, Malik Yakini, Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, D’Artagnan Scorza, Ph.D., ExecutiveDirector of the Social Justice Learning Institute, and Nikki Silvestri, Social Innovation Strategist and former Executive Director of People’s Grocery, discuss the complexities of the role of African-Americans in the food movement, leadership dynamics, their hopes for the future of the food movement, and why they are trying to “work themselves out of a job” to indicate true reform.
“It’s not really revolutionary to wake up in 20 years and continue addressing the same problem over and over again…the revolutionary thing to do is to make sure that I help usher in the revolution so that what I’m doing is no longer needed.”― Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza
Lifting up some of the unspoken dynamics at play and supporting the healing of the communities where they work, this conversation offers a window into the minds of these dynamic community leaders who approach the work with love and honesty.
Download and read the full conversation at “Chant Down Babylon: Building Relationship, Leadership, and Power in the Food Justice Movement.”
Agroecological Approaches to Poverty, Migration and Landlessness
At the U.S.-Mexico border, surveillance cameras and military check-points are part of everyday life for those that reside in the surrounding communities. In the borderlands, many workers and their families are exploited and marginalized; ancestral farmland is taken away and replaced with destructive industrial agriculture, and fresh, healthy, local food is not readily accessible for most residents. In this second publication in WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series, “Agroecological Approaches to Poverty, Migration and Landlessness,” Alma Maquitico writes that agroecology, or the practice of developing farming systems with low-input ecological principles, can empower people to claim their right to healthy food.
“If human rights is the theory,” writes Alma, “agroecology is the practice.” Alma works with low-wage communities in the borderlands as an educator, farmer and leader in grassroots farming initiatives. As a Mexican woman, she writes from personal experience that, “Forced migration…is characterized by the urgent need to free ourselves, to find a way out of poverty and exploitation, an urgent quest for self-determination.” Agroecology, she writes, is a framework for creating community-based farm systems to develop and support that self-determination, and at the same time builds a new model for agriculture that succeeds outside of the industrial agriculture paradigm.
Download and read the full report at “Agroecological Approaches to Poverty, Migration and Landlessness.”
Dignity, Hope, Wellness and Action: Against All Odds in the Sonoran Desert
A firsthand account of community-led groups and individuals in the Sonoran desert borderlands who are building dignity through struggle from the ground up.
How can people in the borderlands be healthy and empowered when their communities are under attack? This question is at the core of cesar lopez’s “Dignity, Hope, Wellness and Action: Against All Odds in the Sonoran Desert,” the first publication in WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series.
This thought-provoking piece goes beyond the issues of hunger, addressing the border region’s wide disparities in political and economic opportunity. Did you know 60 percent of fresh produce eaten in the U.S. is grown in Mexico? That produce is transported directly through the borderlands, while farmworkers in Mexico suffer from hunger, inhumane labor standards and poor wages, and people living on both sides of the border go hungry.
But there is hope. cesar’s piece provides a firsthand account of community-led groups and individuals in the Sonoran desert borderlands who are blazing another trail -- fighting to heal from the trauma, working to put an end to a destructive system and building dignity through struggle from the ground up. “The impact of these homegrown leaders is hard to measure,” says cesar, “and the importance of change coming from the ground up cannot be overstated.”
Read more and download "Dignity, Hope, Wellness and Action: Against All Odds in the Sonoran Desert” written by cesar lopez, Sonoran Desert Latino Food Justice Network, Tucson, Arizona.