Food Justice Activists Gather in Milwaukee

Have you ever wanted to learn how you and your community organization can be a part of dismantling racism in the food system? The Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative (GFJI) Gathering is the place to be. Now in its fourth year, the GFJI Gathering unites activists from around the world to explore the ways in which institutional racism – the systems and structures rooted in our country’s history that continue to exclude and disadvantage people based on their ethnicity and skin color — affect us all, from the way we eat to the way we think.

For those who are able to spend a little more time in Milwaukee, there is a training prior to the Gathering called ILFT (Intensive Leadership and Facilitation Training). Over a two-day period, nearly 50 people attended this year’s ILFT. Day one took place at Growing Power, and provided a space for people of color and white allies to have separate spaces to discuss issues of race, class, and how that affects the way we build community. Later, we reunited to share what our respective groups had discussed, which created some tension in the room. We began to heal when Growing Power’s Joe Rissman taught us how to compost. The process of getting our hands into the dirt and doing difficult work made us feel our own humanity, and just how good it feels to come together and work on a common goal.

On the second day, we split into two different groups: one for those who had little or no anti-racism training, and one for those who had a stronger understanding of institutional racism. Eventually, we came back together feeling energized, more able to understand each other through the language and honest conversations we shared.

Having honest conversations about the way racism affects all of us is crucial to movement building. Without this work, there is no justice in food justice. Even if you are not able to attend GFJI, there are other organizations that may have trainings in your area, such as DR Works, The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and Crossroads, Inc.

Be sure to check out our Race and the Food System topic on the Food Security Learning Center.

Candice Comisi