Here’s a sneak peak at what HAFA has in store for DC Food Future next Saturday, December 8. Expect blog posts all next week describing the sessions and activities in more detail. Register here and donate to keep the event free and accessible for all.
Posts Tagged ‘food justice’
HAFA is putting on a mega event called DC Food Future: Planting the seeds of Justice on December 8th! Register Today at dcfoodfuture.eventbrite.com
Healthy and Affordable Food for All is planning a mega-event for community members, organizers, foodies, workers, policy wonks and everyone in between. Stay tuned for details or email us at email@example.com to get involved.
At 9pm EST tonight, Occupy DC’s “Voices of the 99%” radio program will interview Coop DC members Zachari Curtis and Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo, and UDC’s Calvin Lewis about DC Co-op Day, cooperatives and urban food systems, the connections between international and local cooperatives, and the business development aspects of cooperatives. “Voices of the 99%” is a call-in program podcast live over the Internet.
HAFA-DC Advisory Space will be TODAY Monday, October 15th at 5pm at The Center for Green Urbanism at 3938 Benning Rd. NE. There will be lots of good food and childcare.
The River East Emerging Leaders is hosting a panel called “The Politics of Food”
This Saturday night, I’m throwing a party that I hope will be equal parts wonderful and unusual. It’s a dance, a dinner, and a discussion about race, privilege, and the food system. It’s also a fundraiser for Beet Street Gardens and a project through Healthy Affordable Food for All to bring The Black/Land Project to DC. The location is 1412 Parkwood Pl NW. Discussion and potluck is from 7-9pm and dancing will go from 9-midnight. More details and RSVP on Facebook.
Ever since I started dreaming it up, this party has scared me and excited me. Last week, those of us planning it learned that a few people thought the combination of our topic and our chosen activity – contra dancing – was ironic. We heard that it looked like “a bunch of white people getting together to talk about black land.”
Over the past several months, I’ve been exploring what it might take to build a nourishing food system in DC. I’ve had the privilege of hearing ideas from different individuals and groups about what collaboration could look like and how something like a food policy council might help move the city as a whole in the right direction.
To me, the discussions have been exciting and the possibilities seem both endless and achievable. It’s also apparent that the work goes far beyond generating good policy ideas. Speaking with groups who’ve been living and working in the city for a long time, it becomes increasingly clear that as a white, young, relatively new arrival to the district, and someone who came from a pretty comfortable economic background, I need to spend some time reflecting on my identity and role.
It’s no secret that across the country, the impact of a broken food system is disproportionately felt by communities of color. In DC in particular, parts of the city with higher concentration of African Americans often have higher rates of poverty, lower access to healthy and affordable foods, and higher rates of the accompanying diet-related diseases.
Studies and facts are easy to find, yet less often do I find them accompanied by thoughtful analysis of why and of the reality of a racist food system that has been built and perpetuated throughout our nation’s and our city’s history. “Race & the Food System,” a project of WHY Hunger and Growing Food and Justice For All Initiative, explores some of that history and the present reality. From low-cost labor inputs from immigrant workers, to the discriminatory treatment of black farmers by the USDA, to the ongoing unequal wages and employment patterns across all aspects of the food system – it’s clear that race matters.
WHY Hunger and GFJI breaks it down: “The problem is systemic; therefore, the solution must be approached with an eye towards understanding those systems and how to change them.” So what does systemic change in DC look like? And how might something like a food policy council play a role?
As a starting place, it’s clear that white people like me must reflect on our identity (and the privileges that have come with it) and take responsibility for our place in an unjust system. Next, I hope we can prioritize listening and learning – about the history of food and racism in this city, about how ways of working on food politics might perpetuate some of those injustices, about work that’s already being done and ideas that people already have about how to fix it. (I’m excited about this week’s National Black Agricultural Awareness Week as one of those opportunities to reflect and learn. Learn more here )
We can gain strength for the long journey by knowing other cities have made progress – white people and people of color together building the kind of just, transparent, welcoming community needed to do this hard work. Some cities, like Detroit and Oakland, have explicitly built diverse representation and ownership into the mandate and mission of their food policy councils. Others have used participatory action research to engage as broad of a spectrum of impacted groups and individuals as possible in creating and implementing a ‘food systems plan.’ And some, like Toronto’s organized food community, took a few steps back through public conversations and gatherings, with the support of the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative’s Toronto chapter.
The Community Food Security Coalition summarizes the aim: “In order to dismantle the structural racism within our food system, we must make a determined effort to cultivate and increase the leadership, voice, perspectives and demands of low-income communities of color within the food movement.” I hope that our work in DC can be shaped by that vision.