The Food Justice Movement in North America
“Food justice seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed and eaten are shared fairly. Food justice represents a transformation of the current food system, including but not limited to eliminating disparities and inequities.” (Robert Gottlieb & Joshi Anupama, Food Justice)
http://vimeo.com/user7469984/videos: Growing Food Justice In Toronto – Anan’s Story
The awareness that racial and cultural equality, or Food Justice, is integral to Community Food Security was first endorsed by former board members and conference participants—Latino and people of African descent—of the US-based, Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) when after 9 years “of advocating for an anti-racism and diversity philosophy there continued to be strong resistance to the anti-racism work [of Outreach and Diversity Committee) at the CFSC.”
In 2007, CFSC’s Outreach and Diversity Committee was dissolved. The Executive Director of Afri-Can FoodBasket and community garden guru, Anan Lololi, along with former CFSC board members, Hank Herrera and Mohammed Nuru persisted with the need for addressing racism within the Food Security movement by creating Growing Food & Justice for All Initiative (GFJI) with veteran urban gardener, Will Allen. It was this grass-roots organization that propelled recognition of culture and race in the Food Justice and Community Food Security movement in North America.
GFJI defines itself as “a new comprehensive network that views dismantling racism as a core principal that brings together social change agents from diverse sectors working to bring about new, healthy and sustainable food systems and supporting and building multicultural leadership in impoverished communities throughout the world.”
The GFJI Vision:
“To establish a powerful network of individuals, organizations and community based entities all working toward a food-secure and just world.”
Afri-Can FoodBasket (AFB) employs GFJI’s vision strategies to help eradicate racism in the Community Food Security movement:
- Establish a voice and presence in the formation of policies that support justice, economic opportunity and equity reflecting the values and integrity of GFJI—AFB Executive Director is a board member of Toronto Food Policy Council, and Chair of Food Secure Canada Diversity Working Group; member of Sustain Ontario healthy food and farming alliance
- Support local, national and international networking sessions between members—AFB is a founding member of Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative— The Toronto Local Empowerment Group (LEG); an administrative and food policy consultant for Detroit Black Community Food Security Nework; member of Lawrence Heights Inter-Organizational Network (LHION) food justice work group; presenter at the annual Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference; one of the four lead members of the Toronto Community Food Animators’ Project in the capacity of “community garden animator”; contributing participant at annual GFJI conference of Growing Power—America’s leading urban farming organization
- AFB helps racialized neighbourhoods establish community gardens to provide residents access to cheap, culturally appropriate foods with funding from organizations, including Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
It is the commitment of grass-roots organizations, such as Afri-Can FoodBasket, to ensure all people, particularly those of racialized communities, have access to:
- inexpensive nutritious, organic and culturally appropriate foods;
- that all people who work within the various stages of the food chain are paid fair wages, should have access to medical and unemployment benefits, since taxes are deducted from their wages, and that their employment be protected by federal laws like that of all other workers;
- use the immediate land space—back yards, community and public areas—as an invaluable resource and medium for engaging citizens, agencies, local and regional food networks to help make policy changes towards food security for all.