• Gail P. Myers

"Four Paths to Food Equity"

Have a Good Meal!

The election of the 45th president of the United States has redeployed the white supremacy mantle to its rightful place -- out front and center. For nonwhites, our daily reality of this special American democracy and those blind eyes of justice has been our beast of burden to carry for centuries. Now with the 45th the world recognizes the place of hatred and terror we have had to bear each day we walked out of our doors. Now, in 2017 the audacity of white supremacy is legislating and writing executives orders seizing lands, water rights, forcing reverse migrations, just to name a few.

For those of us on the front line in the food systems work, we clearly understand the implications these new policies have upon the local and regional food systems. With the new cabinet comprised of those corporate facilitators of the broken food systems, we recognize the impending consequences for food access and affordability. If we are to survive - we must organize, organize, organize, and repeat. Find some organization that works within the context of local food, for example, those reaching local farmers, local farmers markets, local community supported agriculture (CSA), u-pick farms, community gardens, backyard gardens, school gardens, church gardens, rooftop gardens. If you have land, sun, and water, grow some food from open pollinated seeds. These are Non-Gmo foods that you can collect the seeds from and use for future plantings and even donate some to others. Organizing together we can fix a broken food system no matter who is at the nation’s helm.

Our country's romantic mythology of rugged individualism has evolved into a philosophy of "everyone for herself" which continues to promote greed and isolation. That thinking will not save any of us. This 45th has moved people to collaborate in ways never imaginable. For example, Jewish and Muslim groups together, Muslim and Mexican groups together, groups crossing gender, race, religion, and to some degree class aisles to defend each other. This is happening because we know our backs are up against the wall and our rugged individualism will not save the planet or us.

So how do we deal with this and perhaps even dismantle this broken food system. I have said it before but we have to -- organize, organize, organize, and repeat. It will take generations to reverse the affects of colonized thinking upon our children. There is no time like right now. Here are a few suggestions to help us begin to undo this debacle of a food system we have inherited.

WOMEN OF COLOR LEADERSHIP: First of all, we have to deal with patriarchy that runs so rampant in destructive tendencies. Patriarchy is keeping men at a base level of human existence. Woman of color have to lead the food movement. Women were the first farmers and still do most of the world’s farming. A woman not in leadership in the food and farming movement is the problem. As well, when women of color lead, that too will go far to balance the power. It has been said that no nation will rise higher than the status of its women. When women of color rise, we all rise as a nation! We can help each other evolve.

LAND SOVEREIGNTY: We have to fight for land sovereignty. Freeing the land from deteriorating hands has to be a priority. On the land, we must have those who steward and take that role seriously. The planet needs stewards to cultivate healthy bio diverse eco zones and not concrete corporate securities. Keeping small and traditional based farmers on the land is imperative. Land sovereignty rights and land titles have to be recognized so the people keep the access to family land and autonomy.

COOPERATIVES: We need more farm cooperatives, grocery store cooperatives, community buying clubs, housing cooperatives, and neighborhood cooperative think tanks. Cooperative thinking, planning, and implementing are the new currency. Working within the cooperative spirit will also reverse the costs of unchecked capitalism upon food systems. Fair prices for food, labor, and land are possibilities!

BACK TO LAND: We have to get back to the land. With a focus on the farmers, the land history, the local peoples history, our close relationship with the land itself must be reestablished. We have to eat as close to the land as possible. This of course means eating fresh food if not wild foods, herbs and other wild animals. What is important to know too, is that some of the food in our grocery stores including the high-end stores, has been grown in a toxic growing environment, from the seeds, soil, fertilizers and chemicals. Consuming these food products over time is not safe for our bodies. Also, it is necessary to move away from relying upon meat for most of our protein calories. No doubt meat protein is needed. There are carnivores that have to have meat daily. However, the lower we eat on the food chain, the healthier for our human bodies and the planet.

What would you add to this list of four possibilities? And whatever you add is good; just know that we all create possibilities every day we get out of bed. So wake up to this the idea that a few steps taken today and tomorrow in an organized fashion can dismantle the masters food system. Have a good meal!

#localfoodsystem #sustainablefoodsystem #foodequity

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