Food + Freedom
On Thursday, July 4th, we’ll celebrate Independence Day. It’s a good reminder to take some time before your barbeque to think about freedom and how it relates to food.
As I made my way to my desk here at the Food Bank this morning, I passed by a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt written up on the wall. I see it every day, but it rings particularly true around this holiday: "The freedom of man, I contend, is the freedom to eat."
Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness... maybe we should have added "a stomach full of good food" to that list.
Racial inequities. Big Ag threats to food and seed sovereignty. Foodservice workers and farm laborers having to fight for basic rights that contractors and large companies withhold from them for the sake of profit margins. Institutional racism causing staggering land loss for farmers of color. Mid-size and small farmers of all kinds struggling to pay the bills as they are pushed out of the market and into bankruptcy by big corporations. Animal cruelty. Food deserts and swamps, and the question of exactly who it is that gets access to quality, fresh, nutritious food. Unsustainable practices and toxic chemicals encroaching on what should be every person's inalienable right to a healthy body, a clean environment, and a stable climate that will keep us fed in the future.
There’s a lot about our food system that is distinctly lacking in liberty.
Luckily, there are people and organizations working to restore freedom in our food system, and if you’re reading this email, you’re one of them!
Something to think about before you enjoy the food on your plate at your cookouts and celebrations tomorrow: What does food plus freedom equal, to you? What would it look and feel like? Who does it include? Where would it happen? What would it take? What effect would it have on us, on our society, on our planet?