Food Justice

There are as many ways and causes in which to get involved as there are people on this earth; recognizing our diversity, Justice by the Pen has begun its movement by focusing on seven interconnected social justice themes.

1. What is Food Justice:
Food Justice is the struggle to support communities in exercising their right to grow, sell and eat healthy food. This will in turn result in a stable local food system, self-sustaining communities, and a healthy environment. Activists who fight for food justice demand that food is fresh, nutritious, affordable, grown locally and treated with love so that the land, workers and animals are also taken into consideration.

2. The Issues:

Issues in any particular community will vary. Therefore, local JBP groups will spend time pinpointing the issues they feel are most pertinent to address. Below are potential problems local communities may consider:

  • Dependency: poor people rely on charitable donations for food instead of being offered sustainable ways to be self-reliant.
  •  Distribution: There is no scarcity of food on earth and there is an excess of food in the United States; yet locally and internationally people still go hungry and there are countries undergoing famine and starvation because of unequal distribution of food.
  • Access: Communities of color and poorer communities have less access to healthy food and therefore eat food that can lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Knowledge: We are unaware of what our food is made of (GMO’s), the content that gets put in our food (antibiotics and hormones), and the consequences these have for our health.
  • Animals: Animals are being tortured and treated inhumanely on the farm before/during slaughter.
  • Environment: The misuse of grain and cattle in the food industry is leading to environmental degradation and increase in greenhouse gasses.
  • Corporations: Companies that are a part of the food industry make decisions based on maximum profit instead of maximum benefit for the people who consume the food. Therefore, decisions of what to produce (like high fructose corn syrup) are not in the best interest of one’s health. Additionally, laws are created (like the patenting of seeds) that are not in the best interest of farmers economically.

3. Direct Actions:

Below are a few suggested starting points and direct actions. Each local youth group will identify their community’s needs and solutions. There are three levels of suggested activism; choose your ways and get involved: Learn  –  Advocate  –  Engage

Learn: Explore the following websites:

www.greenthumbnyc.org/

www.justfood.org/food-justice/nyc-food-justice-action-guide/organize-and-mobilize

www.nyccah.org/learn-about-hunger

Watch the following documentaries: Food Inc., Genetic Roulette, The Future of Food, The World According to Monsanto, and Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead.

Advocate: Work with City Harvest and Food Action Board Project of NYC Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), write articles or blog, flyer (making/copying/passing out), meet with legislators/write letters/op-eds with guidance from justfood.org/food-justice and NYC Food Justice Action Guide.

Engage: Participate in organic farming in your community (with help from Green Thumb, Green Guerillas, Friends of Brook Farm and La Finca del Sur), or start your own by  finding a  garden space from www.gardenmaps.org or www.oasisnyc.net, start a chicken coup (get help from Just Food City Chicken Project) to provide eggs for your community,work with emergency food programs, set up a network between restaurants that throw away their food daily and shelters that could use the food, volunteer at a homeless shelter, volunteer at a soup kitchen,  make sandwiches and go hand them out, start a JBP Food not Bombs, start community-cooking classes.