Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Food Justice

I listen to Radio Ecoshock on a fairly regular basis while I'm doing less writing-intensive tasks at work. Today I'm listening to this wonderful interview with activist-turned-author Nick Saul, who founded Stop, a radically revisioned food bank in Toronto. 

Here's the quotation about 20-25 minutes into the interview that encouraged me to blog about it:

"How do we move from a consumer-led revolution to one that is about building food citizens?" 

If food is supposed to be sustainable, does this mean that food is a right? Who is responsible for making sure human beings are adequately fed? Where's the justice, and how should and do we effect it? Can we grow food closer to home? Distribution and income inequality are complicated, sticky things. How do we engage in conversation about them?

I look forward to reading Saul and his wife/co-author's book The Stop soon. Saul recognizes his own privilege. He's always lived in privilege, from his childhood in Tanzania as the son of academic parents through his success as an adult. He doesn't make too many huge sweeping statements that I find particularly controversial, but he does tell about how he's seen that people want to be more involved in food. They don't want to just get food stamps or go to the food pantry; they want to participate in it and live in dignity. 

Other books I've read that come to my mind as semi-related to this:
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (and her daughter and husband)
- Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Food justice is fascinating, and it's one of those universal things that will eventually affect everyone. It's so tied into my general passion lately about the scarcity of resources (and the way we're destroying the biosphere by exploiting those resources in faster, flagrant, and more brutal ways). I'm excited to attend a free lecture on campus next week about food policy. I intend to take notes and probably write a scathing review and reflection about it.

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