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Land, food security and social justice

In 1888, my great-grandfather Sandy Odom was forced to leave his farm in Marion, Ark., by an armed white mob. You may ask what this has to do with the current “good food” revolution. My answer? Plenty! One of the root causes of food insecurity throughout the world is dispossessing people of their lands and thus their ability to feed and otherwise provide for themselves. The story of my great-grandfather is ...

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Tell me a story: Exercising the power to choose

The last Environmental Justice principle, No. 17, states, “Environmental Justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources and to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision to challenge and re-prioritize our lifestyles to ensure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.” ...

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Detroit Food 2013: What’s on your plate?

The Detroit Food Policy Council is concerned about all aspects of food. We want to ensure people have access to enough healthy food for proper nutrition that sustains their minds, bodies and spirits. We are also concerned about the conditions of our grocery stores, restaurants and other places in our community where people buy food. ...

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Born female, still evolving

As we approach March 8 and Women’s International Day, I’ve been thinking about how my understanding of feminism has evolved over the years. I was born female to Chinese immigrant parents above my father’s Chinese American restaurant in Providence, R.I. My mother did not know how to read or write because there were no schools for females in her little Chinese village. When I cried, the Chinese waiters used t ...

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Keeping community in urban agriculture

There has been a lot of discussion around large-scale urban agriculture in a city that is world renown for the re-emergence of community based agricultural projects. It is my hope that the influx of organizations and corporations in the transition in the city will not be a hindrance to the sustainability of long-standing community gardening projects. The projects have helped feed many people around the city ...

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Rosa Parks and the visionary organizers of Montgomery, Ala.

Rosa Parks, “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement,” was born Rosa Louise McCauley 100 years ago on Feb. 4, 1913. Her Centennial was celebrated last week at many events, including the unveiling of a special stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Most celebrations focused on Rosa’s courage, saying little or nothing about the Montgomery women whose visionary organizing of t ...

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MLK Day in John Deere Country

I flew to Iowa to speak at Grinnell College on MLK Day. The weather was several degrees below freezing but the reception was warm. I was scheduled to speak Monday at 4:15 pm. At 4 o’clock, people from the community began streaming into the chapel-like auditorium: mostly white women, their eyes shining with anticipation. ...

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A chef’s midlife crisis

In the Bible, Joel 2:28 states, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” With that said, I must be in the throes of a midlife crisis, because I am dreaming of and envisioning a strong and vibrant food system. ...

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The media creation of consumer activism

It’s been a long trip, but after months of writing and reflecting about what environmental justice principles have to do with food and digital justice, the Justice Communicators have finally reached the last environmental justice principle. Principle 17 states, “Environmental Justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources and to ...

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