food justice is reproductive justice

Depressing stories about reproductive healthcare and rights routinely fill the news: four Planned Parenthood clinics close in Iowa due to targeted budget cuts, our ass of a president expanded the global gag rule that prevents organizations that provide abortions from receiving U.S. foreign aid money, the soulless ghouls who make up the U.S. Senate Republicans have created a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that targets reproductive healthcare,  and the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale strikes fear into our hearts (I guess this one is only depressing because it’s “too real,” as they say).  In the United States, activists and feminists continue to struggle just to beat back anti-abortion legislation. Unfortunately, this has meant that many of us are stuck in a reproductive rights paradigm. The reproductive rights framework for activism is generally limited to the legal sphere and focused primarily on the legal right for someone to have an abortion. This legal right is, of course, nothing to sneeze at, and reproductive rights are critical to reproductive freedom. However, as a paradigm for movement-building, reproductive rights lacks the capacity to effectively connect with other social movements, and to move beyond a narrow focus on choice and “women’s health.” Continue reading food justice is reproductive justice

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4 tips for avoiding foodie cultural appropriation

My bf made the above video to go with a script I wrote! I think it’s safe to say most of us have, at some point, felt unsure about whether instances of potential cultural appropriation really were that. This video is about food, in particular, but the lessons can apply across many types of cultural expression. A longer version of the script (which hopefully will clear up questions that anyone may have after watching) is below. Enjoy!

Continue reading 4 tips for avoiding foodie cultural appropriation

food sovereignty/justice media

Are you interested in learning more about food justice and sovereignty?? What a coincidence! So am I! Because we don’t get a lot of examples of food justice movements in history classes, it’s a lot harder for me to imagine what an effective and systemic food justice movement would even look like than it is for me to imagine what a social justice movement more focused on legal equality looks like. That, I think, we can all at least kind of imagine, as hard as it is to enact. But food justice? What does it look like? Why do we need it? And what does being an accomplice to food justice movements entail? I don’t know, obviously, but below are some articles (and a couple of podcasts and videos) that have helped me mull those questions over in a thoughtful and more educated way. Enjoy! Continue reading food sovereignty/justice media

where’s the food?

The anthropology of food class at my college was a senior spring joke class, taken by people who actually care deeply about systems of oppression and movements for resistance.  Not once in my Women’s and Gender Studies education did we do a unit on growing, preparing, or owning food, in the context of gender, race, class, or nationality.  There were never any units on food sovereignty movements in my elementary, middle, or high school history classes.  The only communities that were connected with food in those classes were First Nations/Native communities, and in that context, food was treated as an anachronistic cultural quirk, rather than a) a necessary part of survival, b) a serious and central part of any culture, and c) a tool that can be used in the service of both oppression and resistance. We glanced over farm workers’ movements (discussed only as labor movements), talked briefly about black and brown domestic labor, and perhaps mentioned that women tend to cook in the home more than men do (ah, the problem that has no name).

Even now I have a hard time getting my head around food sovereignty and food systems. We* just never talk about it! We do not talk about food as a serious political issue.  We take issues of oppression seriously when they involve certain social identities (well, some of us do); we take money seriously, even though it’s made up.** But food, which none of us can live without, which enriches our lives in so many ways, is not a central part of a formal American education, nor is it a part of most (at least mainstream) conversations about oppression and injustice. Continue reading where’s the food?