FIG is a multi-racial, multi-gender grassroots collective of food and hospitality workers that hopes to transform the food system through knowledge sharing and mutual aid. Based in New York City/Lenapehoking and founded with a vision of global solidarity, they focus on developing strategies that address environmental sustainability, food sovereignty, racial equity, and economic justice.

“The whole ethos and purpose of FIG is making the radical practical,” Ora Wise, Co-Founder of FIG and Director of Organizational Development and Partnerships tells Food Tank.

Wise co-founded FIG after working in media and arts-based education. She aimed to build connections between the movement for self-determination and land protection in Palestine and the fight against the criminalization, displacement, and disenfranchisement of Black, Indigenous, and migrant communities in the United States.

Wise explains that her Jewish heritage helped her “understand food as a central tool for community building.” This, combined with her work with marginalized communities’ movements for sovereignty, influenced her decision to organize an anti-colonial, pro-sovereignty collective with a food systems lens.

“Food has been, both here in Turtle Island and in Palestine, a central tool of the colonizing system in suppressing, displacing, and destroying the bodies, communities, cultures, and lives of the original peoples,” Wise tells Food Tank. But according to Wise, food can also be “an incredible, powerful, beautiful tool of resistance.” Communities around the world are using it “despite and in opposition to corporate capitalism, extractive agriculture, and extremely brutal colonial systems,” she says.

To cultivate food sovereignty in communities in New York, FIG organizes through a collaborative, partnership-based model. Its Food Security Program exemplifies the collective’s dedication to co-creating ideas and partnering with the people facing food insecurity and those working in food production and distribution.

Read the full article about food sovereignty at Food Tank.