Giving Compass' Take:
- Amy Martin shares seven action areas encompassed by the food justice movement, which seeks to provide healthful, sustainable, and equitable access to food around the world.
- Why is justice an important concept to address when tackling food access and nutrition issues? What should you consider when evaluating whether a food-related organization promotes justice?
- Read about food insecurity.
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Today, more than 820 million people are hungry, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and food insecurity remains on the rise. Meanwhile, the climate crisis threatens food supply, biodiversity, and human health.
Food justice comes in many forms—protecting human rights and restoring the environment, as well as creating jobs and expanding access to healthy, culturally appropriate food. Food Tank is highlighting seven examples below.
1. Fighting for land access: With land comes access to food, shelter, and wealth. Fighting for land justice includes returning stolen and misappropriated land to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Fighting for land access might also look like advocating for agrarian reform—or the redistribution of land—and defending legal land rights.
2. Saving and sharing seeds: As crop diversity continues to decline, seed-saving serves as a way to preserve biodiversity and safeguard the cultural heritage surrounding Indigenous species. Diverse plant ecosystems can also help sequester carbon in soils, prevent erosion, protect waterways, and provide fresh food for local communities.
3. Adopting agroecological farming techniques: Agroecology is the science of keeping plants, animals, humans, and the environment in balance. Agroecological farming aims to sustain food production and address food insecurity while also restoring ecosystems. Examples of agroecology include avoiding monocultures, adopting no-till practices, composting, and eliminating the use of artificial pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides.
4. Expanding food access: Everyone has a right to fresh, nutritious, affordable, and culturally appropriate food. Fighting for food access includes donating to local food pantries and anti-hunger organizations, as well as investing in grocery stores, farmers markets, and gardens in regions with limited access to healthy food. It also means advocating for policies that offer food purchasing assistance and free school lunches.
5. Defending workers’ rights: Advocating for labor justice might look like demanding transparency from food companies and purchasing ethically-sourced and Fair Trade Certified™ foods. It also means championing legislation that protects the health, safety, and dignity of all workers—including undocumented laborers, who make up nearly half of all U.S. farm workers.
6. Ensuring equal opportunity: Fighting for equal employment means ensuring all workers have an opportunity to succeed, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status. That involves enacting anti-discrimination policies, fostering inclusive environments, and recognizing that—in many communities—agriculture, food, and food service industries are often segregated by race and gender.
7. Championing food education: Community classes play an important role in encouraging children and adults to make informed, budget-friendly choices. Programs like those offered by the Food Literacy Center in Sacramento, California, can teach students about the impact their diets have on their health, the environment, and the economy.
Read the full article about food justice by Amy Martin at Food Tank.