Compiled By Kamilah Weeks, PVGrows Contributor
Additional resources and information for the Race and the Food System Working Group listed below:
Mandela Marketplace is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through cooperative food enterprises in low income communities.
Mandela MarketPlace uses a community-driven economic framework to improve health, create wealth and build assets in low-income communities. The organization evolved since 2001, first as a project of the Environmental Justice Institute – Tides Center, until incorporating in 2005 as a stand-alone 501c3 organization. Mandela MarketPlace innovates the assessment, development, and application of a community food system economy that strengthens community health, integrity and identity through economic opportunity and empowerment for inner-city Oakland residents and businesses, and local family farms.
Guiding Principle: Food Justice
The term Food Justice emerges within grassroots communities working for social change through food systems. Participants within the Food Justice movement recognize and work to address structural inequalities inherent within the production, distribution, and consumption of industrial foods, specifically recognizing issues of race, class, privilege, and oppression that often go unmentioned even in conversations surrounding organic foods.
Some contexts in which communities are affected by food injustice include inner city residents who do not have access to affordable, nutritious food; farm laborers who are exposed to dangerous pesticides and chemical fertilizers; small farmers, especially small farmers of color, who are systematically disenfranchised from government subsidies; communities whose water and food is contaminated by industrial chemicals and hormones as a result of factory farming; cultures whose ancestral crops are now endangered and whose traditional ingredients are hard to find; and farmers throughout the Global South whose markets are flooded by overwhelming quantities of subsidized industrial crops, thereby driving down the price they can get for food grown for local consumption.
Race, Poverty and the Environment (RP&E) is Urban Habitat’s national journal of social and environmental justice, founded in 1990. The journal has a wide-reaching, extremely diverse readership that includes grassroots activists, students and academics, progressive policymakers, and philanthropists. Topics that RP&E has addressed this year include racial discrimination in the foreclosure crisis, arts and culture as an economic development strategy, and national campaigns led by low-wage workers that combine job-site organizing, government policy initiatives, and public education.
Among Race, Poverty and the Environment’s many issue areas is that of Food. The journal has published articles centered on Food Justice and Equity in the Bay Area, publishing articles with titles such as: Restaurants and Race, Wages and Race, Farmworkers—The Basis and Bottom of the Food Chain, and Urban Food Co-op Tackles Economic Empowerment.
Phat Beets Produce
Phat Beets Produce aims to create a healthier, more equitable food system in North Oakland through providing affordable access to fresh produce, facilitating youth leadership in health and nutrition education, and connecting small farmers to urban communities via the creation of farm stands, farmers’ markets, and urban youth market gardens.
Applied Research Center: Good Food and Good Jobs for All: Challenges and Opportunities to Advance Racial and Economic Equity in the Food System
The Color of Food report, which ARC released in 2011, also found that the ownership of capital in the food chain is primarily white and male. Whites also dominate high-wage jobs in the food system. Occupations such as chief executives and restaurant managers enjoy higher wages than the rank and file. The median income for management was $40,544, more than double
the $20,608 median income of the rank and file. Almost half of all white men who worked in the food chain were employed as managers. A quarter of all white women performed managerial roles. Across the entire food system, three out of every four managers were white.
Workers of color populated rank-and-file positions at a higher rate than management positions. 44% of rank-and-file workers were people of color, while only 26% of managers and only 15% of managers were people of color. When gender is considered, the disparities are even more striking. Latina women make up less than 5% of all managers in the food chain, while Asians and Blacks are 3% or less.
ARC excluded farmers and ranchers from our analysis. However, the USDA has historically discriminated against subsidizing land ownership and loans for farmers of color. The U.S. government spends billions each year subsidizing farm operations. Yet Black
farmers receive only one-third to one-sixth of the benefits that other farmers receive, according to the National Black Farmers Association. In 2010, the federal government agreed to settle claims with Black and indigenous farmers, paying out almost $5 billion to settle longstanding claims of discrimination.
The Color of Food
People of color typically make less than whites working in the food chain. Half of white food workers earn $25,024 a year, while workers of color make $5,675 less than that. This wage gap plays out in all four sectors of the food system, with largest income divides occurring in the food processing and distribution sectors. Women working in the food chain draw further penalties in wages, especially women of color. For every dollar a white male worker earns, women of color earn almost half of that.
Few people of color hold management positions in the food system. Whites dominate high-wage professional and management occupations; three out of every four managers in the food system are white. Almost half of white men working in the food chain were employed as managers, while less than 10 percent of workers of color held comparable positions.
People of color are concentrated in low-wage jobs in the food chain. According to the 2008 Census, people of color make up 34.6 percent of the population (that percentage is expected to rise as 2010 Census data becomes available). But workers of color are represented at a level almost one and a half times that in sectors of the food chain. For instance, 50 percent of food production workers are people of color. This includes farm workers, 65 percent of whom are Latino.
This 116-page study presents general observations, key lessons, and recommendations on a range of multiracial models and experiences from a hard-fought enviromental alliance between whites and Native Americans, to racial profiling in Northern California, to the interplay between different constituencies of color in campaign coalitions, to the challenges and achievements of the Rainbow Coalition.
Cultivating Food Justice
Popularized by such best-selling authors as Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Eric Schlosser, a growing food movement urges us to support sustainable agriculture by eating fresh food produced on local family farms. But many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have been systematically deprived of access to healthy and sustainable food. These communities have been actively prevented from producing their own food and often live in “food deserts” where fast food is more common than fresh food. Cultivating Food Justice describes their efforts to envision and create environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives to the food system.
Bringing together insights from studies of environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, critical race theory, and food studies, Cultivating Food Justice highlights the ways race and class inequalities permeate the food system, from production to distribution to consumption. The studies offered in the book explore a range of important issues, including agricultural and land use policies that systematically disadvantage Native American, African American, Latino/a, and Asian American farmers and farmworkers; access problems in both urban and rural areas; efforts to create sustainable local food systems in low-income communities of color; and future directions for the food justice movement. These diverse accounts of the relationships among food, environmentalism, justice, race, and identity will help guide efforts to achieve a just and sustainable agriculture.
Anti-Racist Work: An Examination and Assessment of Organizational Activity Gary Delgado and the Applied Research Center (1992)
People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (Director Ron Chisom)
▪Mission: “…build a multi-cultural, anti-racist movement for social change.” The People’s Institute training model provides a common language, set of definitions and analytical framework to talk about and work against institutional and systemic racism in the U.S. The People’s Institute has developed an analysis that grounds community organizing and social justice efforts in cultural contexts and a focus on structural racism.
▪Initially focused on black-white dynamics of racism—have since expanded to include many other people of color
Analytical framework focuses on the dynamics between whites and people of color, rather than dynamics among people of color
▪Offers trainings to: Community organizations, social service agencies, tenant welfare rights organizations, environmental groups, health groups, city planners, schools, parent groups, youth groups, women’s groups, organizers, activists and leaders, as well as institutional service workers
Rarely works with all-white groups or with corporations
▪Racism: most critical barrier to effective community organizing for social change.
▪Recognizes that community organizing and undoing racism are inseparable: Community organizing efforts must be rooted in a common, critical analysis of structural racism in the U.S.
▪Equitable communities and institutions can only be established and sustained by ethically sound organizers working together with intelligence, integrity and vision
National Coalition Building Institute (Director Cherie Brown)
▪Mission: “…end the mistreatment of every group whether it stems from nationality, race, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, job, or life circumstance.”
Works to reduce individual level prejudices, foster interpersonal and inter-group alliances, & build skills to empower leaders, and addressing controversial public issues
▪Training and consultation community organizations and leaders, women’s organizations, educators and students, law enforcement groups, unions, disabled people’s organizations, and corporations
▪Psychological understanding of the causes of prejudice and oppression–focuses on psychological wounding, learned stereotypes, internalized oppression, habituated patterns of thought and behavior, and group polarization
▪Identify stereotypes (?) about their own and others’ groups, tell stories of personal experiences both of being a victim and of oppressing others, express pride in their own group, learn skills that empower people and give them options to habituated patterns, and build alliances between individuals and groups.
▪Leadership development and coalition building are the primary methods by which the NCBI model hopes to impact institutional changes
▪Teaching practical skills for resolving conflict and interrupting interpersonal manifestations of prejudice such as racial jokes, slurs and comments
VISIONS—Vigorous InterventionS into Ongoing Natural Settings (Director Valerie Batts)
▪Mission: “…pass on the respect for group and individual differences and faith in the potential of equitable institutions that they had learned in this small southern town.”
Provides an analysis that integrates personal, interpersonal, institutional and cultural expressions of modern racism and a practical focus on participants’ personal understandings and experiences of diversity and racism.
▪Techniques from Transactional Analysis, Gestalt psychology, system theory, worldview analysis, and other change models
▪Analysis of individuals in their environments, a focus on here-and-now awareness and an emphasis on understanding “how” rather than “why” oppression occurs
▪ Provides trainings of varying and focus areas to mental health providers, social service providers, affirmative action officers, educators, managers, health care providers, political leaders, religious leaders and blue-collar workers
Specializes in trainings for people of color and women
▪Does not recognize a hierarchy among different forms of oppression though race relations and racism is an important part of the org’s work
▪Monoculturalism, unacknowledged historical legacies of inequity and learned patterns of oppression as the primary causes of modern racism.
▪Unacknowledged, historic power imbalances and traditions of oppression and privilege are other sources of racism
A World of Difference Institute—Anti-Defamation League (Director Lindsay Friedman)
▪Mission: “…to combat prejudice, promote democratic ideals and strengthen pluralism.”
Offers trainings and materials to raise awareness about the destructive effects of bias and discrimination, and provide strategies and resources for working with diversity in U.S. communities, schools and workplaces.
▪The community-based section of the program works with a variety of groups including: social service workers, volunteers and staff of community organizations, civic leaders and law enforcement professionals
▪Focuses on social psychological and cultural factors that foster prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviors in individuals, and cause racial and ethnic tensions between groups.
▪Members of the dominant culture are often not interested in or sensitive to cultural differences and tend to ignore or exclude those who do not act, think, or look like they do
▪Mention inequities between groups and the uniqueness of different forms of bigotry but do not suggest that one form of oppression is more important than another
▪Encourages participants to form collaborative alliances across racial, ethnic and cultural lines to promote community change.
▪custom designed based on the needs of participants and supplemented with “ innovative and well-developed training materials.”
Crossroads Ministry (Co-Executive Directors: Robette Dias and Chuck Ruehle)
▪Mission: “…to dismantle racism and build anti-racist multicultural
diversity within institutions…through developing institutional transformation teams.”
▪Focuses on training anti-racism teams within institutions who can lead long-term, structural and programmatic transformation
Over the course of a year, institutional teams learn an analytical framework to talk about and work against racism, and develop an internal capacity and strategy for ongoing structural change
▪Anti-racism work is about restoration: racism serves to divide the family of children that God created. Those doing anti-racism work are called upon to recognize and reunite the collective family
Crossroads invites participants to embark on a spiritual journey to dismantle structural racism within their personal lives, institutions and communities
▪Provides three-phase team training process that takes place over the course of a year that develops the capacity for long-term institutional change, and offers a Leadership Training Institute to provide advanced training and training-of-trainers.
▪Focus on racism rather than other forms of oppression & looks at binary dynamics between whites and people of color, rather than varied relations between people of color
▪Asks institutions to make a one-year commitment to a training that prepares them for long term organizing work
▪Explicitly focuses on the moral imperative of anti-racism work in institutions
▪Third phase of racism: twenty years of civil rights, Native American and farm workers’ social change movements
▪Assert that programs that focus on improving relationships between personnel but affect no structural or cultural change in an institution reinforces existing racist norms and structures
“result in making white-controlled institutions more colorful”
Develop commitment to long-term, systemic transformation in institutions that is led internally and connected externally to the community
Phase 1: Form task force that creates anti-racism project description (statement of purpose, timeline, budget)
Phase 2: Develop plan for recruitment and selection of anti-racism team
Phase 3: Gaining commitment from institution’s leadership to conduct the anti-racism work (including accountability and evaluation plan)
Phase 4: Securing funding for team training process
Phase 5: Selecting anti-racism team for the institution
Crossroads’ model holds that dismantling racism requires institutions that negatively impact communities of color and perpetuate poverty to become accountable to the communities they serve
“Because institutional systems are particularly resistant to change, anti-racist transformation must be led by teams inside the institution
Commitment to building a multicultural, anti-racist social movement within institutions across the US
Study Circles Resource Center (Dialogue Guides and discussion materials available free and online)
Intervention principle: Improving race relations and fighting racism requires bringing people together to explore diverse perspectives on racial issues, identifying common ground, building cooperative relationships and developing individual and joint action steps for making community change
Mission: “…dedicated to advancing deliberative democracy and improvising the quality of life in the U.S.”
Provide training and consulting to national and local organizations
Small-group discussions of important public issues as a means for community members and leaders to get the “opportunity to get to know each other, consider different points of view, explore disagreements, and discover common ground”
The program’s guides support the development of peer facilitators rather than professional or expert facilitators
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