“For too long these justice issues have been all too invisible for too many people. Yet when we look closely at them it’s easy to see that no discussion of food and agriculture can be complete without prior consideration of these important topics.” So said Al Gore during this panel discussion on the systemic processes that have created and continue to promote food injustice.
In the United States, issues of food security and land sovereignty represent big challenges for Black and Hispanic farmers facing economic and social barriers. This structural and institutional racism is rooted in a system many are beginning to call food apartheid. This is fueled by a food system based on extractivism of land and labor to deliver cheap food.
AGRICULTURE AS A LEVERAGE POINT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
The conversation began with the need to look at agriculture as the base for a structural change toward justice. Jim Embry , Slow Food activist and founder of Sustainable Communities Network, brought attention to the founding of the United States. “We recognize that it was the pursuit of agriculture that led to the seizure of land from indigenous people and the enslavement of Africans, a quest that planted the seeds of injustice. Our failures to resolve these foundational contradictions are the basis of injustices today. Resolving these long-standing contradictions within agriculture can provide the fertile soil for seeds of righteous justice in every institution.”