Food justice is a big issue in the United States. We like to think of our country as being so just, so developed, so civilized, but the truth is there’s a ton of injustice in the US, including food injustice.
13 young leaders concerned about this and wanting to make a difference are about to set out on an 8-state, 2000-mile ride to expose this and try to bring a little more justice to our country.
“Tipping their hats to the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights Movement, a group of inspired young leaders who call themselves the Food & Freedom Riders will carry forward the struggle for justice,” Slow Food USA reports. “Their task is to uncover the stories of farmers, workers, and communities who are working to change the food system that denies them justice. Their goal is to weave together a movement of people from diverse backgrounds—to learn from the past and find the food movement’s own place in history.”
Live Real is the organization behind the campaign. It has raised well over its (sort of small) target of $1,000 on Kickstarter. It has now increased its goal, though, so that it can buy as much of its film equipment as possible (instead of just renting it) and continue documenting such issues and solutions in creative ways.
Inspiration from the Freedom Rides of the 1960s
As mentioned above, Live Real is getting some of its inspiration from and paying tribute to the Freedom Rides of the 1960s. On the Kickstarter page, it writes:
In 1961, twenty-four young Blacks and Whites put their lives on the line for what they knew was right. They rode together on buses through the segregated South and exposed racial injustice in a way that rocked the nation.
This summer’s two Rides will bring together youth and adult allies from diverse backgrounds to investigate how people on the frontlines of the food system are surviving in its dark side, and thriving in the light of their own alternatives.
Food Justice (or Injustice) in the US
Want a little more info on food injustice in the US? Here’s some information for you as well as more on the Food & Freedom Riders’ goals:
Right now, over 50 million Americans face food hardship, and today’s youth are the first generation with a shorter life expectancy than their parents—because of the food they eat. We want to show that real food is a real solution—for economic revitalization, personal and public health, and the environment.
The Rides are timely for another reason: the 2012 renewal of the omnibus $300 billion Food and Farm Bill. Crucially, this legislation:
- Covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a.k.a. the Food Stamps program, which is a a key piece in creating access to better food for low-income communities
- Provides large agricultural subsidies for a handful of commodity crops that are produced by unsustainable and large-scale agri-business
- Awards a limited amount of grants to community food projects, sustainable agriculture, and farm-to-school programs
Influencing change in the Food and Farm Bill to support real food and real people will be a worthwhile harvest for the food movement and the Riders are out to plant the seeds of that change.
The first ride — Birmingham, Alabama to Detroit, Michigan (in a snake-like pattern) — is planned for August 7-18.
The second ride — through California’s “salad bowl” — is scheduled for August 26-September 2.
Follow the riders
- on Twitter @liverealnoworg
- on Facebook
- or on their daily blog (send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for that — looks like the blog is about to be re-launched).
(I just started following them all 3 places.)
Great-looking campaign! Hope they can help educate, inspire, and mobilize a ton of people on their rides and afterwards.