WhyHunger is pleased to be partnering with Andrianna Natsoulas, longtime food sovereignty activist and author of the book Food Voices: Stories From the People Who Feed Us. In 2010, Andrianna began a journey across the Americas to capture the stories of people working towards and living a just and sustainable food system. WhyHunger is featuring highlights of these stories, gathered from 70 interviews on a journey that spanned from Nova Scotia to Ecuador to Brazil and beyond, on our Community Voices website.

farmworkers in the border region

Since 1977, Carlos Marentes has organized work stoppages in the border region between the United States and Mexico to gain basic rights, higher pay and better conditions for farm workers. Carlos is also organizing to fight the consolidation of agriculture. He is a member of Sin Fronteras, Rural Coalition and is the North American delegate of Via Campesina.

Too often, when you think of the U.S.-Mexico border, images of midnight dashes across the desert and poor border towns teeming with drug cartel operatives, prostitutes and signs for cheap medicines come to mind. What many do not know is that thousands of people cross the border regularly to work on farms on the U.S. side of the border.

Carlos Marentes has been fighting for the rights of farmworkers for over three decades. He is a thoughtful, insightful leader.

The salaries in the border region are very low. The average annual income for a chile picker is less than $6,000 a year, which is far below the U.S. federal poverty income guidelines. This has been going on for decades.

Carlos says, “For many years, our enemies were the farmers and producers. We were on one side, demanding the rights of workers, better wages, improvements of working conditions. On the other side were the farmers protecting their fields and crops. We organized many labor stoppages for better pay. Often we won, increases of 5 cents here, 10 cents there. Little by little, we were improving the wages.”

farmworkers in the border region

In 1992, Carlos was in a field, mapping out another work stoppage. It was the first time he saw people testing the chiles, seeing if they were ready to harvest. When the farm owner arrived to discuss the state of the crop with the testers, Carlos asked him what was happening. Carlos explains, “At the beginning of the year the farmer signed a contract with the company to set the price, what to grow, when and how. The contract clearly specified the quality of the product and told the farmer what kind of seeds to use, the fertilizers and the chemicals. Everything was imposed upon the farmer.”

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Anti-Oppression

Image from Global Exchange’s Anti-Oppression Reader

WhyHunger is an organization committed to growing into anti-oppression practices as we work towards social justice and equity for all people. Like many individuals and organizations doing this type of work, we are continually learning, questioning and re-committing ourselves to living that practice. But what does “anti-oppression” actually mean and how can institutions develop anti-oppression lenses to their work? The following are thought-provoking and educational resources our staff uses to explore oppression within ourselves and the system as a whole so as to be better allies and learning partners to those we serve and collaborate with.

WHITE PRIVILEGE: UNPACKING THE INVISIBLE KNAPSACK
Peggy McIntosh’s article White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack is used widely by activists, social workers and educators to discuss white privilege, institutional racism, oppression and accountability. This provocative document breaks down some of the unacknowledged societal benefits and unearned privileges granted to white people. Looking at her own circumstance as a white woman, McIntosh describes how this privilege appears in her everyday life from things like finding bandages matching her own skin color to going shopping without being harassed or followed. McIntosh emphasizes the importance of recognizing the privileges and power each of us have or do not have based on our identities as the crucial first step to achieving equity, noting that “Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable.” She leaves the readers to answer the question of how that “arbitrarily-awarded power” will be used to reconstruct the larger power system and achieve justice.

GLOBAL EXCHANGE ANTI-OPPRESSION READER
Global Exchange’s Anti-Oppression Committee (AOC) created an extensive document full of articles, tools, stories, essays and poems designed to help the reader explore the concepts surrounding anti-oppression practices and learn how to develop and use an anti-oppression lens. Divided up into sections, the Anti-Oppression Reader contains short pieces on all types of prejudices from ableism to sexism, tools for change and personal stories that inspire. There is also an excellent glossary that clearly and simply defines different terms related to oppression and provides a great starting point for readers new to the framework.

BLACK GIRL DANGEROUS
Author Mia McKenzie’s website Black Girl Dangerous is a reader-funded, non-profit project to amplify the voices of queer and transgendered people of color. The blog offers articles, videos and resources about race, queerness, gender, class, social justice and their intersections. A new web series called “Qraftish,” offers short videos that follow a young woman as she contemplates relevant issues including everyday microaggressions and speaking out against racist and oppressive comments when the comment does not apply to oneself.

THE CATALYST PROJECT
The Catalyst Project is an organization working to build powerful multiracial movements that can win collective liberation. As part of that vision they help to organize, train and mentor white people to take collective action to end racism and work as allies to support efforts to build power in communities of color. The site provides toolkits, workshops, resources for analysis and strategy, and training opportunities for organizations. This can be a great place for non-profit organizations that are committed to anti-oppressive practices to find resources and inspiration.

This list is by no means exhaustive and we invite you to use the comments section below to add your thoughts and other resources that you find useful!

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WhyHunger is pleased to announce a new webinar on the Right to Food and how the human rights framework can inform emergency food in the US. We will discuss: how WhyHunger engages around the Right to Food, ensuring emergency food is provided with dignity, and the Right to Food framework and how it can inspire action. Speakers include Nadia Lambek, a public interest lawyer who served as an advisor to former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter; Stephanie Solomon, Director of Education and Outreach at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard in Bloomington, IN; Jessica Powers, Director of the Nourish Network for the Right to Food at WhyHunger; and Alison Cohen, Senior Director of Programs at WhyHunger. See below for more information and background on each speaker. The webinar will be held on March 17th at 2pm EST. Space is limited; please send an email to nourish@whyhunger.org to register.

Speaker Bios

right to foodNadia Lambek is a public interest lawyer. She served as an advisor to former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, assisting on all aspects of the mandate. In 2014, she worked with the Global Network for the Right to Food and the Civil Society Mechanism to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in conducting a critical retrospective on right to food implementation. For this project, she authored civil society’s contribution to the 41st session of the CFS, entitled 10 Years of the Right to Adequate Food Guidelines: Progress, Obstacles and the Way Ahead. She has also authored numerous publications on food systems. She received her JD from Yale Law School and her BA in development studies from Brown University. She currently practices union side labour, human rights and equality law in Toronto, while also working as a consultant on right to food issues.

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We aYouth Food Justicere gearing up for a dynamic new addition to our Food Justice Voices series, the Youth Food Justice Zine and need your help! The Youth Food Justice Zine, now accepting submissions, will lift up the voices of youth food justice activists and look at the different narratives about youth power that have impacted multiple generations in the U.S. We believe it’s important to have a platform where youth can discuss the issues that affect them, learn about the exploitations occurring in global food systems, be empowered, and have influence in changing policies. All submissions; drawings, lyrics, slam poetry, photos, collages, and other written and artistic pieces, are now being accepted and we want as many voices as possible to be included in this zine! Help spread the word and encourage the amazing youth you know who are doing food justice work to participate. Below are some guidelines. Deadline for submission is April 1, 2015 by 5pm EST.

General topics for submission:
Food Justice
Food Sovereignty
Food Systems
Environmental Justice
Food as medicine
Food Culture
Hunger
and more!

Detailed topics for submission:
Health and Nutrition
Affordable Healthy Food
Restaurant Worker Rights
Justice for Food Workers
Living Wages
Paid Sick Leave
Resisting GMOs
and more!

Send all submissions to:
Email:
zine@whyhunger.org

Mail:
WhyHunger
Zine Project C/O Beatriz Beckford
505 8th Avenue
Suite 2100
New York, NY 10018

Follow on social media:
Facebook-YouthFoodJusticeZine
Twitter- @YouthFJzine

For content specifications and more information please visit the Youth Food Justice Zine website.

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