“And my husband is six feet under, and I’m looking for a way to feed my kids now.”
– Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner

Tangled Roots and Bitter Fruit: What Ferguson can teach the food movement,” by Eric Holt-Giménez, the Executive Director of Food First, a partner of WhyHunger, touches on the perpetuation of racism in our society at large and within the food movement. Holt-Giménez makes the argument that the two go hand-in-hand: “We can’t have a just judicial system, or an impartial law enforcement system, or build a sustainable food system on the foundation of an oppressive social and economic system.”

what ferguson can teach the food movement

It is important to educate ourselves about police brutality in our own communities, and to engage in conversation with our colleagues, neighbors and families about how to dismantle the systems that sustain it. While the connection between food justice and racism is not often readily made, it is incumbent upon us as anti-hunger movement builders to learn about the structural oppression inherent in our food system. As Holt-Giménez argues, we cannot shy away from the painful but critical truth that if we do not dismantle oppression, we will we never dismantle hunger.

WhyHunger also recommends reading and studying the Center for Social Inclusion’s Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System, a publication that puts a racial lens on our food system, “to diagnose what is wrong with our current system, assess entry points for change, and determine ways that we can work together to build a better [food] system for all of us.”

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The holidays are a time for giving and giving back! At WhyHunger, we are always on the lookout for gifts with meaning and wanted to share some of our staff’s favorite finds this season.

holiday gift guide1. Support the rights of farmworkers and go behind scenes of today’s agricultural system with “Food Chains,” a new documentary about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Starring executive producers Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser, “Food Chains” explores the abuses and poverty in the U.S. agricultural system and a revolutionary approach to ending these abuses – CIW’s Fair Food Program. Directed by Sanjay Rawal and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker, you can buy “Food Chains” on iTunes for $12.99.

holiday gift guide2. Give a handmade gift that is sure to please. From scented candles to lovely gift boxes, shop the Homeless Garden Project’s online store! Gift sets feature products handmade by the students in their Transitional Employment Training Program from ingredients grown in their California Certified Organic Farm. The hand-packed Lavender gift box contains a sachet, bath salts, lip balm, perfume and a hand poured candle and can be purchased for $40.00

holiday gift guide

3. Purchase a bottle of Kenwood Vineyards wine and make a difference in the fight against hunger. For every bottle purchased through the end of December, Kenwood Vineyards will donate $1 to WhyHunger. Find the perfect bottle and toast the holidays from bottles starting at $6.99 to gift sets and more. Shop online today.

holiday gift guide

4. For the cheese lover in your life, you can purchase Family Farm Defenders specialty and organic cheese hand-crafted and free of artificial growth hormones, animal enzymes and GMOs. More than just delicious, this fair trade cheese comes direct from a co-op of more than 30 family farmers in the Midwest who are committed to sustainable, environmentally- friendly cheese-making. Help keep family farmers on their land and order Mild Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack and more for $6 per pound.

holiday gift guide

5. Support women in the global south by purchasing a handmade, fair trade product from one of 40 community-based partners through Global Goods Partners. By creating economic opportunities for women through technical assistance, product development, operational expertise and small capacity-building grants to community-based partners, Global Goods Partners brings these beautiful handcrafts to you and ensures that the artisans making their products are paid fair living wages. Help combat global poverty and promote social justice with your purchase. Buy this set of 4 bracelets handcrafted by women in Guatemala using wax threads and glass and metal beads for $30. Or check out their complete line of gifts.

6. For the book lover in your life, we recommend these great reads:

holiday gift guideThe Stop by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis argues that we need a new politics of food, one in which everyone has a dignified, healthy place at the table. By turns funny, sad and raw, “The Stop” is a timely story about overcoming obstacles, challenging sacred cows and creating lasting change. Buy online for $19.76.

Food Voices: Stories From the People Who Feed Us by Andrianna Natsoulas details a journey across the Americas to capture the stories of people working towards a just and sustainable food system. Gathered from 70 interviews from Nova Scotia to Ecuador to Brazil and beyond, “Food Voices” give you a glimpse into the global food sovereignty movement. You can purchase the book online for $30.

Food Chain Avengers, a comic book published by the Food Chain Workers Alliance, illustrates the issues facing workers across the food chain, as well as their efforts to organize to improve their workplaces, their communities, and the food system. It is paired with discussion guides for middle and high school students that can be downloaded free. The book can be ordered online in either English or Spanish for $3.50.

holiday gift guide7. For the music lover in your life:

Visit Hungerthon.org to check out meaningful music-inspired gifts, including a limited-edition Bruce Springsteen Born to Run tee, John Lennon long sleeve Hungerthon tee, “Imagine” scarf and more. All proceeds go directly to support WhyHunger’s mission to build the movement to end hunger and poverty across the country and worldwide. You can get the John Lennon long sleeve tee here for $60.

Visit a Hard Rock or their online store to purchase limited edition Imagine There’s No Hunger earbuds in support of WhyHunger and 50 percent of the gross profit will help fight childhood hunger. Buy online for $10.

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international human rights day

By Alison Cohen, WhyHunger’s Senior Director of Programs.

“Their courage [those whose rights were most egregiously violated] came not from faith in UN documents but from something experienced deep within themselves: the rights and dignity inherent in their very being and in the being of all. This is the real source of the power of human rights.”

Larry Cox, co-director of Kairos: the Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice, writes eloquently and passionately about the state of the work to procure human rights in every community around the world.  His analysis that it is those on the frontlines and at the grassroots that should be leading the struggle, flanked on all sides by strong accompaniment and allyship, resonates with WhyHunger and many of our grassroots partners who are not only pressing for governments to codify what is just and right, but also implementing solutions in their own communities to guarantee the right to nutritious food.

WhyHunger is proud to partner with Kairos and the Poverty Initiative in the struggle for human rights, especially the right to food. Read on to learn more.

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By Saulo Araújo, WhyHunger’s Global Movements Program Director

climate justice

Last September, 400,000 people took to the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March. Photo credit: Beatriz Beckford.

In her most recent article at the Huffington Post, Salena Tramel, scholar and a powerful writer, put it clearly: “The protracted debate over the severity of climate change is over, as clearly indicated by the UN’s emergency meetings and the IPCC’s landmark climate report. What remains to be seen is who will be in charge of righting this wrong.”

This week, United Nations members meet in Lima, Peru at the 20th Conference of Parties on Climate. While the gathering is important, it can be difficult to have much faith in these negotiations, because of the lack of transparency and accountability on which they are based. Dominated by the same mindset (of free trade agreements and industrial agriculture’s misleading mission “to feed the world”) that brought us in to this environmental crisis, it seems almost  naïve to hope these talks will establish mechanisms to demand real accountability .

Communities and social movements represented in the recent mega-protest for action on climate change, the People’s Climate March that brought nearly 400,000 people to the streets of New York City last September with participating events worldwide, should be at the table leading these negotiations. But it will not happen in Lima, neither in Paris during the 21st Conference of Parties on Climate Change next year. The only way out of the climate crisis is through a broader alliance between social movements led by peasants and indigenous people.  Without the knowledge and solidarity of those who are left out of the negotiations table, the stewards of Mother Earth, we will not find the right strategies to save our planet and ensure everyone has the right to nutritious food.

Read more about the People’s Climate March in the Huffington Post and stay to to date with what is happening in the streets of Lima, Peru with #COP20.

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