Fight climate change with food sovereignty

Published on Monday, 08 December 2014 15:02 by La Via Campesina

La Via Campesina and GRAIN release two new documents on food and climate change ahead of the People’s Summit on Climate Change in Lima, Peru. 

Publication4With this year’s UN Climate Change Conference under way in Lima, La Via Campesina and GRAIN announce the joint publication of two new documents that detail how a global programme to support food sovereignty can resolve the climate crisis and feed the world.

The documents show how the dispossession of peasants and indigenous peoples of their lands has laid the basis for destructive resource extraction and an industrial food system that is responsible for 44-57% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

La Via Campesina and GRAIN explain how a worldwide redistribution of lands to small farmers and indigenous communities – combined with policies to support local markets and ecological agriculture – can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by half within a few decades, significantly curb deforestation and meet the food needs of the world’s growing population.

For more information see:

Read La Via Campesina’s position paper, “Environmental and Climate Justice Now!

La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity.

GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems

Join OKT for session four of our Food Justice series this Saturday

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 4.07.07 AMFood Justice Wk. 4: Practicing Food Justice
10 a.m. to noon, Saturday Dec. 13
Garfield Park Lodge, 334 Burton SE

Join us for session four of our Food Justice series this Saturday as we center the discussion around how we can collectively practice food justice. In the first three sessions we examined the unsustainable and exploitative nature of the current food system, but now we want to focus on how to respond.
The temptation is this consumer culture is to look for an easy and quick fix to problems. Despite the mantra to just buy local, we cannot simply buy our way out of this mess. We will look at how people have practiced food justice in the past as well as examples of how people are practicing it now, from across the country and around the world. More importantly, we will discuss ways to practice food justice right here in West Michigan.
In preparation, we encourage people to read our Food Justice handout series http://oktjustice.org/resources/hand-outs-and-zines/okt-food-justice-series/, but will provide additional resources at the class. Feel free to bring food to share during the discussion!

Join OKT for week 3 of free Food Justice class

farm worker info graphicFood Politics and the Food Justice Movement: Moving Forward
Saturdays Dec. 6, 13 & 20
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Garfield Park Lodge
334 Burton St. SE
For week three of OKT’s Food Justice class, we will explore the exploitative nature of our current food system, both the exploitation of human labor and of animals. Workers in the food system are some of the most exploited in the country and most don’t even make minimum wage, since minimum wage laws don’t apply to most food workers. (See our food justice handout on food workers) In addition, we will be exploring the use and abuse of animals within the current food system.
Lastly, the OKT Food Justice class will begin discussion of how we can collectively practice food justice in West Michigan. We will look at some models from around the world and how OKT is trying to practice food justice right here in West Michigan.
The Food Justice class begins at 10am and is held at the Garfield Park Lodge, located at 334 Burton SE.

BCBS features OKT on its blog

Reposted from Blue Cross Blue Shield A Healthier Michigan

Our Kitchen Table Addresses Food Justice in West Michigan

OKTHelping neighbors take control of the food they eat is the central mission of Grand Rapids’ Our Kitchen Table (OKT).

“Everybody has a right to good, nutritious food,” said Lisa Oliver-King, OKT Executive Director.

The grassroots, non-profit organization works with neighborhoods on the southeast side of the city to improve access to healthy foods. OKT does this through a variety of methods, including at-home gardening instruction and supplies, cooking workshops, nutrition classes, and the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market.

Organizers are also deeply invested in getting the word out about food access as a social justice issue. They hope residents take advantage of a free, five-week class that starts this Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, titled Food Politics and the Food Justice Movement: Moving Forward.

According to OKT’s website, the class will investigate the current food system and food policy, look at food justice responses around the country, and discuss what a food justice and food sovereignty movement in West Michigan could look like.

“Our Kitchen Table isn’t just about growing your own food, but it’s about understanding the food system and your role in what that food system is,” Oliver-King said.

She explained that OKT works with people where they’re at. Not everyone wants to start their own container garden, although OKT is happy to help if they do. Even helping people understand food labels is a good start in enabling residents to take control of the food they’re putting in their bodies.

Once residents learn more about how to grow their own food or take a communal cooking or nutrition class, Oliver-King said they naturally want to learn more about the food systems in place in their communities. She said expanding knowledge about the inequalities in obtaining fresh, healthy food spurs many to then become interested in understanding public policy as it relates to food justice.

The organization must take into account a number of factors when they design curriculum neighbors will benefit from, but Oliver-King said residents often bring their own unique insights to classes as well.

“People know a lot more than what we’re willing to recognize and they share that with us,” she said.

The importance of addressing issues of food access can be seen in the many health challenges faced by children in the neighborhoods, including asthma and challenges with obesity and diabetes. Oliver-King said many times the food kids are eating is high-calorie, high-fat, and loaded with sugar.

Garden coaches work with residents on growing their own food, and show them how to incorporate those fresh ingredients into their cooking. The organization focuses on meatless meals, one-pot cooking, and raw foods, because these types of meals are often the most cost-effective to prepare. It’s also driven by utility and the fact that some residents who take advantage of the cooking programs might not be working with a fully functional kitchen. Some might be making a majority of their meals on a hot plate or even a coffeepot.

“It’s very important for us to understand that,” Oliver-King said.

If you want to learn more about food policy and food justice, as well as Our Kitchen Table, make sure to check out their free five-week class that starts this Saturday.

Photo credit: Megg

“Ferguson Decision Rally” 7 p.m. Tuesday at Rosa Parks Circle

Black Lives Matter-Grand Rapids is hosting a rally tonight in solidarity with Mike Brown and Ferguson, MO. “Come out to Rosa Parks Circle tonight at 7pm. Show the world that Grand Rapids, MI is standing in solidarity with Ferguson and ALL victims of police and state violence. Bring your signs, chants, artwork, anger, disgust, and disappointment. Let us all show up tonight and stand together. Thank You.”

For information visit the Facebook Event page

OKT co-sponsored chestnut tree planting at Alexander Park

alexanderOn Saturday Nov. 1, Our Kitchen Table’s urban forester, Laura Casaletto, joined a group of volunteers from Friends of Grand Rapids Parks in planting chestnut trees at Alexander Park. Laura shares, ” In a neglected and devalued street of Grand Rapids once thriving with it’s own grocery and large stately homes, Alexander Park took shape years ago when long term residents advocated to gain a public space cobbled together out of the abandoned properties. Now this peaceful play space has a mini orchard of fruit and nut trees. A dozen volunteers showed up to support the beginnings of a permaculture designed to benefit neighbors in years to come with little maintenance. Our Kitchen Table and Yesterdog worked together to feed the cold and hungry crew a good lunch afterwards and hear the latest news about edible chestnuts, urban foraging and sustainable living–and to make some new friends. Long live trees! Long live the feisty spirit of the Alexander residents!”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The last slide shows  the one-year-old  fruit trees planted at Martin Luther King Park. Last year, they took  a heavy toll of vandalism damage. This year, a beautiful dedication sign was installed and  made all the difference.