Take Action

DIG DEEPER

Feeling inspired? Read on for a list of actions, resources, and organizations to get you started.

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1. TIME TO MAKE SALT: FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

TAKE ACTION:

• Help introduce the idea of food sovereignty to your local food group, community organization, or educational institution. Order copies of Grassroots International and National Family Farm Coalition’s booklet explaining food sovereignty (or download here) and use them to start conversations. Host a workshop about food sovereignty in your community, with the help of “Food for Thought and Action: A Food Sovereignty Curriculum” (download here).

• Learn about and get inspired by Via Campesina, the world’s largest coalition of small and medium-sized farmers, women, and landless people calling for food sovereignty the world over.

Watch their most recent video.

• Challenge yourself to find the language and strategies to make conversations about the workings of international financial institutions interesting and useful. Global Exchange’s Global Economy Resource Center and the International Forum on Globalization can help.

• Support food sovereignty in your own community by challenging corporate control and lobbying for policies that support local food systems. See the “Take Action” sections from Chapters 1 and 2.

• Join the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, which is bringing together groups from around the country to build a national movement for food sovereignty, and to connect national initiatives with the thriving international movement. Have your organization join.

• Get involved with international campaigns such as those to halt the expansion of the WTO, stop new trade agreements and renegotiate existing ones, end Fast Track, and cancel global debt:

 - Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

 - Our World is Not for Sale global campaign

 - Citizens Trade Campaign

 - Democracy Is for People campaign of Public Citizen

 - Jubilee USA

• Learn more about what you can do to stop the WTO from continuing its tremendous damage to agriculture. The “Derailer’s Guide to the WTO” by Focus on the Global South is a helpful resource. Use the Tools for Activists from The Bank Information Center, which has put together a comprehensive toolkit on both understanding and challenging the World Bank.

MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES:

Food First

Agricultural Missions

Grassroots International

Friends of the Earth International

Focus on the Global South

Otros Mundos

Via Campesina’s Food Sovereignty and Trade webpage

Latin American Coordination of Farmer Organizations (CLOC)

• “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil,” project   of Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions

“An Information and Advocacy Guide to the World Bank Group” by Bank Information Center

Alliance for Responsible Trade

Food Sovereignty video, subtitled in Spanish by Rutas de Solidaridad, Basque Radio Television

• Peter M. Rosset, Food Is Different (London: Zed Books, 2006).

• John E. Peck, “What is Food Sovereignty?” Family Farm Defenders

“WTO (World Trade Organization): Why is it Bad for You?” 

• “Food Sovereignty,” a short clip by the National Family Farm Coalition

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2. A LEVEL PLANTING FIELD: CHALLENGING CORPORATE RULE

TAKE ACTION:

Organize a local campaign to protect your community from corporate farming and other corporate takeovers of natural resources:

 - The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund helps people get started in challenging corporate takeover of their communities.

Corporate Accountability International’s webpage connects you with an abundance of ways to challenge corporate control of food.

- Countercorp’s “Food and Agriculture” section also offers several links to organizations that are challenging corporate control of food.

• Get involved with campaigns against agro-giants: check out the Organic Consumers campaign against Monsanto.

• Boycott corporate-owned seeds, especially those owned by the largest agro-corporations such as Monsanto (Seminis) and Syngenta.

• Look up blacklisted corporations and raise awareness about their practices. CorpWatch is a good resource. Check out their “Food and Agriculture” section.

• Find out what corporations are behind your favorite foods. The Cornucopia Institute tracks the corporations behind organic labels and provides facts about how organic they really are.

• Ask your Congressperson to oppose the harmful effects of large-scale factory farming, such as requesting that he or she support the Livestock Marketing Fairness Act. Food and Water Watch’s website can keep you updated

MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES:

Family Farm Defenders

Food and Water Watch

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

• Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, (New York: Penguin Press, 2006). For more resources listed on Michael Pollan’s website.

• Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System (London:Portobello Books Ltd., 2007).

• Vandana Shiva, Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (Cambridge: South End Press,2005).

• “The Future of Food,” directed by Deborah Koons Garcia, 2005.

• “Fresh,” directed by Ana Sofia Joanes, 2009.

• “The World According to Monsanto,” directed by Marie-Monique Robin, 2008.

• “Fed Up! Genetic Engineering, Industrial Agriculture and Sustainable Alternatives,” directed by Angelo Sacerdote, 2002.

• “Food, Inc.,” directed by Robert Kenner, 2008.

• “Percy Schmeiser – David versus Monsanto,” directed by Bertram Verhaag, 2009.

• “The Meatrix,” Grace and Free Range Studios, 2003.

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3. GOOD GROWING CONDITIONS: CHANGING GOVERNMENT POLICIES

TAKE ACTION:

Consider joining a food policy councilor starting one if there are none in your area. Groups across the U.S. are forming these city- and state-wide councils to create strong local-food policies.

Lobby your state to make laws friendlier to family farms. Check out the Georgia Organics Action and Advocacy website to see an example of effective advocacy.

Work to change national agricultural policy. Check out Food and Water Watch and the National Family Farm Coalition, and theircampaigns to make the U.S. Farm Bill and international trade agreements more fair and just.

Learn about initiatives and campaigns that are challenging structural racism in land distribution and agricultural policies. The Rural Coalition’s report, “A Seat at the Table” is a good resource.

Learn about the history of U.S. agricultural policies.Get started at the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy’s webpage.

MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES:

National Family Farm Coalition

Rural Coalition

Farm Policy

Food First blog

Women, Food & Agriculture Network

Community Food Security Coalition

US Food Policy.

Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

Oakland Institute.

Organic Consumers Association Fair World Project.

Domestic Fair Trade Association.

• “The Global Banquet: Politics of Food,” directed by Annie Macksoud and John Ankele, 1999.

• “King Corn,” directed by Aaron Woolf, 2007.

• “We Feed the World,” directed by Erwin Wagenhofer, 2005.

• “Dive!,” directed by Jeremy Seifert, 2010.

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4. BRINGING IT HOME: CREATING AND REVIVING LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS

TAKE ACTION:

Buy your food at a CSA (community-supported agriculture) farm or farmers’ market in your community. Local Harvest maps out sources for local food in the U.S. A CSF (community-supported fishery) is an option for seafood lovers. Local Catch provides a similar map of CSFs.

Save seeds from season to season or organize a seed swap.Get started by reading “How to Organize a Community Seed Swap”.

Buy heirloom and organic seeds. The Organic Seed Alliance has a list of organic seed companies.

Share a garden space with your neighbor or friends. Share your harvest with those you love (and those you haven’t met yet!).

Liberate land.Reclaim urban and rural spaces for food production (and ensure that this is done responsibly, without contributing to dispossession of the land or property of marginalized communities). Work with your local government to pass a community-gardening ordinance that protects land for gardens. Learn more about how to leverage existing policies and laws to liberate land with the help of Public Health Law and Policy’s “Seeding the City: Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture”.

Share food with your friends, neighbors, and other members of your community.Hosting collective meals is a great way to connect people across generations and cultural backgrounds. The town of Greenfield, MA, holds an annual free harvest supper and has put together a how-to guide.

Ask your grocery to stock more local and healthy items.

Join or start a buying club with other folks in your community. A buying club is a group of people who get together to buy healthy food in bulk (packaged foods, grains, dried foods, etc). You can find guides for joining or starting a club online.

Ask your local radio to host a program or run a public service announcement about local food.

MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES:

New Farm of the Rodale Institute

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

The Color of Food

National Young Farmers’ Coalition

Path to Freedom

Rooted in Community

Urban Lifeways Network

The Black/Land Project

Hawai’i Homegrown Food Network

First Nations Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative

Indigenous Seed Sovereignty Network

The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz

White Earth Land Recovery and the Native Harvest Online Catalog

• Sandor Ellix Katz, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved (White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2006).

• Amy Franceschini and Daniel Tucker, Farm Together Now: A Portrait of People, Places and Ideas for a New Food Movement (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2010).

• Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen, The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Port Townsend: Process Media, 2010).

• Anna Lappé and Bryant Terry, Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (New York: Penguin Books, 2006).

• “Dirt! The Movie,” directed by Bill Benenson, Gene Rosow, and Eleonore Dailly, 2009.

Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance

• “Local Food Economics,” directed by Georgia Organics, 2009.

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5. LAND OF PLENTY: MAKING GOOD FOOD ACCESSIBLE TO ALL

TAKE ACTION:

Organize for locally produced, healthy foods in your child’s school, your workplace or university, or your local hospital.Help administrators who manage food services to start programs that support local farmers and provide healthy food. Find supportive material at the National Farm to School Network and in “Building Local Food Programs on College Campus: Tips for Dining Administrators, Family Farmers & Student Advocates,” a guide by Community Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF).

Support nationwide policies and programs that make healthy, local food accessible and affordable for everyone.Visit the National Family Farm Coalition’s website and the Community Food Security Coalition’s page on federal policy to learn more about working for food-justice provisions in the Farm Bill.

• If you participate in a CSA or farmers’ market, work with your farmer to help start a sliding scale for farmshares, subsidized shares, or usage of food stamps and WIC benefits. For more ideas, visit the Just Food and Food Research and Action Center webpages.

• Find out if your local CSA, community garden, or farmers’ market has a way to donate extra food at the end of the day. If they don’t, help facilitate a way with local organizations and groups.

Check out Why Hunger’s webpage on race and the food system, which explains how race manifests within the food system, as well as training resources to help start conversations about race and to make your organization more accountable.

Sign up for the Growing Food and Justice listserv, which will update you on news and actions related to justice and accessibility in the food system.

MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES:

Growing Power

Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative

Fair Food Network

Just Food 

Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

Live Real

• “Youth and Food Justice: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement,” Food First, 2010.

• Paul Fleischman, Seedfolks (New York: Harper Collins, 1999).

• “Food Stamped,” directed by Shira and Yoav Potash, 2011.

• “The Garden,” directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy (2008).

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6. HONOR THE HANDS: FOODWORKER JUSTICE

TAKE ACTION:

Support food, farm, and restaurant workers organizing for better working conditions. Join boycotts and hold solidarity protests in your area – the organizations in this section all show you how.

Stand with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)and their current campaigns by organizing a protest, joining a caravan, or sending letters.

Support the Restaurant Opportunities Council (ROC) in their campaigns for higher minimum wage for tipped workers and for better working conditions. See their action alerts here.

Join efforts to bridge healthy and local-food movements with the farmworker rights movements. Just Harvest USA tells you how.

Help build economic justice and power for workers. Learn about and engage in campaigns and organizing efforts through these organizations:

 -  Jobs with Justice

 - US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

 - United Students Against Sweatshops

Support restaurants, industries, businesses, and corporations that treat their workers well.“If You Care, Eat Here” is a diner’s guide produced by Restaurant Opportunities Center which documents conditions in different restaurants in New York City. Create something like this for your own city by interviewing workers in the restaurants where you eat. Research how certain businesses, restaurants, and corporations treat their workers and choose your patronage accordingly.

Get to know the workers in your life. Offer respect and generous tips. Reaffirm the dignity of their work. Find out how the institutions you are a part of treat their workers, and if workers are organizing, ask how you can support their efforts.

MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES:

Campaign for Labor Rights

United Farm Workers

Farm Labor Organizing Committee

Food Chain Workers Alliance

Real Food Real Jobs Campaign of UNITE HERE

Fair Food: From Field to TableAgricultural Justice Project for “Food Justice Certified” label

Fair Trade Resource Network

National Immigrant Farming Initiative

Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association 

Fair Food: From Field to Table

• “The Color of Food,” Applied Research Center, 2011.

• “Green Jobs in a Sustainable Food System,” Green for All, 2011.

• Mary Bauer and Mónica Ramírez, “Injustice on Our Plates: Immigrant Women in the U.S. Food Industry,” Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010,.

• “Unity for Dignity: Expanding the Right to Organize to Win Human Rights at Work,” The Excluded Workers Congress, 2010.

• Rinku Sen and Fekkak Mamdouh, The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2008).

• John Bowe, Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the Global Economy (New York: Random House, 2007).

• Barry Estabrook, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit (Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011).

• “The Harvest,” directed by U. Roberto Romano, 2011.

• “Immokalee: A Story of Slavery and Freedom,” directed by Jeff Imig, 2004.

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7. INHERIT THE EARTH: LAND REFORM

TAKE ACTION:

Participate in a local or global campaign against land grabs.Corporations are buying up agricultural land around the world as profit-making investments. Learn more about land grabs at www.farmlandgrab.org or www.landaction.org. Be vigilant about the “developments” happening in your community.

• Get involved in supporting the Landless Rural Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) through the Friends of the MST.

Support the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform in collaboration with Grassroots International, Via Campesina, and the FoodFirst Information and Action Network.

Support local land trusts to preserve land for community use. Land trusts are non-profits that conserve land, often for recreation, permanently affordable housing, or agricultural use.

• Land reform takes on a new meaning in the U.S. as banks foreclose on family homes and farms. U.S. Human Rights Network’s Take Back the Land Campaign organizes in eight cities to house people displaced by the destruction of public housing, foreclosures, and other means of forced eviction. For more information, visit their website or contact housingrights@ushrnetwork.org.

Join the U.S. national call for a moratorium on all foreclosuresand home evictions. Join or start a local campaign to protest evictions in your community. Visit the National Fair Housing Alliance website to learn more.

MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES:

Land Research Action Network 

Via Campesina and the international alliance against land grabbing.

International Alliance of Inhabitants

Food Crisis and the Global Land Grab

GRAIN

Right to the City Alliance

Slow Food page on land grabbing

• Peter Rosset, “Tide Shifts on Agrarian Reform: New Movements Show the Way,” Third World Traveler

• Peter Rosset, Raj Patel, and Michael Courville, eds. Promised Land: Competing Visions of Agrarian Reform (Oakland: Food First Books, 2006).

• Sue Branford and Jan Rocha, Cutting the Wire: The Story of the Landless Movement in Brazil (London: Latin American Bureau, 2002).

• Max Rameau, Take Back the Land: Land, Gentrification and the Umoja Village Shantytown (Miami: Nia Press Progressive Publishing, 2008).

• Jaron Browne et al., Towards Land, Work & Power: Charting a Path of Resistance to U.S.-Led Imperialism (San Francisco: Unite to Fight Press, 2006).

• Angus Wright and Wendy Wolford, To Inherit the Earth: The Landless Movement and the Struggle for a New Brazil (Oakland: Food First Books, 2003).

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8. HOMELANDS: INDIGENOUS TERRITORIES AND SOVEREIGNTY

TAKE ACTION:

Join campaigns that fight for the sovereignty of indigenous peoples to protect and maintain their land and culture across the globe. Join the campaigns by:

 - Via Campesina

 - Global Exchange

 -  Survival International

 -  Amazon Watch

Support Native struggles in the U.S. The Indigenous Environmental Network has information about their work on mining, energy, and other environmental issues,

The Black Mesa Water Coalition is another inter-tribal group working to protect the rights of the earth and indigenous cultures, and promote leadership development and access to green jobs for youth. Find out how you can support their advocacy initiatives and campaigns.

Stand with the native people of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and many other countries whose sovereignty is threatened by U.S. political, military, and/or corporate occupations. Explore the websites of solidarity organizations, join relevant listservs and give financial support to people’s efforts to maintain or reestablish sovereignty over their land and communities.

 - Alliance for Global Justice’s U.S. Honduras Solidarity Network

 - Grassroots International (Middle East, Latin America, and Caribbean)

 -  Latin America Solidarity Coalition

 -  Rights Action (Mesoamerica)

 -  Nicaragua Network

 -  Venezuela Solidarity Network

 -  Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador

 -  Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala

 - Mexico Solidarity Network

 -  Witness for Peace (Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua)

 -  International Solidarity Movement (Palestine)

 -  Justice in Nigeria Now

• Hold film screenings in your community to educate people about the relationship between the products we use, multinational corporations, and the impacts on indigenous ways of life.

Brainstorm ways to collectively engage in these campaigns. Check out “Cultures of Resistance,” “Blue Gold: World Water Wars,” and “Thirst”.

MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES:

International Indian Treaty Council

Indigenous Environmental Network

Global Justice Ecology Project

• Juan Houghton and Beverly Bell, Indigenous Movements in Latin America, Center for Economic Justice, 2004.

• Vandana Shiva, Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge (Boston: South End Press,1997).

• Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), The Sixth Declaration of the Lacondon Jungle (2005).

• Jerry Mander and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, eds., Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Globalization (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2006).

• “The Economics of Happiness,” directed by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick, and John Page, 2011.