Introducing “Harvesting Justice”

“Over a half-century ago, Mahatma Gandhi led a multitude of Indians to the sea to make salt in defiance of the British Empire’s monopoly on this resource critical to people’s diet. The action catalyzed the fragmented movement for Indian independence and was the beginning of the end for Britain’s rule over India. The act of ‘making salt’ has since been repeated many times in many forms by people’s movements seeking liberation, justice and sovereignty: César Chávez, Nelson Mandela, and the Zapatistas are just a few of the most prominent examples. Our food movement – one that spans the globe – seeks food sovereignty from the monopolies that dominate our food systems, with the complicity of our governments. We are powerful, creative, committed and diverse. It is our time to make salt.”

So began a statement from the People’s Movement Assembly on Food Sovereignty from the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit in 2010, which launched a national movement. So, too, begins a weekly blog series adapted from Other Worlds’ hot-off-the-press, 140-page book: Harvesting Justice: Transforming Food, Land, and Agriculture Systems in the Americas. The book is the result of five years of interviews and on-site research from throughout the hemisphere, describing strategies to win food justice and food sovereignty. It draws from more than 100 cutting-edge successes, grassroots alternatives, and inspiring models.

Harvesting Justice was created to share stories of some of the countless changes propelled by communities and movements in the Americas, to inspire hope that we are not condemned to live within the industrial food system as-is, and to offer tools for organizing and education. From community gardens to just global policy, a national and global movement is growing to reclaim food, land, and agricultural systems from agribusiness and put them back in the hands of people. A common thread links innovations and successes happening simultaneously around the globe: a vision of a society that values life and the earth over profit. In the U.S., the parts of the movement have often worked in isolation from each other, but in fact they are all pieces of an inseparable whole. They address the well-being of the land, the right to food for all, an end to corporate control of agriculture, and everything in between.

To supplement Harvesting Justice with some reflection and action, check out Sowing Seeds for Learning and Action, the popular education curriculum accompanying the book. The curriculum includes more than a hundred games, discussion guides, and action items. It’s ideal for sparking discussion on everything from workers’ rights to community gardens to racism in the food system – and how they all fit together. The Harvesting Justice website’s Resources & Action section also offers hundreds of ideas for organizations, campaigns, and action steps to get involved.

Harvesting Justice was created for the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, which works to “end poverty, rebuild local food economies, and assert democratic control over the food system.”

Read more from Other Worlds here, and follow Other Worlds on Facebook and Twitter.