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Harvesting Justice: Transforming the Global Food Supply Chain

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Organic Transitions page, Fair Trade and Social Justice page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

"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: Cesar Chavez, 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. An appendix offers hundreds of ways to get involved.

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 citizens. 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. Together, they address:

  • •The ability of all to eat adequate and healthy food; 
  • •The well-being of the land, air, and waters; 
  • •The fair wages, rights, and health of those who plant, harvest, produce and prepare our food; 
  • •The need to restore and protect small farms and local food systems; 
  • •The ability of Native and traditional peoples to control their own land, grow their own food, and preserve their own cultures; 
  • •The need to privilege the rights and needs of women, as the world's primary food producers and providers; 
  • •The right of every nation to control its own food and agriculture;
  • •and  An end to corporate control of food and agriculture, including an end to trade rules and international agreements that put profit first.
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