How does the food movement intersect with global poverty? This was one of many issues on the table at “Growing Food Justice,” an energizing event sponsored by the AJWS-AVODAH Partnership and co-sponsored by Hazon that I attended on Wednesday evening. The event brought together three activists who are fighting hunger in New York City in very different ways—promoting free school lunch programs, universal in-school breakfasts, urban farming in low-income communities of color, and advocating for agriculture education in schools. Over at the Jew and the Carrot, Mia-Rut has a great post about the event and the panelists.
Though the panelists had their differences and implicitly highlighted the healthy tensions between global justice and local action, they all agreed that we need a combination of policy change and grassroots organizing to ensure that good, healthy food is a universal right, not a privilege. Lambi Fund of Haiti, a long-time AJWS grantee has done a tremendous job of ensuring that policy change comes from the ground up. Lambi Fund is donating high-quality seeds to help two Haitian women’s organizations build seed banks for their farming communities while also conducting trainings for rural Haitian communities on how to change discriminatory government policies and ensure that food aid for Haiti supports local farmers.
With Shavuot right around the corner, there’s no better time for us to ponder the interconnectedness of sustainable agriculture, food justice and our ethical responsibility to feed the hungry, both at home and abroad. Check out this excellent article by AJWS Rabbi-in-Residence Brent Spodek to learn how it all ties together.