This has been a hard summer.
Bombs flying and houses crumbling in Ukraine, Gaza, Iraq and Syria. Our own streets militarized in Ferguson. The continued drought in California.
But this summer we've also seen inspired young leaders confronting police brutality, war and climate change. For those of us concerned with the food system, the connections are evident:
...the racism of Ferguson reflected in the poverty wages of our food and farm workers.
...the engines of war reflected in the petrochemical sprays on our fields and the floating factories that trawl our oceans.
As we enter a new school year we have an opportunity - to seize on these connections, not just figuratively, but actually. Our movement is far larger than we too often imagine -- a movement of movements.
We may also draw inspiration from the more than 500 million small farmers, ranchers and fishers around the world who return daily to their fields and boats this fall. They will harvest, herd and haul in the catch against the odds. Our work is no different.
Colleges and universities have a an important role to play: This school year alone, they will dole out another $5 billion in for food. Money which can be divested from a food system powered by extraction and exploitation, and committed instead to the real food economy growing all around us.
The school year is starting -- so here's three ways to help build this movement:
- Help us Fund the Movement: This month, three incredible Real Food Challenge leaders have been nominated for a prize worth $75,000. National Steering Committee members Sunny Kim (Johns Hopkins), Hannah Weinrock (UMass Amherst), and Stephanie Yee (Cal State Monterrey Bay) need your votes! Sign up for our Daily Voter Team - there's no spam or cost to voting. It takes just 15 seconds! Sign up and you'll get a friendly prompt from us each morning to vote for the Real Food crew each day!
- Bring a Real Food Road Trip stop to your campus: This fall 20 Real Food Challenge organizers are hitting the road as part of a series of Real Food Road Trips. Stops are already planned in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Missoula, Montana and countless campuses in between! If you'd like to see these real food champions lead workshops, trainings and strategy sessions on your campus, fill out an interest form: Rockies, Northeast, Midwest or South.
- Mobilize your Community for #FoodDay2014: Why are you committed to real food? Why should our universities? This October real food activists on over 300 campuses across the US will lead community events.
If this summer has proved one thing, it is that we are resilient, and that we are not alone. Whether it's for climate justice or against police brutality, our generation has proven we're committed and ready to make our voices heard.
This fall let's make our mark, building a real food economy for all.