by Armando Nieto
Today is the last day of summer, and as we prepare for what promises to be one of the most memorable fall seasons in recent memory, your CFJC staff has made some mid-course corrections.
First, we will forego our September monthly CFJC Member Public Policy call in order to better prepare for the impacts of the D.C. looming budget cuts, which are only now beginning to leak out, from inside the beltway. You will recall that the congressional bi-partisan select committee is mandated to make its recommendations by November 23rd. We have heard that October 14-23 is the sweet spot by when all of us should be in contact with our elected representatives about concerns and priority issues.
We urge you to do so in the interests of those programs that provide support for our most vulnerable communities and families. Access to healthy and affordable food, support for food workers and food producers are just some of the issues at stake.
For more and continuing information and updates on the Farm Bill 2012 reauthorization process and related matters, stay tuned for the official launch of the Healthy Farms, Healthy People coalition online presence and email listserv in October.
Elsewhere, CFJC, in partnership with Food First, is also now focused on making sure that the 15th Annual Community Food Security Coalition, Food Justice: Honoring Our Roots, Growing the Movement, will mark a milestone in efforts to rebuild the food system. We hope you can plan to be in Oakland November 4-8th to be part of the activities.
But we are even more excited about what Conference planning has engendered. With the urging and support of a growing number of community organizations and individuals, the Conference also marks a significant step in a larger call to action.
Although separate from CFSC’s annual events, a Taking Back Our Food System call to action that originated in Oakland is resonating with individuals, organizations and families throughout the Bay Area who originally came together to plan the Conference. And we have reason to believe that over the coming months this enthusiasm will continue to spread throughout the state.
CFJC is excited to be part of this larger effort, and we are actively engaged in securing funding and partnering with community based organizations and others to meet the demand for action by community members. We anticipate activities will build on the Kitchen Table Talks, Community Workshops and Listening Sessions that have been added to Conference preparations for the first time.
But we are really curious about what strategies community members will be promoting in the weeks and months to come.
It would seem that the time has finally arrived when community members are saying, “enough!”
Regardless of what takes place in D.C., or maybe even in spite of it, around kitchen tables and in an increasing number of local meetings, over the coming months community members will be informing and demanding public policy that works for people and communities, and not just for large corporations.
California has a growing number of local food policy councils and food alliance groups, community based organizations, and events like the CFSC conference which will be hearing more about the Taking Back Our Food System call to action.
New media and social media also make it easier for individuals to participate, for democracy to break out in the midst of congressional and bureaucratic gridlock.
Stay tuned for developments, or better yet— to formerly become part of the growing call to action: Taking Back Our Food System.
Y. Armando Nieto
California Food and Justice Coalition