By Armando Nieto, Executive Director
With two weeks to go before the November 4-8th CFSC Food Justice Conference in Oakland, all efforts and communications are focused on building momentum for Conference participation as a benchmark in the larger call to action—Taking Back Our Food System.
If you haven’t registered or cannot do so, visit the CFJC website for more information on the free community events that lead up to the Conference, which will inform ongoing Call to Action activities. We will continue to host the activities originally designed as free Conference events beyond November because the call to Take Back Our Food System is resonating with community members in Oakland and beyond.
As you know full well, in Oakland as elsewhere around the country, there is an air of discontent with the status quo. At the same time, the conversations about economics, housing, the environment, equity and justice—and food—that are taking place in “Occupy” activities are characterized largely up to this point at least by civil discourse.
This presents a rare opportunity to make use of the Food Justice Conference to move forward with potential solutions for what ails our food system. By design, our free Community workshops at The California Endowment, and the CFSC Conference workshops already raise the larger questions that have to be addressed. A quick review of the CFSC and CFJC Community workshop titles should give anyone a fairly good idea of what we need to work on.
With public attention on activism, we have a singular moment in history to promote what can be created and celebrated at the Conference in Oakland. Several key elements are in already in place:
- November 5th convening of California State Food Alliance Groups and Policy Councils
- November 6th Sovereignty Prize Awards to MST for current activities and the Black Panther Party for starting it all
- November 9th First Assembly of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance
- Participation of youth—more than 60 local high school students and their teachers
- Kitchen Table Talks across the bay region, where “just folks” discuss food and a food system that works for people
But we can only imagine where all of the discussions will lead us.
In preparation thereof, CFJC and Food First will be documenting the events. The same group that prepared our Conference promotional video will be taking photographs and video footage of activities.
We have also partnered with Oakland Local, an internet news service, to provide Conference coverage.
We hope to see you in Oakland at the Conference, but if you cannot come, please keep in touch via email or online.
It truly is a remarkable time to be alive, where we have the opportunity to redefine our society, and the world in which we live.
In this time of change, I am grateful to be able to be of service to the efforts of so many people motivated to help build a new kind of food system.
I look forward to taking this journey, with you.
Y. Armando Nieto
California Food and Justice Coalition