by: Chris Jadallah,
The Bay Area has historically been a progressive-minded place for individuals to come together, share revolutionary ideas, and work toward their vision of a brighter future. The food justice movement in Oakland provides a beautiful and compelling example. Grassroots efforts spearheaded by community-based organizations have sought to transform the local food system around the core food justice principle that accessible, healthy, culturally appropriate food is a basic human right. In a city where historical discriminatory practices like redlining and racialized housing covenants have disenfranchised and marginalized communities of color, this right to healthy food has not always been realized.
This discouraging reality spurred an inspiring response. Dozens of NGOs have emerged in recent years seeking to create a new reality of prosperity for all.
CFJC was founded in 2003 as a way to coordinate this burgeoning food justice movement in the region and state. By providing support to different groups and serving as leadership on several coalitions and food policy councils, CFJC plays a critical role in facilitating cooperation between different groups. It also helps connect local issues to national issues through its work on national policy issues. This working together is essential for moving the food justice movement forward to its goal of a just and equitable society.
By interning with CFJC this past summer, I have witnessed the important role that cooperation plays in making change. I have seen how getting a group of passionate people together with a shared vision can lay the foundation for systemic change. By conducting literature reviews and other forms of policy research along with supporting efforts of several of our coalitions and partnerships, I have been able to use my time in order to make an impact. There’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to making a truly equitable and sustainable food system, but the work is happening, and that is enough reason for hope.