Understanding Food Justice
Watch the welcome message video from Dr. Andrew Carter here.
Module Learning Objectives
- Understand and contextualize the role of food justice in the alternative food movement
- Identify the different actors in food politics and the varying/conflicting ideas and intentions around food production, distribution, and access as it relates to equity
- Critically examine the social, public health, and environmental implications of the food system
- Mishan, L. (2021). The activists working to remake the food system [Read Article]
- Nittle (2020). People of color are at greater risk of COVID-19. Systemic racism in the food system plays a role. [Read Article]
- Food Print (n.d.) Food Justice [Read Article]
- Alkon, A. H., & Cadji, J. (2020). Sowing seeds of displacement: Gentrification and food justice in Oakland, CA. [Read Article] [pdf]
- Holt-Giménez, E. (2019). Capitalism, food, and social movements: The political economy of food system transformation [Read Article] [pdf]
- Food Tank (2021). Seven ways to fight for food justice. [Read Article]
- Digital Content
Food as radical empathy
How Food Shapes Our Cities
Upstream (2021). Eric Holt Gimenez – On food and capitalism
- Engaged Learning Activities
Current Food Justice Issue Paper
This assignment will comprise two parts: (1) students will write an exploratory paper based on a current food justice issue of interest to them (e.g., food access, farmworker rights, GMOs, environmental justice, food policy, local food systems, COVID-19); and (2) write a letter, email or tweet to an elected official regarding the issue or to submit an editorial to a major news outlet.
Key components of the paper should include:
- A brief overview of the issue
- Examination of the social, political and/or economic context of the issue (e.g., who are the key players and the impacted groups or persons? What are their goals?).
- Analysis of proposed policies/solutions to the issue? (e.g., Who makes the initial recommendation and who makes the final decision? What was the basis for that decision? Was it feasible?)
- Presentation of possible solutions/alternatives.
*After you have completed part one of the assignment, you will choose an outreach method to advocate for your issue.
Ethnographic Observation Interview Assignment
For this assignment, you will choose a local food justice-related (FJ) organization and conduct a mini ethnographic assessment (see bottom of document for links to several local Bay Area FJ organizations). For this assignment, you will volunteer with a local FJ organization in some capacity (e.g., staffing a weekly farmers market, community fair, etc.), where you will one of two options: (1) conduct participant observation during a minimum of three visits; or (2) conduct an in-depth interview with two key informants who can speak to the vision and culture of the organization (e.g., executive director, manager). The purpose of this assignment is to gain applied, on-the-ground experience with a local FJ organization, gain a greater understanding of the processes involved in FJ work, and orient you with original data collection.
See directions for assignment details here [docx].
Food Justice Op-Ed Assignment
For this assignment, you should submit:
1. An op-ed on the food justice-related topic of your choice, of up to 750 words (not counting the suggested title or author line).
2. A short cover memo (no longer than 1 page) to your instructor describing the audience you are trying to reach (and why) and the specific media outlet you would pitch the op-ed to (and why).
The op-ed should generally follow the stylistic advice in Op-Ed Writing: Tips and Tricks, a resource from the OpEd Project. In addition, you may wish to review the packet of sample op-eds posted on Canvas, in the Writing Guidance module.
Here are a few additional requirements for your op-ed:
- Provide a siggested title, but no subtitle. Some of the sample pieces in the packet have subtitles, but ignore that for the purpose of this assignment.
- To keep things simple, do not include visuals or use any formatting tools such as headings, bullets, or boldface or italic type. Some of the examples in the packet do this, but media outlets vary in their openness to these elements.
Additional guidance on how to approach this assignment can be found here [docx].
Sample Op-eds on Policy-related Topics [Download Here] [docx]