NOTE: This is a guest post from Siena Chrisman, Manager of Strategic Partnerships & Alliances at WhyHunger.
On Saturday, Occupy Against Big Food will converge on Zuccotti Park, home base of Occupy Wall Street. It’s an exciting step, coming after several weeks of discussion among food justice advocates about our common cause with the Occupy movement. Back in the second week of protests, I joined a march to Wall Street as part of a food justice delegation. The baskets of local vegetables we carried attracted a lot of attention, but we were surprised by all of the puzzled looks. “What’s the connection here with food?” people kept asking us.
The connections of the protests with food, of course, are many. Locally, many food justice advocates are connecting with Occupy sites to donate food or kitchen space. More broadly, as Mark Bittman observes, “Whether we’re talking about food, politics… or banking, the big question remains the same: How do we bring about fundamental change?” In the U.S. today, the richest one percent hold 40 percent of the wealth, while almost one in five Americans is on food stamps. The massive wealth disparities, excessive corporate power, and lack of democracy the Occupiers are addressing are abundantly clear in the food system as well. Two points in the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City address food–barely scratching the surface of the potential connections, but providing an important opening for the food movement. Will we seize it?
Photo courtesy of civileats.com
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