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Food Justice and the Occupy Movement

Food Justice and the Occupy Movement


Last week, I attended Occupy Oakland’s general strike. It was a very positive experience for me. Although the movement is rooted in a deep frustration and sense of injustice, the protesters were optimistic and peaceful. On Friday, I will be helping to maintain a tent co-hosted by People’s Grocery, a food justice organization, and other local non-profits and activist groups.

The message of the food justice movement is perfectly in keeping with the message of the occupy movement. At its heart, the occupy movement is an expression of the belief that our society has erected too many barriers between its citizens and a comfortable standard of living. With the banking scandals, student loan debt, exploitative corporate practices, undue corporate influence in Washington, a lack of sufficient and affordable healthcare, and a lack of well paying jobs, it is simply too difficult for the “average” American to create a lifestyle that is comfortable, healthy, and stable.

A part of this is the fact that, due to the factors I mentioned, many Americans cannot afford healthy food. Processed foods filled with fat, sugar, and artificial ingredients are much cheaper and more prevalent than high quality, whole foods. One’s health should not be dependent upon one’s income.  The 99% should not have to pay an undue percentage of their income to maintain a healthy diet. If corporations would pay their employees fairly – and if they would be barred from contributing outrageous sums of money to candidates who are  likely to support industrial farm and chemical lobbies – it would not be so difficult for most Americans to afford healthy food.

The way our culture has come to value material gain over basic human decency affects nearly all areas of our lives – from our ability to find well paying jobs to our access to healthcare. And certainly, one of the areas that is deeply influenced by the cultural values against which the Occupy Movement is demonstrating is our diet.

Image Credit: Nathan Jongewaard via Flickr

Workers’ Rights and Food Justice
Life Is Living and Occupy Wall Street
Real Eating With Oakland’s People’s Grocery

Read more: Community, Community Service, Do Good, Food, Green, Life, Make a Difference, News & Issues, , , ,

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.


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12:50PM PDT on Mar 21, 2013


5:04PM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Thanks for the info.

3:47PM PST on Nov 11, 2011


9:52AM PST on Nov 10, 2011


8:49AM PST on Nov 10, 2011

thanks for posting

6:42AM PST on Nov 10, 2011

Thanks for the article

12:35AM PST on Nov 10, 2011

Thanks you for the info.

10:06PM PST on Nov 9, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:59PM PST on Nov 9, 2011

I stand corrected on my comment...the things that are changing are not for the "benefit of the masses" but for the "benefit of a few" (percentage wise). I think the whole movement started with the "Tea Party Movement" They were strong enough to voice their opinions about the horrendous spending and debt that we are leaving our children, but the media tells lies about them while they tout the virtues of Occupy who use their children for leverage and don't even think of the danger they put them in. They disrupt businesses and cause people who are trying to earn an honest living to lose income. Like I said, there's a better way. Where were you when the "Tea Parties" brought all this to light...that we can have more money to buy the kind of food that is healthy and not controlled by big business. They were the common people too who wanted fairness and honesty in managing our govt. Use the ballot box to vote in new blood that really care about the future of America and understand the problems but don't desire to take away our freedoms like the current Administration.

7:05PM PST on Nov 9, 2011

To me the OWS movement is about addressing all issues of injustice. I'm so impressed they are staying strong in the cold of winter or in the face of police brutality. Isn't it incredible how much we have all begun to pull together since they took their stand? The vote in Mississippi, the vote in Ohio, the historic recall vote in Arizona. They've inspired us all!

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