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Promoting Food Justice in Your Community

**This fall, AMP is rolling out an exciting new campaign on food justice! Bring the campaign to your community with some of the following events, and stay tuned for more updates.**

Community events are a great way to engage those around you in an exciting and informative way. Take the next step in becoming an issue leader and influential activist on your campus or in your area. Educate others on the global food justice movement or take direct action to support local farming and food systems. Here we’ve listed some event ideas for you to initiate conversations about food justice and advocate for your community’s food sovereignty:

Gardening Party: Increase agricultural awareness through gardening sustainability clinics. Set up session in which professionals, farmers, or even you teach gardening skills, such as how to tend to different types of local plants, or how to prepare these plants for the coming winter.  

Additionally, you can start a gardening club in your neighborhood or at school where you maintain your own garden. Feel the soil between your fingers, and plant your own seeds. Put on a monthly garden party so you can see your garden’s progress!  

Hold a debate about food justice: Create a student-led debate in the form of a model UN, mock trial, or speech and debate simulation in which participants “Put the Global Food System on Trial.”

Hunger dinner: A hunger banquet activity is an interactive event where the issues of hunger and poverty are exposed and discussed. Participants are randomly assigned groups when they arrive, and are then subject to unequal food distribution. This activity serves as a way to simulate the real-life disparities that exist in the food system.

Examples for how to run a hunger dinner can be found here and here.

Invite speakers: Bring local farmers, school faculty and staff, activists and experts to your school and community to raise awareness and provide an experienced perspective. These speakers can put on presentations, lead in round table discussions, or answer questions as a part of a panel session.

Teach the issues: Organize a day of outreach. Attend school assemblies, after-school programs, youth organization events, or any sort of existing community gathering and teach about the food system or some of the challenges facing it today.

Take a look at the Johns Hopkins FoodSpan curriculum for lesson plans about the food system.

Cooking events: Hold a cooking event where participants are taught quick and easy dishes with local or fair trade ingredients. Have some nights that focus on vegan or vegetarian dishes. Or, hold a cook off where contestants make dishes with food items from the local farmers’ market.

Fall harvest festival: Put on a festival! Invite local farmers or restaurants that use local ingredients to attend and sell their food at stands during the festival.

Screen a film: Films are a great way to not only help you visualize the issue, but understand the broader context of the issue. Invite community members and peers to a film-screening event, and conduct a post-film discussion of topics and themes.

Here is a list of potential films for a food justice film screening:

Growing Cities, Just Eat It, The Garden, Viva la Causa, The Price of Sugar, Feeding Frenzy: The Food Industry, Marketing & the Creation of a Health Crisis, Cafeteria Man, The Future of Food, Food Stamped, Fresh, Dirt! the Movie, A Place at the Table, The Forgiving Earth: Voices from Detroit’s Urban Farms, Kombit: The Cooperative

Community audit: Map your local food system! Gather a team to create a map of your community with the locations of local farms, farmers’ markets, food banks, organic / farm-to-table eating establishments, etc. Or, turn the activity into a community scavenger hunt where participants have to find all of your identified locations!  

Organize a conference, or institute a food justice week at your school: Bring your neighbors and peers together for a day of discussion and workshops, or create a whole week of awareness with events such as an art show or mocktail party.  

Support a cause: Organize a day of service and volunteering or start a fundraiser and donate to a local organization that promotes food justice in some way.

Become an advocate: Start your own local or campus food campaign. Draft a creative petition such as having supporters sign a flowerpot to send to local decision-maker with a local law or initiative you want changed or started in your community.

Or, encourage local governments and policymakers to incorporate land policies that promote and sustain urban agriculture and farmers’ markets.

Make it your own: Make noise for a food issue that means a lot to you. This could be any challenge to the food system: food literacy in schools, nutritional school environments, food waste, land use and zoning, hunger and food access, organic farming, sustainable agriculture…Raise awareness about this issue through the type of event that you enjoy most. This includes flash mobs, poetry nights, sporting events, benefit concerts; anything that you enjoy and will call attention to a food justice issue that you care about, or is important for your community.

Check out our leadership tips for specific advice on how to take action and carry out events or campaigns! You can also apply for our online Global Leader training to learn more leadership and activist skills.

When you’ve completed an event around campus or in your community, remember to reflect on your experience by sharing a photo, video, blog, etc. via social media with the hashtag #SproutingforChange. We’ll share your reflection on Sprouting a New System as a community leader and activist on the AMP website and social media pages!  













Image used under Creative Commons License. Credit: William Murphy. https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/

About Toni O'Boyle

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