Editor's Note: December is a fitting time for reflection. As the year comes to a close, we look back on the collective moments the past 12 months have held: moments that inspired us, frustrated us or underscored the need for change. We wanted to share some of our thoughts with you as we process the culminating events of 2016 and prepare to keep pace in advocating for a better food future in the New Year.
Now more than ever, it is critical that we continue the fight to cultivate a more sustainable and just food system. Simply put, food is at the juncture of some of the most important issues facing our society (and world!): conservation, climate change, animal welfare, corporate control and consolidation, public health, fair labor and immigration, to name a few.
In times of significant political stress, we can sometimes feel a loss of agency and control. But in order to move forward, it's vital that we don't forget all of the ways we can make our voices and opinions heard. Let's remember that advocacy at the community, state and national levels has been at the heart of many of the significant advances we have made for decades. From the significant expansion of farmers' markets, to the exploding growth of organic farmland, to the baby steps made towards the improvement of animal welfare, much action has been taken through our collective food choices.
We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we should also celebrate the steps we have taken to get where we are, and more specifically, the role you have played as eaters. Your choices have made big impacts, and will only continue to do so in the coming years - regardless of who is president. The following is just a smattering of the ways you can keep up the battle each day:
- Eat less but better meat.
- Support local food systems and small, family farmers by shopping at farmers' markets and participating in CSAs.
- Buy organic food when you are able to.
- Buy fair trade and from companies supporting just labor conditions when you can.
- Boycott bad actors when possible.
We do not stand alone in this fight. The food movement has grown tremendously over the years, and it is certainly a force to be reckoned with. That said, it's all the more important to be inclusive, intentional, collaborative and supportive as we move forward together. Here are a few (of the many) organizations that are working to better our food system that can always benefit from our collective support:
- Civil Eats
- Environmental Working Group
- Food Chain Worker's Alliance
- Food Policy Action
- Food & Water Watch
- Mother Jones
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Slow Food USA
- Recirculating Farms Coalition
- Rural Advancement Foundation International
We interact with food on a daily basis - it is a powerful catalyst for change. Roughly three times a day we have the opportunity to vote with our forks! In a time when, as a society, we may not agree on a lot of things, something we do agree on is this: politics aside, food is essential for nourishment and survival for all of us. Together, we can work hard to do all that we can to foster a sustainable and just food system.
We look forward to continue to work together towards a better food future! Thank you for all that you do,
The GRACE Communications Foundation team