Agriculture Education aff plans/Drafts



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****Food Justice



Food Justice – 1AC Module



Food inequality growing rapidly now – absent intervention, the gap will widen


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]



In the United States, policy discussions about food insecurity often ignore the histories of institutionalized racism that have caused widespread hunger and poverty, and instead tend to place the blame on the struggling communities. These discussions also often overlook a particular “relativistic quality that has wormed its way into our food system over the past ten years.” As lower-income areas begin to make small improvements in access to healthy food, such as the addition of a grocery store or the slightly improved reach of the food stamp program, higher-income communities, by comparison, “leap ahead” with increases in their purchase of local and organic foods. The result is that, as trends in consumption associated with lifestyle and health expand one class's universe of choice and perceived health benefits, a lower, less privileged class barely catches up to where the other class was in the last decade.” Without an effective intervention, this gap is likely to continue its expansion.

Millions of households go hungry – local involvement key to reducing structural inequities in the food system


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]

Over the past decade, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in awareness of the state of our food supply, urban agriculture, and nutrition. Often missing from these discussions, however, is an understanding of food oppression's structural causes. Instead, the focus typically lies on personal responsibility and the need to bring in outside information to educate communities deemed to be suffering from hunger and health problems. Because many people who work to address food access are outsiders to urban communities of color, “many community organizations remain unaware or closed to the ways racism works in the food system.” Such food organizations often overlook the histories of institutionalized racism when proposing “solutions” or goals such as self-sufficiency. Funding needs often demand allegiance to organizations outside of the community and thus do not challenge the power structures that create racial disparities.

Throughout the United States, many low-income communities and communities of color face a daily food crisis. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 17.2 million households were “food insecure” in 2010, and struggled to acquire adequate food due to lack of financial resources. In addition to facing food insecurity, urban areas often exist in what are commonly called “food deserts” or grocery gaps, locales in which there are no grocery stores or other opportunities to purchase fresh, healthy food, which typically co-exist with “food swamps,” areas which have a high prevalence of unhealthy food options, such as fast food and convenience stores. In a 2009 report to Congress, the USDA also found that “higher levels of racial segregation and greater income inequality” define urban areas. The USDA also found that close to six percent of all U.S. households lacked access to obtain the food they “wanted or needed,” and over half of these households also lacked sufficient financial resources for food.


Food justice is a crucial approach to solving environmental sustainability and justice


Purifoy, J.D. Harvard Law School, & Duke University Environmental Policy PhD candidate, 14

[Danielle M., 2014, Duke Law Scholarship Repository, "Food policy councils: integrating food justice and environmental justice,” http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1302&context=delpf, p. 391, accessed: 7/1/17, KF]



Shared values of ecological sustainability and respect for the interdependence of nature and life further illustrate the fundaental connections between the environmental justice and food justice movements. Though food justice advocacy alone cannot address all negative and disparately burdensome ecological impacts, food is nevertheless one of the major—and most relatable—angles from which to approach environmental sustainability and environmental justice. Any achievements in food justice, as defined by the current movement, will also be successes for environmental justice.

Government inaction contributes to structural racial and economic inequality – prioritizing local farming and promotion of healthy options are key to reducing structural inequities


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]

Racial justice scholar Andrea Freeman asserts that the damage done by lack of access to healthy food has a “pronounced and extreme effect on low-income people of color” which “represents a form of structural oppression that activists must incorporate into a struggle for racial and economic justice.” Structural food oppression undermines the well-being and very survival of low-income, urban communities of color. Since the food we consume so directly impacts our health, the negative impacts of lack of adequate nutrition and the stress of hunger permeate all other aspects of life. As expressed by one scholar, “[h]ealth is fundamental to every aspect of life,” and “without health, a student cannot do well in school; a worker cannot hold a job, much less excel at one; a family member cannot be an effective parent or spouse. Health crises and the staggering costs they impose are critical underlying causes of poverty, homelessness and bankruptcy. People of color who live in racially segregated neighborhoods are exposed to greater health risks. African-Americans confined to segregated areas have historically experienced rising mortality rates due to overcrowding leading to disease and drug use. These forms of structural racism are shaped heavily by government policies.

Such policies include providing public assistance that is insufficient to cover the cost of fresh food, drawing resources and services out of the cities, zoning and incentive policies that favor corporations over community-based businesses and urban farming, and government subsidies that facilitate saturation of urban communities and schools with fast food. This government-sponsored racial inequality tends to be obscured by the “distinction between public and private spheres of action and is perpetuated by the myth of personal choice, even where a lack of options and resources severely limits the ability to exercise choice.

Agricultural education programming reduces community hunger and food swamps by providing access to healthy foods.


LaRose, University of Florida Agricultural Education doctoral graduate student, 2016

(Sarah, 3/14/16, The Agricultural Education Magazine. “Teach Local: Incorportating the Local Food Movement into Agricultural Education Curriculum.” ProQuest, P.22-23 , Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)

Responding to the Changing Agricultural Economy

While I worked as an agriculture education instructor at the Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience and Technology Program at Non- newaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut, I noticed an increasing number of farms in the area had revised their production methods, products, services, and marketing strategies in order to capitalize on local markets. In particular, fruit and vegetable production was be- coming a more common practice of area farms, with many converting from exclusive dairy production to small-scale diversified crop operations. More and more of the SAE projects that I was visiting focused on direct-to-consumer sales of produce such as farmers’ market sales and Community Sup- ported Agriculture (CSA) business models, and some program graduates were the employers of these students. Nonnewaug’s agricultural education program be- gan in 1920, originally focusing on educating young men returning to work on their parents’ dairy farms. In subsequent years, it has grown to provide a wide range of programming offerings in animal science, ornamental horticulture, natural resources, and agricultural mechanics, but the last time hat curriculum offerings focused on fruit and vegetable production was over thirty years ago!

In response to the growing industry trend towards localized food sales, I created and implemented a Local Food Production curriculum within the agriscience program beginning in the fall of 2012. The course has grown from a single unit within the scope of a sophomore livestock production class, to an independent sophomore class, to now an independent junior/senior course offering in addition to a sophomore class. During this time our school constructed a hydroponic green- house and I obtained a National FFA Food For All Grant to begin a school garden. Both the garden and the greenhouse now supply produce to the town’s food bank along with the school’s culinary arts classes, school cafeteria, and most recently a few different restaurants. As a result, new community partners have been brought on board to support the programming offered by the agriscience program.

Access to Healthy Food Low Now



Lack of funding presents problems to accessing healthy food in schools


Purifoy, J.D. Harvard Law School, & Duke University Environmental Policy PhD candidate, 14

[Danielle M., 2014, Duke Law Scholarship Repository, "Food policy councils: integrating food justice and environmental justice,” http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1302&context=delpf, p. 380-2, accessed: 7/1/17, KF]



One important example of a food justice challenge is the source and quality of food served in school cafeterias. Although problems are pervasive in school food programs across the United States,32 they are particularly dire in under-resourced public schools, which often do not have the means to create alternative school food programs or to secure resources for farm-to-school programs.33 However, the food justice framework views impacted communities as leaders in defining the problems and helping to craft viable solutions. In a case study in examined in Gottleib and Joshi’s Food Justice, public school students from New Orleans—a city with a rich local food culture—were served cafeteria food that was imported from distant sources, “tasted terrible” and did not support the local economy.34 The middle school activists in the study, called the Rethinkers, defined the problem in their schools not only as a matter of where their food came from and its quality, but also as a problem of the broader conditions of the cafeterias where they ate, and the amount of time they were given to eat their food.35 Their advocacy also extended to support the local shrimp industry, which, as they learned, was being displaced because of imports of cheap, chemical-laden shrimp from abroad.36 Rather than relying on an authoritative, top-down solution to the problem, the students ensured that they had a say in the outcome, appealing to the school district Superintendent for eliminating “junky eating utensils,” using healthy, local food sources,, and placing local shrimp on the menus.37

In this way, Gottlieb and Joshi suggest, the movement for food justice is about advancing “opportunities for moving toward a more just, healthy, democratic, and community-based system.”38



Advocacy around food justice in the United States has manifested in many forms, from activism around domestic food law and policy (most notably, around the federal Farm Bill, which has historically created farm subsidies for commodity crops (e.g., corn, soybeans, wheat) and public assistance funds for food to low-income individuals and families39)or around developing programs and institutions designed to reconfigure local and regional food systems such that they will provide all communities with greater and more equitable access to safe, healthy, and local food.40 Urban agriculture, community supported agriculture (CSAs), kitchen gardens, coops, and local food artisans joined the menu of other food initiatives, most of which targeted hunger at an individual level.41 Food policy councils, first established in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1981,42 have rapidly proliferated in the past decade as forums through which concerned citizens and government officials can collaborate on resolving critical challenges to the local food system. This concentration on local food systems, with which local residents are most familiar, creates new opportunities not only for bolstering local economies, but also for gradually altering the global food system as localized policies are replicated across the nation.

Community Gardening Unsustainable Now



Community gardening system unsustainable


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]



The permanence of urban gardens is consistently in question. Often, rather than repeal or rewrite restrictive zoning ordinances to allow for urban agriculture, cities prefer to grant informal permission to community groups to create gardens on vacant lots. This structure is problematic because community groups have no legal recourse when the city decides to use the land for another purpose. In New York City Environmental Justice Alliance v. Giuliani, plaintiffs argued that “community gardens are highly beneficial to minority communities and that the elimination of gardens would therefore have an adverse impact on some aspects of the lives of the neighborhood residents.” Rejecting testimony that there were other available parcels suitable for development that would be less harmful to communities of color, the court held that the harm from eliminating the community garden was justified by the city's plan to “build new housing and foster urban renewal.” Here, as in the case of the Morning Glory Community Garden, the city prioritized other types of land use over urban agriculture. Community gardeners seeking to secure land sometimes achieve this goal thorough the use of intermediaries, such as land trusts to clear title, or through typically impracticable measures such as adverse possession or implied dedication.

Corporations undermine gardening opportunities


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]

Land grabs are “large-scale acquisition of agricultural, range, and forest lands by outside interests.” These acquisitions are occurring throughout the world, mainly in Africa and other parts of the “Global South.” Many tend to think of land grabs as happening mostly in developing countries, but it is happening in the United States with increasing frequency. Corporations in the United States are currently engaged in urban land grabs under the guise of eradicating the “food deserts.” The global recession is forcing food retailers, seeking profits in untapped markets, to focus on low-income urban communities.

The poor and hungry do not benefit from these large-scale land acquisitions. According to one researcher, “[l]and grabs, which aim at 20 percent profits for investors, are all about financial speculation.” Accordingly, “this is why land grabbing is completely incompatible with food security; food production--or any other legitimate economic activity--can only bring profits of 3-5 percent. Land grabbing simply enhances the commodification of agriculture whose sole purpose is the over-remuneration of speculation capital.” These land grabs take money out of the community and put it into the hands of corporations. Recent government incentives to offer healthy food are providing large entitlements to corporate grocers, such as Wal-Mart to open stores in the inner city.

Global corporations, such as Wal-Mart and Kroger, see an opportunity to “capture public entitlements” by stating an intention to address the “food desert” problem. These urban land grabs, however, “contradict the food justice movement's vision for a just, sustainable, and democratic food system,” and they do not take history into account. History reminds us that many of the same corporations have previously opened stores in our nation's low-income, inner cities and then abandoned them, taking community resources out of the community with them. One such situation occurred in West Oakland, when the grocer Foods Co. entered the community, acquired land, opened a store, and closed its doors soon after, taking with it funding and local investment. Even though funding initiatives, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy Food Financing, are intended to support local food projects in practice, large corporations are beating out food justice advocates because they have the necessary capital to set up their stores quickly. Since there is no system in place to favor community-owned food projects, corporations are displacing local economies with the new urban land grab trend. While the corporate stores might meet some food access needs, this undemocratic development process will likely reduce green space, decrease community investment in urban areas, and further decrease food autonomy.


Food Inequality Impacts



A lack of healthy food disproportionately creates health issues along class and race lines.


Purifoy, J.D. Harvard Law School, & Duke University Environmental Policy PhD candidate, 14

[Danielle M., 2014, Duke Law Scholarship Repository, "Food policy councils: integrating food justice and environmental justice,” http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1302&context=delpf, p. 386, accessed: 7/1/17, KF]

Historic outflows of capital from urban centers starting in the second half of the 20th century took many food retailers away from cities, where supermarkets proliferated rapidly in suburbia.66 Despite densely populated communities with considerable market power, many urban food deserts have not been able to attract supermarkets back to inner-cities in part because of misconceptions about lack of profitability and security embedded into decades’ old business plans.67 Higher development costs in low-income areas may create further barriers to entry for major food retailers.68 The result is a significant market failure, wherein food desert residents are left with few local healthy food choices, and supermarkets compete for a smaller share of an oversaturated suburban market.69 Further, the types of food retailers that are available in these neighborhoods— convenience stores, liquor stores, and fast food restaurants—often have few healthy food options.70 The lack of healthy food choice has major implications for health outcomes in these communities. Diabetes, heart disease, and other diet-related illnesses are prevalent in these environments, causing further disparities in the quality of life along race and class lines.7

Gardens Solvency



Gardens are key to survival in areas of severe hunger and obesity.


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]



In an area such as the South Bronx, which is the reported home of the most severe hunger problems in the United States, community gardens can be integral to survival. There, obesity rates are also some of the nation's highest. While the simultaneous existence of extreme hunger and obesity may suggest a paradox, hunger and nutrition experts explain that “[these] plagues [are] often seen in the same households, even the same person: the hungriest people in America today, statistically speaking, may well be not sickly skinny, but excessively fat.” Significantly, the Bronx is also one of the most diverse areas in the country. According to the 2011 Census, the population is 43.3 percent African-American and 53.8 percent Latino. The South Bronx faces many challenges due to structural racism, creating a situation in which “the food insecurity study is hardly the first statistical measure in which the Bronx lands on the top--or, in reality, the bottom.” The crisis in the South Bronx is representative of the hunger and food access limitations that impact communities of color throughout the country. Institutionalized racism operates on multiple structural levels simultaneously; thus, an urban community of color that lacks healthy food will likely also face housing inequalities, health disparities, substandard education, and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system, as well as a lack of structural power to alter these injustices. An anti-racist analysis of hunger is necessary to contextualize the power dynamics and structures responsible for food inequality.

Gardening is a viable method to feed communities.


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]



Despite a history of urban agriculture as a viable method of feeding communities, the United States has generally regarded urban gardening as a recreational activity, a way to build community, or a way to green the cities. Working class American urbanites, however, have long used urban gardening as “a source of food security in lean times.” Garden programs serving schools, prisons, and “at-risk” youth have existed for many years, and public health experts acknowledge the role of gardening to promote nutrition, socialization, and healthy development. In the 1890s and 1930s, urban gardening was used to address unemployment, and during World Wars I and II, “victory” gardens were used to protect against food shortages.

In the late 1960s urban agriculture began spreading in the wake of urban riots over segregation and police brutality. After the riots, thousands of empty lots lay unoccupied where buildings had previously stood. Many of the destroyed buildings had been food stores, and when there was no financial support to bring the stores back, communities began planting gardens in these abandoned lots. Most African-Americans in the cities had migrated from the South, so they used their knowledge of agriculture to grow urban vegetables. Now, fifty years later, thirty cities have urban-farming projects, and there are 10,000 community gardens in the United States. New York City alone has an impressive 600 city gardens, involving over 20,000 residents.


Gardens are the most effective way to reduce poverty and improve food security


DoCompo, research associate at the Chicago Council on Global Affair’s Global Food and Agriculture Program, 17

[Isabel DoCampo joined the Council's Global Food and Agriculture Program in 2015 and currently serves as a research associate. February 1, 2017, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, “A Food-Secure Future: The Promise and Power of Agricultural Development,” https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/blog/global-food-thought/food-secure-future-promise-and-power-agricultural-development, accessed 6.28.2017]//TRossow

Poverty and Hunger on the Decline

In the fight to end global poverty and hunger, no effort has proved more effective than the promotion of small-scale agriculture as a development tool. Agricultural development worksnot only because the world’s poorest and hungriest are most often small farmers, but because of the amplifying impacts of rural poverty alleviation on nutrition, health, education, and community development.

Over the past two and a half decades, the world has seen impressive reductions in hunger and poverty. Between 1990 and 2015, the number of people living in extreme poverty—on less than $1.90 a day—decreased by more than 1 billion, even as populations grew significantly. The number of undernourished decreased by over 200 million. And, these gains have been even more pronounced in low-income countries, with these regions seeing 75 and 50 percent reductions in numbers of poor and hungry people, respectively.



With nearly 80 percent of the world’s poor reliant on farming for income, it comes as no surprise that agricultural development has driven much of this advancement. Agricultural development efforts include a variety of activities: promoting access to finance, inputs, and new technologies, training on optimal agricultural techniques, encouraging the full participation of women throughout the sector, facilitating market access, and building research and government capacity, among others.

Together, these activities generate significant impact: growth in the agricultural sector is up to four times more effective in raising incomes among the poorest people as compared to other sectors. As efforts to expand the output, market reach, sustainability, and resilience of agriculture in low-income regions have taken shape, so too have effective pathways out of poverty. As families expand their agricultural production, they earn greater incomesallowing them to access more diverse and nutritious diets, pay for school fees and healthcare, and invest in their business or communities.


Community Food Solvency



Community produced food creates direct benefits.


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]



Inner-city people are not going to the farmers markets. It's not because they're not interested. Some of it is because of prices, but mostly it's because they are not community-owned. The issue of community ownership, the idea that this is ours and that the money spent will circulate to help us, is a real issue. So what we do. . .is have food stands that are run by neighborhood people. They're in front of churches, and people know that they're run by members of the community. In this way, we're bringing food directly to the people in a way that gives them ownership, so they purchase the food. I think that's the missing link. Inner-city people are tired of others creating things for them and expecting them to participate with no direct benefit.

Community supported change can access politics of food inequality.


Meals, social worker, writer, JD from St. Mary’s 12

[Kate, 2012, St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice, “Unearthing the Impact of Institutionalized Racism on Access to Healthy Food in Urban African-American Communities - VI. Institutional Barriers to Urban Land Use,” http://racism.org/index.php/articles/basic-needs/povertywelfare/1593-accesstohealthyfood?showall=&start=11, accessed, 7/1/17, KF]



Food justice has the capacity to reorient the food movement towards addressing inequities while seeking to transform the food system as a whole. Additionally, “[f]ood justice is integrated into other social justice movements, such as those concerned with community economic development, the environment, housing, or transportation.” If this integration does not take place within the context of a clear understanding of historical and present-day institutionalized racism, we will be unable to build an inclusive, successful coalition that makes the changes needed to achieve equality on all levels. Hopefully, however, as we come to understand the following sentiment, stated by Justo Gonzalez, we will continue implementing community-supported solutions and institutional changes:

The first thing we must do is realize that, more often than not, hunger is a political problem. ‘Politics,’ in the strictest sense, is the manner in which humans divide and distribute power and resources. People are not hungry in this country and elsewhere because they don't know how to raise food or are lazy . . . . They are hungry because they have no access to power, and therefore no access to food.


Community production is key to food justice– current lack of access to resources prevents change.


Purifoy, J.D. Harvard Law School, & Duke University Environmental Policy PhD candidate, 14

[Danielle M., 2014, Duke Law Scholarship Repository, "Food policy councils: integrating food justice and environmental justice,” http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1302&context=delpf, p. 379-80, accessed: 7/1/17, KF]

Food Justice is an emerging movement that can be understood as a departure from the sustainable food movement.24 Like environmental justice, food justice centers its activities on achieving equality for low-income and low-access communities.25 Rather than aiming for food practices and policies—like do-it-yourself food cultivation and expensive fresh food markets—which require significant disposable income and presume easy access to other necessary resources26, food justice aspires to establish healthy food as a fundamental right and to eliminate barriers to its access.27 The term “food justice” is defined in several ways, likely as a result of its recent emergence as a social movement. Some have attempted to define it in terms of the injustices it is designed to combat, such as advocating against “the maldistribution of food, poor access to a good diet, inequities in the labour process and unfair returns for key suppliers along the food chain.”28 Others, like attendees of the 2012 Food + Justice = Democracy conference, define it as “the right of communities everywhere to produce, process, distribute, access, and eat good food regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, religion, or community.29 The conference attendees also defined “good, healthy food and community wellbeing” as “basic human rights.”30 In the 2000 edition of the journal Race, Poverty, and the Environment, which was devoted to the food system, the editors observed that the environmental justice definition of the environment as the place “where we live, work, and play,” could be extended to “where, what, and how we eat.”31 In all these interpretations, the food justice movement is a direct critique of the global industrial food system and the negative impacts of its policies, laws, and practices on human health, the environment, culture, and equity.

Local food autonomy key to environmental and food justice


Purifoy, J.D. Harvard Law School, & Duke University Environmental Policy PhD candidate, 14

[Danielle M., 2014, Duke Law Scholarship Repository, "Food policy councils: integrating food justice and environmental justice,” http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1302&context=delpf, p. 391-2, accessed: 7/1/17, KF]



Central to the purpose of the environmental justice and food justice movements in the United States is the conclusion, supported by empirical evidence,96 that specific populations within the nation suffer the brunt of the negative externalities of industry, economic development, and food production, while receiving the smallest share of the economic, social, and political benefits of those activities.97 Advocates of both movements view these results as unjust and anathema to principles of equality and democracy, and set as their missions the eradication of such disparities.98 The goals of both movements, however, reach beyond their core missions. With regard to environmental justice, Gottlieb and Fisher highlight several so-called parallel movements with which advocates are concerned, including fair access to affordable housing and gainful employment.99 Food justice activists are also affiliated with parallel movements to address immigration reform, labor, gender inequality, and cultural hegemony.100 Accounting for these related causes, perhaps the best interpretation of both movements’ goals is to achieve real improvements in the quality of the social, economic, and political lives of historically disenfranchised groups, including low-income and predominantly minority communities. Such improvements may be measured in various ways, such as the extent to which people are able to control what goes into their bodies through full disclosure of food inputs and industrial outputs, maintaining authority over the cultivation and stewardship of ancestral and tribal lands, or simply having access to public transportation to reach healthy food markets. Justice in both movements, therefore, is not only about equity and access, but also about sovereignty, the power to determine, regardless of background, the conditions under which a community lives and the range of healthy choices available to its members.

To that end, both movements demand meaningful public participation in policy decisions impacting the quality of life in all communities.101 Beyond the standard notice and comment procedures common to most government bodies, environmental and food justice advocates desire a place at the table for the full decision-making process, from initial policy proposals to implementation.102 Possessing the same vision for how to achieve just policies, food justice, and environmental justice operate within highly compatible frameworks, which can only be made stronger and more comprehensive if integrated. As discussed in detail below, food policy councils are ideal institutions in which to achieve such integration.


Benefits outweigh the costs– lack of public participation re-entrenches inequality.


Purifoy, J.D. Harvard Law School, & Duke University Environmental Policy PhD candidate, 14

[Danielle M., 2014, Duke Law Scholarship Repository, "Food policy councils: integrating food justice and environmental justice,” http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1302&context=delpf, p. 396, accessed: 7/1/17, KF]



Critiques by planning and engineering scholars Irvin and Stansbury, namely that the costs (money, time, imbalanced power dynamics, and ineffective or damaging outcomes) sometimes outweigh the many touted benefits (legitimacy, representation, and community empowerment), fail to account for the possible impacts of counterfactual scenarios in which people were not allowed to participate.120 Indeed, it is difficult to measure the short- and long-term costs of excluding the public from participation in matters impacting them, however small. An approach to participation predicated on justice, however, might find that the benefits to full participation do ultimately outweigh the real or perceived hazards of such a process, even if it does fail. This is because those possessing more political, social, and economic power are far more likely to find a way to be heard, regardless of who is or is not offered a seat at the table, Thus, to reduce opportunities for public participation in decision-making processes out of concern for reinforced inequalities is tantamount, in most instances, to allowing inequality to prevail by default. Even if FPCs are not fully representative of all communities, having under-represented communities with some opportunities to contribute to the process is preferable to full exclusion of those communities from participation.

Beyond participation, the true work of an integrated approach to environmental and food justice resides in setting an agenda that seeks to identify and evaluate important challenges from both angles—that is, the environmental justice challenges embedded in food justice issues and the food justice implications of environmental problems. Perhaps the best current example of a FPC operating within an integrated agenda is the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council (CFPAC).




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