critical reflection assignment on personal worldview in relation to food justice.
| Name- Shihij Raina GAHN 6650
TheÂ Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)Â defines food justice as:Â "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."Â In my view, food justice is both a process and an outcome that can be achieved by creating strong policies that promote equity, health and environmental sustainability within our food systems. Food injustice is not only limited to the lack of policies regarding food systems, but it is also associated with the social and gender welfare.Â
My earliest memory with justice lies when I was 13 years old and I was watching a movie in which a criminal is running from the crime scene and hurts himself while escaping. Police catch and takes him to the hospital before taking him to the prison. I realized that even though the criminal was brutally hurt (one could call it karma) he still needed to serve time in jail and that is justice. Now, when we talk about food justice it might not be as simple or similar but from my understanding, people need to have access to adequate and culturally appropriate food. For instance, there is a pro-food justice campaign such as sustain 20-year project the food access network in the UK, that promotes better food and farming advocates and agricultural policies and equity by building a food system that doesn't penalize people for their birth or circumstances (1).
Â I believe that the issue with achieving food justice is how we frame the food system. Through our class discussions, I learned that the framework for our food system often does not include different aspects of the system that are significant in the attainment of food justice, for instance; the ways how indigenous people grow or harvest their foods, or fishing industry. Excluding such important aspects can have a negative impact on food justice which may lead to food insecurity. Another way to manage the issue of food justice is through "food democracy" -to articulate the citizen's perspective and the need for struggle and engagement (1). I believe that citizen's active participation in food rights is extremely important for both the empowerment of people and food sovereignty. Additionally, self-reliance among the at-risk population can be achieved through education and spreading awareness through public campaigns and public health programs. I think that youth is one of the main targets to reach the goal of food and social justice.Â
In my opinion, it is important for the younger generation to be healthy and have proper access to food. This is because youth will become the active citizen of the society that will play a vital role in building just and fair communities that can grow, buy and sell the food that is appropriate and environmentally sustainable, in the future. The people who suffer from food insecurity because of lack of financial resources or inaccessibility to food are the ones that require support. To illustrate, during my post-graduation in India, I went on a visit to a soup kitchen as a part of my course, where they prepared food for a 'mid-day meal scheme' which caters to the school children that belong to poor families. There I came to know that some children sometimes get food only once a day, which is due to this scheme. That being the case, I would like to work with an organization that supports these families in order to provide more than just one meal in a day to such children. Even though food insecurity is a consequence of food injustice, we still need to control the damage it does in society. I strongly believe that this can be done by uplifting the people who are disadvantaged due to their financial condition, accommodation, gender, race, colour, etc. Provision of knowledge, awareness, food, water, and shelter is necessary to bring equity among rich and poor.Â Â
Another facet that withholds the progress of a just food system is the lack of feminization of agriculture (2). Females usually lack the decision-making power at the household and community level (2). Moreover, traditional power structures in the food system undervalue the vital roles women play. If women had the same access to resources as men, they could raise their current yields by 20 to 30 percent--this would lift as many as 150 million people out of hunger (3). So, when considering the global food system crisis, women should be at the top of the mind (3).
Â Personally, I feel women face more food insecurity and are suppressed not only physically but psychologically. To elaborate, it is a very common belief among my community that women must eat after men or men should be served food first (which is also true for several other communities all over the world). Even though this is a simple notion but being expected to eat after men can create a misunderstanding in women's minds that they are less important than men of the family and this dull belief is ingrained in a girl's mind since birth. I believe such socially constructed roles are the reason why women face difficulty in being part of any food movements and demanding for their rights. I think that, in order to truly empower women, we need to first begin at a household level and break the traditional gendered division of labour and abolish the absence of women's perspective in relation to food rights and social justice.
In summary, to have food sovereignty or food justice one needs to take into account all the factors that affect it, starting from managing our failing food system that needs to be socially just for women. This can be done through eradicating the income gap which is still prevalent and equal distribution of land ownership between men and women. Food justice is much bigger than just ensuring that all are fed. It is about the being fair and promoting equity among the communities and different sections of society whether it is poor or rich, while maintaining a sustainable environment.
Tim Lang. Food Policy- Integrating health, environment & society. New York: Oxford University Press; 2009.
Sachs, C. WOMEN FARMERS AND FOOD JUSTICE. http://www.rosalux-nyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Sachs_Womer-Farmers-and-Fo...
Women Are Key to Fixing the Global Food System. Women Are Key to Fixing the Global Food System | Inter Press Service. [cited 2020Feb25]. Available from: http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/07/women-key-fixing-global-food-system/