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Food Justice Study Group

In 2017, FOG launched a Food Justice Study Group for local residents in Gainesville and its surrounding communities.

Every other month, we will be discussing a book or documentary that has been selected to generate a conversation about how our contemporary food system can help us better understand the complex issues of race, class, gender, both our collective and individual histories, and how we might envision and achieve a more sustainable, socially-just society.

“FOG supports and promotes a multitude of pathways into the local, sustainable food movement,” says David Vaina, FOG’s Education & Outreach Director.  “One might begin farming or gardening organically, others might embrace consumer-driven solutions, and others might be still seeking a deeper understanding of how our food choices can improve or disrupt the lives of peoples in our country and around the world.”

Current Reading Selection

The Food Justice Study Group will next meet May 31, 2018 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM at the Civic Media Center in Gainesville (address:  433 S Main St, Gainesville, FL 32601).  All are welcome!

We will discuss food sovereignty and compare decentralized, localized food systems with those designed from a more top-down, centralized structure.

The key text we will look at is Peter Kropotkin’s Field, Factories and Workshops: Or Industry Combined with Agriculture and Brain Work with Manual Work.  A free, online version of the book can be found here.  A key anarchist text, the book advocates food production on a cooperative, local level.

Supplementing Kropotkin’s work will be discussions on the Green Revolution, the post World War II kibbutzim movement in Israel, the Zapatista struggle in Chiapas (Mexico), the international Via Campesina movement, and here in the U.S., the history and ideas behind collective Black land ownership in the 1960s and 1970s.  Online versions of other readings will be uploaded to this page and FOG’s Facebook page.

As always,  FOG welcomes all points of view in our discussions and also encourages attendees to share their own experiences as producers, consumers, citizens, students, and educators.

Questions? Suggestions? Please contact David Vaina, FOG’s Education & Outreach Director, by email or at 352.377.6345 (ext. 130).

Past Reading Selections

In February 2018, we discussed Garrett M. Broad’s More than Just Food:  Food Justice and Community Change that was published by the University of California Press in 2016The book spotlights Community Services Unlimited, a food justice organization that grew out of the Southern California Black Panther Party and how the “organization seeks balance–between social change ideals and the compromises necessary to maintain fiscal solvency; between a focus on community needs and broader national and international movements; and between communicating with local residents and larger publics,” as Andrew Wenzel from the University of Southern California writes in a review.  We recommend the book to anyone involved in the food justice movement, including activists, journalists, and foundations.

The first Food Justice Study Group meeting was held in October 2017 at 6:45 PM at the Millhopper Branch Library in Gainesville.  The October selection for the Study Group was John T. Edge’s The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.  The book starts with the contribution of the South’s cooks and waiters during the Civil Rights era, covers the Back to the Land movement, and concludes with a South where immigrants have shaped the region’s cuisine and culture.