We write to you this week with broken hearts. We also write to you with more resolve than ever to work together for the world we believe in—one based on love, not hate; one grounded in reverence for the planet and dignity for all.
We write to you grieving along with all the parents who had to explain to their children on Wednesday morning that no, the woman didn’t win, but the man who they watched say hateful things and be a cruel bully was our new President-Elect. Grieving that the lead on his agriculture transition team has been an industry lobbyist for 25 years. Grieving that the next President of the United States has been openly racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, has joked about sexually assaulting women (and has more than a dozen women who have accused him of sexual assault), led the racist claim against Obama that he was not born in the United States, bragged about not paying federal taxes, has openly made fun of disabled people, wants to build a wall along the Mexican border and so much more. Grieving that our new president has denied climate science and has threatened to tear up the Paris climate agreement. Grieving for the devastating stories we are hearing of racism, sexism, anti-immigrant violence.
And, like so many, we are working through our grief to reflect on what we can do to protect and defend the progress we have made toward a more just and sustainable food system—and fight for more.
At Real Food Media, our work has always been rooted in the power of stories: They remind us who we are, who we can be; why we fight and for whom. They also expose the spin and misinformation of the powerful. As human beings, we cannot create what we cannot imagine. Stories of progress drive us to imagine this different future and fight for it – together. When we share stories of people standing up against exploitation in the tomato fields of Florida, injustice at meatpacking plants in the Midwest, water pollution from confined animal feeding operations in Missouri—we share their courage, too, and embolden others to stand up.
While we’re troubled, we are also inspired by the many victories nationwide that brought us closer to the food system we need, the food system we all deserve like the win for paid sick days in Washington and Arizona, minimum wage hikes in four states and a soda tax sweep in five cities despite $39 million in Big Soda spending to fight them. And the passage in the past month of Good Food Purchasing Programs in San Francisco schools, Los Angeles airports and, most likely, in Oakland, California schools next week.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” On weeks like this one, that bend seems so slight as to be imperceptible. But weeks like this one remind us, also, that the arc does not bend on its own: That bend, friends, is made by our working toward a shared vision of human dignity and environmental sustainability. And that’s what we plan to do: get to work, together.
As we do, we are grateful for all of you: Here’s to those who are committed to a more just and inclusive world, we stand with you and will continue to tell your story, to stand up when it is threatened and to fight alongside you.
Anna, Christina, Kris, and Annie
Our friends at Real Food Challenge are hosting a call on Monday night with some wise allies to talk about how to move campaigns forward in this new moment, including:
• Mike Callicrate — a western rancher and long-time advocate against corporate control of our food system
• Marita Canedo — a Latinx farmworker organizer and pioneer of the Milk with Dignity human rights program
• Christina Hylton — Southern African-American farmer and farmer legal advocate (invited)
• Estefania Narvaez — Real Food Challenge West Coast Coordinator
We’ll be joining in. For those that want to participate, you can sign up here.