Building a just and sustainable food system in Coventry

Update: Open Meeting – Food Justice in Coventry

IMG_1354Twenty-three participants came together for a half-day workshop at the Rose Community Centre, followed by a vegan curry cooked by the good folks at the Coventry Men’s Shed. The purpose of meeting was:

  • To discuss what food justice means to us and in the context of our work in the city of Coventry.
  • To make plans to work together on food justice related projects and to develop the Coventry Food Justice Network

We spent the morning engaged in small group and plenary sessions discussing our own understanding of what food justice means. This process suggested that, while there were different perspectives on food justice that suggested it:

  • focuses on underlying causes of hunger,
  • connects to other issues of marginalization (class, gender, racism),
  • fights for equal access to culturally appropriate food,
  • includes concern for the environment,
  • considers access to knowledge and focuses on a rights perspective (including the right to grow food).

These perspectives all focus on creating systemic change and on addressing unequal power relations.

We then deepened our discussion of food justice through the presentation of three case studies of food justice issues including food and destitution (Cassie from the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre), building community and wellbeing through food (Coventry Men’s Shed) and critically examining food banks (Food Union).IMG_1363

Finally, we discussed the different projects and initiatives that the Coventry Food Justice Network could take forward in the short and long term. These included:

  • A joint event at the positive images festival (June 2016)
  • Research projects with Law Students at Warwick University
  • Regular food justice conversations/events (monthly?)
  • Cross-cultural exchange project
  • Funding partnerships and joint bids
  • Participating in the Feeding Coventry Initiative
  • Participatory Video Project on Food Justice

For full meeting notes click here: 20160503 CFJN Open Meeting – minutes

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Download Report (Executive Summary)

Food Justice

Food Justice is a call for a fairer food system. It considers food to be a human right. It involves communities working together to build more just and sustainable food systems. It questions the limits of charity-based emergency food aid as the dominant solution to food poverty. It challenges how differences based on race, class, gender and culture determine who benefits and who is put at risk from how food is grown, processed, distributed, accessed & eaten. It involves collective practical and political learning and action amongst a diversity of citizens and especially those most excluded from the current food system.

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