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A Place at the Table (Winter 2000)

Food & Environmental Justice (Vol. 7, No. 2: Winter 2000)

Food is something many of us take for granted.  Supermarkets are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, stocked with foods shipped in from all over the world, providing us with the illusion of health and abundance.  We do not often stop to consider where that food came from, whose hands harvested it, how it was grown, and whether it is safe, equally available to all, and produced in a manner that does not degrade and destroy resources and communities.

In this issue of Race, Poverty & the Environment we learn how black farmers in the South are being squeezed from their land, how farm workers are poisoned and underpaid for their work, and how low income people are distanced from safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food.  We find out the results of corporate control of our food system, about the threat to the future of the world’s food supply though the loss of genetic diversity, and about the “green revolution” with its high tech, Frankenstein approach to food production. 

There is a pervasive paralysis associated with social and environmental reportage—the result of too much focus on the problem and too little attention to the solutions—so we have offered you a section called “Grassroots Models for Change,” examples that can give us all some sense that, even under the most challenging odds, low income communities can gather together and create positive change.

It is our hope that through these diverse perspectives we will discover that a healthy society cannot be separated from a healthy food system, and that a healthy food system must not only sustain human, natural, and biological systems, but must also be equally available to all.

Download or view PDF version of this issue (2.35 MB)

Editors' Notes

2  About this Issue
     by Michael Ableman

Land and Water

3  Reconnecting People to the Land:The Need for Agrarian Reform
     by E.G.Vallianatos

5  Black-Owned Land: A Disappearing Community and National Resource
     by Jerry Pennick

7  Struggles for Justice in Water Policy: A Perspective on California Water Sales
     by Santos Gomez

Biological Diversity

10 Biological Meltdown: The Loss of Agricultural Biodiversity
     by Hope Shand

13 Biopiracy, Biodiversity, and People: The Right to Say "No" to Monopoly Patents Exploiting the South's Resources and Knowledge
     by Hope Shand


15 Representing Farm Workers
     by Arturo Rodriguez

17 For the Sake of Our Food: A Farm Worker's Story

Food Security

18 Community Food Security and Environmental Justice: Converging Paths Towards Social Justice and Sustainable Communities
     by Robert Gottlieb and Andy Fisher

21 Achieving the Human Right to Food Security
     by Peter Rosset

Consumer Issues: Food Access

22 No Place to Shop: Food Access Lacking in the Inner City
      by Zy Weinberg

Consumer Issues: Food Safety

25 Nuclear Lunch: The Dangers and Unknowns of Food Irradiation
     by Jennifer Ferrara and Susan Meeker-Lowry

28 Organizing at the Piers: Creating a Vision for Change
     by Wendall Chin

Corporate Agriculture

30 Warning: Corporate Meat and Poultry May Be Hazardous to Workers, Farmers, the Environment and Your Health
     by Marc Cooper, Peter Rosset, and Julia Bryson

34 Monsanto's Myths: Examining the Assumptionsof Industrial Agriculture
     by Andrew Kimbrell

39 The Industrialization of Agriculture and Environmental Racism: A Deadly Combination Affecting Neighborhoods and the Dinner Table
     by David H. Harris, Jr.

42 Hamburger and French Fries: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things
     by John C. Ryan and Alan Thien Durning

Grassroots Models for Change

45 Working Towards a Healthy Community: The Laotian Organizing Project in Richmond, CA
     by Audrey Chiang and Pamela Chiang

47 Expanded Opportunities in Austin:The Sustainable Food Center
     by Kate Fitzgerald

50 Taking the Lead in Building Community: San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners
     by Mohammed Nuru and Kate Konschink

52 San Francisco County Jail's Garden Project

53 Gardening as Therapy

53 Words from Tomlyn Shannon, a Formerly Homeless Mother

54 Singing Like We Mean It: NativeFood Systems, Health and Culture
     by Tristan Reader

56 Urban Habitat Program News

56 CRPE News


57 Food Resources

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