15 Easy Ways to Grow From Food Consumer to Food Citizen

Posted on February 16th, 2011 by

15 Easy Ways to Grow From Food Consumer to Food Citizen


“Food citizens are eaters who take an interest in food beyond its affordability and availability. Food citizens are concerned about environmental sustainability, the health of farmers and consumers, issues of justice for farm workers and the poor, and democratic participation in determining where our food system is heading.”

— Wisconsin Foodshed Research Project

Read and Watch, Contemplate and Learn

  1. Read a book: Closing the Food Gap; Diet for a Small Planet; Ending Hunger in our Lifetime; Exodus from Hunger; Free for All: Fixing America’s School Food; Gaia’s Garden; How the Other Half Dies; Mycelium Running; Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation; The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved; Sweet Charity?; Tough Choices: Facing the Challenge of Food Scarcity; World Hunger: Twelve Myths.
  2. Learn online: the web is awash with writings on food security, from myriad vantage points.
  3. Add these to your Netflix queue: The Future of Food, Our Daily Bread, We Feed the World.

Donate Time or Money

  1. Identify a food and justice organization with a vision and goals that match your own; support that organization with your energy and your contributions. A few suggestions: Bread for the World, Community Food Security Coalition, Debt Relief Now, Food First, The Food Project, Heifer International, Second Harvest Heartland, Oxfam.
  2. Loan $25 or more to food producers living in poverty, through the microfinance website Kiva.
  3. Locally, find opportunities with both emergency food providers and also organizations aimed at promoting food security—e.g. your local food shelf and your local youth community gardening initiative.

Use Your Power as a Shopper to Support Food Secure Communities

  1. Where possible, think beyond price alone when making food choices; consider investing some of your food dollar in supporting changes to our food system.
  2. Consider purchasing foods such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and other luxury items from companies featuring organic and fair trade principles.
  3. Consider buying holiday gifts from the food justice organizations; this might be the symbolic “gift of a heifer” from Heifer International, or a handloomed article from the Oxfam catalogue.

Organize, Agitate, Educate, Vote

  1. Write to your elected representatives and appointed public officials to voice your opinion regarding pending legislation about food security. Wondering what’s going on legislatively?
  2. Practice the democratic art of conversation: make opportunities to discuss food justice with others.
  3. Write to corporations, to urge them to adopt policies and practices that enable all people the means to purchase safe, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food.
  4. Vote for representatives that explicitly name food security in their campaign platforms.
  5. Join—or start!—an action to raise awareness about the realities of food insecurity, locally, globally.
  6. Find action alerts at: http://offeringofletters.org, http://www.foodfirst.org/en/actionalerts.

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