What is Equity, Inclusion and Justice?

If you’re reading this, you probably have heard of Slow Food’s motto: good, clean and fair. In an era of unprecedented industrial agriculture, hunger, diet related diseases, environmental crises, and more, we believe that we have to take this maxim a step further. We believe that we need to regenerate a food system that is equitable, inclusive and just.

What exactly does that mean? Well, let’s break it down:

Food equity is more than equality: it means ownership. When it comes to food, EIJ believes that everyone should have access, ownership, and the self-determination to decide what their food system should look and taste like.

Food inclusion means bringing more voices to the table. Structural inequalities in our food system exclude people from accessing healthy and culturally appropriate food, or participating in its production. We hope to dismantle these inequalities through organization and action in order to build a food system for the good of all.

Food justice is the fight to eradicate discrimination in our food system, and to rebuild it from the roots up for the good of all. Land theft, labor exploitation, food deserts, food insecurity, and diet related diseases are just some examples of the injustices of our modern, global food system. All of these phenomena are deeply rooted in racial, class, and gender disparities that food justice aims to undo.

Slow Food USA embraces the food justice movement with joy, celebrating the diversity of flavors, voices and visions for the future that it brings to the table. That’s why, in 2018, we launched a new initiative to spread joy and justice through food with the release of a new “manifesto.” The goal of this document was to acknowledge the structural inequalities within our food system and the voices that are marginalized as a result. Today, this work has evolved into a national working group of Slow Food leaders dedicated to the development of an equitable, inclusive and just food system—one that truly works for us all.

We believe that food shouldn’t just taste good: it should do good, for every person, plant and animal that participates in our global foodscape. The Embrace Joy + Justice campaign is all about fostering this diverse and egalitarian food system by empowering our Slow Food communities with the tools and resources to realize food justice.

Using Slow Food Nations (SFN) as our platform, the Equity, Inclusion and Justice working group (EIJ) raises funds to support programming that will share and build upon these tools and resources. Amongst other things, money from this campaign goes toward SFN programming including:

  • 6 scholarships for Slow Food Turtle Island delegates
  • Panels on immigration, labor, indigenous foodways, and more
  • Trainings at the Leader Summit
  • Our much celebrated indigenous dinner
  • Videography of the entire SFN event
  • Developing an EIJ curriculum to serve as the foundation of all SFUSA efforts

This annual gathering is more than a food festival. It is a chance for us to share our stories, successes and struggles in the hard work that we do. It is an opportunity to meet like-minded leaders re-shaping their food systems in service of their communities, and to learn how to become a better leader yourself. We hope to see you at Slow Food Nations, and to share with you the joy and justice that this fulfilling work brings us!

You can support the Embrace Joy + Justice campaign by donating (minimum of $20) here or by ordering bracelets for your chapter by contacting Kevin Scribner. For each donation, we’ll send you an “embracelet” that will grant you access to exclusive EIJ events at Slow Food Nations, such as the Joy + Justice Happy Hour with panelists, speakers and Ark of Taste treats.

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