Public opinion will always be ahead of political action. Dr. Salvador ask us to consider how we create a just food system through action, civic engagement, and a thorough understanding of history. How do we expose false solutions so that they are not politically feasible and instead put forward real solutions? How do we decide the use and ownership of productive land when historical distribution of this land has been so marked by the separation of people from their land and livelihood? When people are told to “get over the past,” we must recognize how the past has continued into current day inequality.

The food system was built by exploiting people and nature. Progress toward a more just food system is a long-term struggle that is obscured by power dynamics and technological discourse. Under a regressive political regime, it will be important for food justice advocates to keep a firm eye on the historical continuity of the social struggle, and to avoid distractions that demoralize, weaken, and divide us.

Dr. Ricardo Salvador is the senior scientist and director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, where he works with citizens, scientists, economists, and politicians to transition our current food system into one that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices.

Just Food Conference Chalkboard

 

“The future of this nation is the future of food justice. Without a just food system, we cannot have a just nation for all of us to live in.”

Dr. Ricardo Salvador, Food and Environment Program Director, Union of Concerned Scientists