Racial, 'food justice' cooked up at summit

Food Solutions New England, (FSNE) a University of New Hampshire initiative, held a summit advocating for racial and “food justice” for the New England region, a region whose states all already rank within the top 30% for dedication to local food.

FSNE, which describes itself as a “network organized around…[transforming] the New England food system into a resilient driver of racial equity and food justice,” held this year’s event, the “50 by 60” summit, at Bridgeport Connecticut’s Housatonic Community College.

FSNE wants the New England region to attain a 50% rate of local food production by 2060.

However, according to the Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index, all states in New England already rank within the top 30% for dedication to local food. Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut are ranked in the top thirteen states, respectively.

Jonah Fertig, a Maine delegate to the summit who worked in social justice before turning to food, said he wants the next US president to “break up the big agribusiness monopolies” and wanted to see the “transferring of existing farmland into the hands of new and beginning farmers, particularly New American, women and veteran farmers.”

One of the goals of this year’s conference was reportedly increasing racial diversity.

“I walked out of the room just overwhelmed with whiteness. I took my concerns to the core group—it’s about being inclusive of all the people who live here,” said Marilyn Moore, a Connecticut Democratic state senator, of her experience at the 2012 summit in Burlington, Vermont.

In an effort to diversify, Food Solutions New England began inviting food chain employees, a population that is 40% non-white and 86% low-income, to the summits.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ShimshockAndAwe