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Five Things You Can Do Today To Build an Equitable Food System

radical gardening 101

At growing gardens, we believe that food, as a universal language, connects us all - And the way that we produce, distribute, and consume our food has a profound impact on our relationship to the earth and to each other. As advocates, activists, and social justice leaders, each one of us plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of our food system.

As a gardening nonprofit, It will come as no surprise that we advocate for gardening as a means of cultivating a healthier and more equitable tomorrow. But what can you do if you just don’t have a green thumb? This blog aims to uncover five actionable steps you can take today, whether you plan to garden or not. 


1 - Get to Know The National Farm Bill

As a comprehensive piece of legislation, the National Farm Bill outlines policies that influence everything from crop subsidies to nutrition assistance programs. By reading and understanding the National Farm Bill, you empower yourself to engage in the democratic process. Armed with this knowledge, you can better advocate for amendments that promote sustainable and equitable agricultural practices, address food deserts, and support local farmers. 

Your Advocacy In Action 

  • Follow this link to the National Farm Bill
  • Read these supporting articles
  • Reach out and ask questions! We’re here to help! 


2 - Support Small Local Farms

Supporting small local farms is crucial for a fair and equal food system. When you buy local produce, it helps the local economy by directly supporting farmers and their teams. But It's not just about money – choosing local produce also helps the environment. It encourages environmentally friendly farming practices that keep the soil healthy, protect water, and promote biodiversity. Plus, buying locally reduces the carbon footprint caused by transporting food over long distances. This all adds up to a more sustainable and eco-friendly food system. In a nutshell, backing small local farms is a well-rounded approach. It boosts the local economy, supports environmentally friendly farming, and sets the stage for a healthier and more equal food system.

Your Advocacy In Action 

  • Identify one local farm in your area and go for a visit
  • Find and frequent your local farmers' market
  • Invest in a CSA subscription or farm share if you are able! 


3 - Cook and Preserve Fresh Food at Home

Cooking and preserving local produce at home is an often overlooked and underrated practice. From a health perspective, preparing meals with locally sourced ingredients allows you to harness the unmatched freshness of seasonal produce. By utilizing these ingredients, you enjoy the benefits of a diet rich in essential nutrients and support local farmers, promoting a more direct and sustainable connection between producers and consumers. This creates a cyclical relationship where the community's health is intertwined with the well-being of local agriculture, fostering a holistic approach to nutrition.

On the equity front, cooking and preserving local produce at home actively disrupts the conventional reliance on large-scale, centralized food distribution systems. This practice encourages a diversified and decentralized food supply chain, making fresh, local ingredients more accessible to a broader spectrum of the population. It reduces dependency on big-box grocers, democratizing access to nutritious food options.

Finally, home preservation methods such as canning and dehydrating are powerful tools for curbing food waste. Reducing waste contributes to a more equitable food system by ensuring that locally grown produce is utilized efficiently, reaching a wider audience, and addressing food security challenges within the community. 

Your Advocacy In Action 

  • Commit to cooking three meals at home each week- this could be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. Have fun with this, and try new ingredients!
  • Buy your ingredients from small local farms and businesses
  • Try to preserve one new ingredient each month! 


4 - Support Small, Local, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Owned Business 

Choosing small, local, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-owned food businesses is pivotal to constructing a healthier, more equitable food system. From an economic perspective, supporting these businesses contributes to the economic prosperity of communities of color. By patronizing these establishments, consumers actively participate in wealth redistribution, fostering economic empowerment and job creation within historically marginalized groups. The economic benefits extend beyond individual businesses, creating a ripple effect as money circulates within the local community, reinforcing financial stability and resilience.

Endorsing small, local, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-owned food businesses is a powerful driver of cultural preservation, diversity, and respect. These businesses often offer unique culinary experiences that celebrate the richness of diverse food traditions. By choosing to engage with and invest in these establishments, consumers play a role in preserving cultural heritage while promoting a more inclusive and diverse food landscape. This diversity enhances the vibrancy and authenticity of the local culinary scene and contributes to a broader understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures within the community. Supporting these businesses is a tangible way to build equity, amplify historically underrepresented voices, and create a more inclusive and culturally rich food system for everyone. 

Your Advocacy In Action 

  • Find three Black, Indigenous, or People of Color-owned businesses in your area.
  • Identify at least three items you can start buying at these stores
  • Commit to shopping for these items there exclusively! 


5 - Follow local Food System Leaders

Thought leaders, including farmers, restaurant owners, gardeners, and representatives of hunger nonprofits, are often at the forefront of driving positive change within their communities. Engaging with their insights and initiatives can help individuals better understand local challenges and innovative solutions in the food system. This knowledge empowers community members to make informed choices that align with the values of sustainability, equity, and social justice.

Additionally, following local food system thought leaders fosters community and shared purpose. Through social media, newsletters, and community events, individuals can stay connected with these thought leaders, participating in ongoing conversations about local food issues. This engagement creates a network of informed and motivated individuals who collectively advocate for policies and practices that promote a more equitable food system. By amplifying the voices of these thought leaders, community members contribute to creating a resilient and responsive local food ecosystem where collaboration and shared knowledge drive positive change. Following local food system thought leaders provides valuable insights and builds a community of advocates actively working towards a healthier and more equitable food future.

Your Advocacy In Action 

  • Find three food system thought leaders in your area
  • Follow them on social media
  • Subscribe to their newsletter
  • Read their blogs or download their podcasts
  • Actively engage in the comments section!

In Summary 

The journey towards a healthier and more equitable food system begins with individual choices and collective actions. By embracing the five actionable steps outlined in this blog, each person, whether a seasoned gardener or not, becomes a catalyst for positive change. Understanding the intricacies of the National Farm Bill, supporting local farms, cooking and preserving at home, endorsing small, local, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color owned businesses, and following local food system thought leaders are all threads woven into the fabric of a more just and sustainable food landscape. As advocates, activists, and social justice leaders, our power lies in our convictions and everyday choices. Let these actions be more than a checklist but a testament to our commitment to fostering a food system where equity, sustainability, and community well-being thrive. Together, we sow the seeds of transformation, cultivating a future where everyone can access nourishing, culturally rich, and locally sourced food and where our collective efforts pave the way for a fairer and more resilient world.

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