Build a more sustainable and just food system by engaging your community and acting on the issues that matter to you.
1 Become an Informed Citizen
Learn how your local and national government’s policies affect the food you eat. Read up on the Farm Bill, which is negotiated every 5-6 years. “The Farm Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation coming out of Congress,” says Michael Pollan. “It really should be called the Food Bill, because it is the rules for the food system we all eat by.” Educate your friends and family about what you discover.
2 Raise Your Voice
Join a grassroots organization dedicated to building a better food system, and sign up to receive action alerts about important issues. Contact your local officials about what they are doing to promote good food in your community. Stay informed, and call or write your congressional representatives about causes that matter to you. “We’re all citizens,” says Anna Lappé. “We’re all part of a democracy that should be responsive to our voices.”
3 Organize a Campaign
Work with your congregation, school administrators, or workplace managers to make health and sustainability a priority. You might campaign to remove vending machines, start a composting program, or establish a food recovery system. Form a sustainability team to work on greening your organization’s food choices. Post information on bulletin boards to educate others, start conversations, and invite participation.
4 Exercise Parent Power
Convene a meeting of parents and educators to talk about school food. Use the Nourish film or short videos to kick off the conversation. Get acquainted with your School Wellness Policy. It’s law that any school that receives federal food assistance have one. Get involved with the wellness council, and if it’s dormant, help to revive it. Teachers, parents, and students should be included.
5 Insist on Healthy Food for All
Learn about food justice. Ask your local farmers market to accept electronic food stamps (known as EBT), if they don’t already. Urge corner stores to carry fresh foods and healthy snacks. Volunteer for a senior nutrition program such as Meals on Wheels. Become active in organizations that serve vulnerable communities with such programs as urban farms and farmers markets, health and nutrition education, and youth leadership.
6 Rally Your Community
Form a community food coalition including citizens and leaders from local groups, farms, businesses, and schools. Conduct a community food assessment to gather information about your local food resources and discover ways to make your community more food-secure. Set goals for growing a sustainable local food culture.
- Slow Food USA: A national network of food advocates with a chapter in you area
- Food Democracy Now: A grassroots community dedicated to building a sustainable food system
- Food & Water Watch: Information about policies affecting food and water
- Community Food Security Coalition: Community food assessment resources
- Rooted in Community: A diverse network of youth and food justice groups