In the past few weeks, thousands of folks have gathered in Occupy demonstrations across the country to protest the greed of banks, the power of corporations, widespread unemployment, the widest income gap in US history.
This corporate control has affected all of us - the farm families that have been forced off the land, leading to factory farms and industrial, chemical intensive agribusiness; and the eaters who are facing dwindling choices in the food system, higher costs for organic and local products, and degradation of our national natural resource base. Food is too important to be put into the hands of a few corporations!
The mission of HOMEGROWN.org is to "create a place where our love for food and the land evolves, deepens, and becomes something more fulfilling. A place where we can hear and appreciate the bigger stories that our food has to share – and connect to the source of our food: the land and the grower: The family farm." Our goal as a community is to empower all of the growers, producers, eaters, chefs, craftspeople, builders, makers, and do-ers to get involved and share their skills, to feel inspired and to embrace living HOMEGROWN. The DIY movement has freed us from corporate control of our kitchens and gardens.
By living HOMEGROWN, all of us are occupying the food system and forging an independence from corporate control on some level: by planting and growing gardens to feed our families and communities, supporting family farmers in new markets, trying new recipes that feature local, seasonal foods, building/making/crafting everyday items, and reducing consumption, reusing/repurposing our stuff, and recycling or composting waste.
Food is the tie that binds all Americans, from farmers to eaters, together. Invite those who are occupying and those who are not into the food conversation. Be inspired to bring your skills and food sovereignty knowledge to your local movement:
Start your own occupation in your kitchen or garden.
What Occupy movements are happening in your town or city? How can we inject the problems with our food system into these Occupy conversations? What can each of us do to bring the corporate control of agriculture to the table? There are lots of ways to Occupy the food system at home or with the public. Let us know what changes you’re making and how you’re getting involved! Share stories, photos, videos, and ideas with us!
So, learned that there's now an Occupy Rural page... https://www.facebook.com/pages/OccupyRural/244176495635068
and a couple others...
In our little corner of the Missouri Ozarks, I've been working for a few months now to organize local food producers and artisans into a co-op. The area has deals with generational poverty and the many health issues that go along with that. There's never been any real "industry" there, consequently, I think we're in a pretty good place. There's not been the boom and bust history of markets there. Folks have always produced more for themselves and relied heavily on an alternative economy of barter. The Oregon County Food Producers' and Artisans' Co-op seeks to centralize that exchange. The thought is to have a year-around market building where all forms of capital (monetary and otherwise) are appreciated and utilized. There will also be educational outreach or skill sharing to contribute to community sustainability. Check it out.
Hey Rachel! Thanks for these links...so glad this movement is popping up all over the place. Have you been to any of these demonstrations? Food on their docket?
I am impressed by your organization of the co-op! You're doing really great and admirable work! Best of luck :) Keep us updated with your progress!
Hi Caroline! We hosted an Occupy meetup discussion at our house in Couch, MO. Only one person showed up, so there were three of us and two babies (lol). We still had a wonderful discussion about personal and community action that could effect positive change. I made banana bread for the occasion and Leza, the woman who joined us made some rasberry kefir from her goats.
Later that evening we had a march from Juggbutt's (our local coffee house/makeshift arts center) to Harp's (our local grocery store) and back. There was 7 of us. Our signs varied but mine mentioned growing your own food and/or supporting those in your community that do and another had our Co-Op's unofficial logo, "I eat local because I can" with Ball jars on it. So food was a key factor in our small protest.
Thanks for your support and for facilitating this discussion!
Yes, there was a couple that have a diversified farm with lamb, goats, chickens, draft horses, garden, and highland cattle and a woman that raises horses of all sorts, goats, and chickens. We've got a large garden, fruit trees, and grapes...no animals at the moment. So other than the babies, everyone was/is a food producer on some scale.
Here's a really cool site where you can call in and record your concerns and offer solutions in terms of Occupy and rural communities. Would be great to get some of the food stories in the soundcloud!
and here's today's article on rural Occupy from the Art of the Rural...
Occupy the Pasture has begun! Steph Larsen of the Center for Rural Affairs has started the Occupy the Pasture movement in Lyons, Nebraska. Check out this great interview with her about why she is choosing to Occupy the Pasture. Here's an important snippet that hits the core of our messaging here on HOMEGROWN:
GELLERMAN: So, Steph, what’s the message from your pasture?
LARSEN: Well, Bruce, when I was in college, I came to the conclusion that if I believed that the current economic system was unjust, then the most rebellious thing that I could do was grow my own food. That way, the primary means of my own sustenance would be out of the control of corporations. So I think the message of Occupy the Pasture is do what can to grow your own food, and what you can’t grow yourself, support the locally owned businesses that can do it for you.
GELLERMAN: Well, of course there is not a lot of pastureland or farmland in cities!
LARSEN: There’s still lots of ways that people in cities can grow things from a front yard patch of tomatoes and peppers, to a community garden plot, even a pot of herbs in a windowsill it taking some of your food out of the corporate economy.
If you can’t or chose not to do any of those things, it’s important to show demand for locally produced products from small, local farmers. Dollars spent at locally owned businesses bounce around a community and strengthen that community’s economy much more than dollars spent at multi-national businesses.