Gather, Nourish, Engage
November 11, 2016
Yesterday, despite many of us waking up to what feels like a new and uncertain world, the farmers market provided some sense of routine and normalcy: farmers and food vendors set up their stands as they do every week, and shoppers gathered to see their friends, buy beautiful fall produce, and meet for lunch.
Like you, we are deeply concerned about the future and what the recent election results will mean in terms of civil rights, climate change, health care, food access, corporate influence over our food, and other pressing issues of our day. We are worried about the fate of America’s immigrants, who are a vital part of our communities and the lifeblood of our food system.
But in a time of many unknowns, you give us real hope. The grassroots food movement is growing, and the farmers market continues to be fertile ground for positive change. Sustainable agriculture holds incredible promise for the health of our communities, our children, our economy, and our planet.
We have been heartened by the results of local health and environmental initiatives:
San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany passed their soda tax measures. Despite tens of millions of dollars in oppositional spending from the American Beverage Association, the Bay Area took a strong stand against Big Soda and for public health.
Sonoma County voted to ban GMO crops from being grown in their fields, creating a 13,734-square-mile GMO-free swath of land, the largest in the United States.
Californians voted in favor of Proposition 67, making us the first state to ban single-use plastic bags, protecting the health of our wildlife and waterways.
As this movement grows, the CUESA farmers market has always been a place of connection, community, and common ground. It is the town square and a refuge in our increasingly complex world. For some of us, it is our connection to nature. It is also where we as citizens from diverse backgrounds, as urban and rural dwellers, gather and share in the rituals of good food.
With our community in mind, we are finding comfort in the following actions we can all take:
Gather. Take a break from the internet, get some fresh air, and come together with your friends at the farmers market. Throughout the winter, farmers still wake up in the dark hours of morning to bring fresh produce to market. They’re here for you, and they cannot survive without your support.
Nourish yourself and your loved ones. “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him,” said Cesar Chavez, “The people who give you their food give you their heart.” Cooking is grounding, and helps us form strong bonds with each other. Find a few heart-warming winter recipes for feeding a family or group here, here, and here.
Engage. There has never been a better time to engage in your community and the issues you care most about. Inform yourself on these issues and connect with others who also want to get involved. On November 30, CUESA will host a discussion with local food movement leaders about the outcomes of the election and how we can continue to organize and build momentum for positive change. We hope to see you there.
As we continue to digest the week’s news, we are thinking deeply about how we can best serve you and welcome more people to the table in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
We are strengthening our resolve to lift up family farmers and small business owners who are committed to doing things a more socially and environmentally just way; provide opportunities for people of color, immigrants, women, LGBTQ communities, and the next generation to succeed; and support families, teachers, and youth in nurturing a healthy and inclusive culture, where everyone has access to good food.
We are with you and want to hear from you. There is much work to do to create a healthy and just food system for all, and your voice and participation are needed now more than ever. How can we support you in this changing landscape? What issues are you most concerned about? What stories do you want to hear?
We are deeply grateful for you—the diverse and defiantly hopeful community of eaters, farmers, food workers, chefs, activists, and supporters who are our allies in this movement for positive change. You feed our hope for a better future, against any odds.
Standing with you in love,
Your friends at CUESA
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