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Feeding Justice: Why Food Justice is at the Heart of Our Mission

We believe that food justice centers food as a basic human right. It's about communities having power over our own food systems, allowing us to make decisions about what we grow, produce, distribute and consume. Food justice seeks to dismantle the underlying structures that create food apartheid, limited food access and disparities in nourishment. It decolonizes food systems through encompassing the preservation of traditional food systems, land stewardship and the recognition of cultural practices. And it calls for sustainable, locally sourced and ethically produced food that benefits both people and the planet.

How Does Oregon Food Bank Apply Food Justice?

We know that we cannot end hunger by simply providing emergency food assistance. To truly end hunger, we need to dismantle the root causes continuing food insecurity. The root causes of hunger are systemic injustices — including the intersectionalities of racism, classism, sexism and more — which create and perpetuate the conditions that sustain hunger and poverty. We center food justice in our mission not only through our bodies of work, but also by intentionally supporting and developing Oregon Food Bank staff. Within our programs, we aim to create lasting change through:

  1. Centering our Equity Constituencies: We commit to center those who most disproportionately experience hunger across our service area — Black, Indigenous and all People of Color, immigrants and refugees, gender expansive individuals (including Two-Spirit folks), and single mothers and caregivers — in ways that honor and value each other and our lived experiences.

    We resolve to be led by our communities — those with lived experience of systemic oppression and food insecurity. We will respond to racism and other inequities, both in our own work and in society-at-large. We will confront poverty and oppression through solutions that honor our shared humanity and respond to the diversity of community strengths and needs. And we will hold ourselves, our partners and our elected leaders accountable to the equity and racial justice priorities of our communities — and to the preservation of our interconnected health, dignity and well-being.

  2. Advocating for Systemic Change: Ending hunger starts with community power and a commitment to ending the unfair systems that create unequal access to food. Through organizing, advocacy and programming we amplify community leadership and support policies that put social justice and equity first.

    There’s no one better to name policy solutions to hunger than those of us who have experienced it first-hand. That’s where the Oregon Food Bank Policy Leadership Council comes in. Representing urban, rural and suburban communities from Adams to Grande Ronde, Ontario to Astoria, the 16-member statewide body brings an incredible depth of local leadership and lived experience to our vision. And it’s these leaders who identify the best pathways to address hunger through policy change in the legislature and at the ballot box. Sign up for our action alerts to join a community committed to ending hunger.

    In amplifying our communities, we grow grassroots power. For more information about Oregon Food Bank’s community engagement programs and leadership opportunities, take a look at the program descriptions at the link here.

  3. Connecting Food Justice and Social Justice: Food justice is aligned with other social justice movements as it recognizes the interconnectedness of social issues. When our community’s access to nourishing food is taken away, it intersects with other barriers we face, such as housing insecurity, access to healthcare, mass incarceration fueled by systemic racism and more.

    Through intentional and strategic partnerships within our communities, we grow equity-driven movements together. Learn more about food justice and other social justice work in our Hunger and Humanity series. In these blogs, we explore how different social issues are connected to Oregon Food Bank’s food justice work:

Food justice is a powerful approach to ending the root causes of hunger and transforming food systems. By centering food justice in our mission, Oregon Food Bank recognizes the importance of equity, decolonization and systemic change. We are committed to addressing the root causes of hunger and building a movement in partnership with those who have experienced and are impacted by food insecurity. We will grow alongside our community to build just and equitable communities that never know hunger... because food is a human right.

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