To: NPC list
From: Jackie Smith (Sociologists without Borders)
Date: November 4, 2012
RE: Preparations for Chicago Meeting
I was just reading the newsletter from the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, which has been developed through the USSF process. I include an excerpt from the USFSA newsletter, because it reflects some of the conversations we've been having in the NPC, and I think it shows that:
1) networks/alliances/processes that have converged in the USSF are having similar conversations to the NPC's about intersectionality; transforming power and leadership; etc. • the USSF has been helpful in encouraging/supporting these questions/conversations and • there is a larger recognition of a need for structures and processes to support this work;
Because we’re meeting next week to discuss how the USSF can be most effective as a tool to facilitate this sort of dialogue and learning, I think there may be some ideas here of how we can think about aiding/supporting/complementing the work that the USFSA is trying to do with its learning calls, webinars, popular education on dismantling racism, and mobilizing grassroots leadership & skills.
• Can the USSF be a space for supporting these conversations/ analyses/dialogues across multiple areas of concern/mobilization?
• Can the USSF process and networks help bring some needed skill/experience/resources to the work USFSA and others are trying to do?
o What are these?
o How best to do this?
o Can the USSF website, PMA process, and other platforms support or enhance learning calls, webinars, other popular education like that being done/proposed by USFSA?
• To the extent that any future USSF would be more intentional in how its content is planned and recruited, might the USFSA network be one to draw from (note some NPC members are part of USFSA)?
FROM US Food Sovereignty Alliance October 2012 newsletter: Italic text
Transforming Alliance Leadership & Structure TeamUpdate
Members: Alison Cohen, Christina Schiavoni, Lorrie Clevenger & Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau (all with WhyHunger), Andrew Kang Bartlett (Presbyterian Hunger Program), Blain Snipstal & Angela Ardrar (Rural Coalition), Ben Yahola (Tulsa Indigenous Action/ Growing Food & Justice Initiative), Ceci Charles-King (Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association), Cynthia Price (Grand Rapids FoodSystems Council), Dave Andrews (Food & Water Watch), Deepa Panchang (Other Worlds), Marcia Ishii-Eiteman (Pesticide Action Network), Monica White (Detroit Black Community Food Security), Navina Khanna (LiveReal/ Movement Strategy Center), Rosalinda Guillen (Community to Community Development), Sharon Wong (TURF).
Summary: As we all know, the food system in the U.S. is dysfunctional and unjust. Our own movement reflects many of these contradictions and divides. This is why members of the USFSA and participants in the Oakland 2011 Assembly recommitted to work together to ensure that as social justice advocates, we are conscious of issues of privilege and oppression in our work together and take action to recognize and dismantle those oppressions within our Alliance and through our joint work. A group of us joined this team to explore how and in what ways we can move this work forward and, in the process, spur a transformation in USFSA leadership and structure to a more grassroots and community-led form.
Outcomes from 2012 calls:
1. The team had several conversations in the first half of 2012, before going on "summer/fall hiatus." The work of this team fell under two main categories: a) dismantling structural and systemic oppressions within the Alliance and b) exploring possible new leadership or organizing models for the Alliance.
2. The team felt that conversations about how to dismantle structural and systemic oppressions within the Alliance and through our work are too important to take place only within this team. Further, a great deal of rich experience and wisdom is available within the larger community of Alliance members. We therefore proposed that the Alliance as a whole create the space or process to facilitate collective and shared learning about these oppressions, along with concrete actions to recognize and dismantle them within our Alliance and through our joint work. This conversation (or series of conversations) could perhaps take place through open learning calls.
3. If the Alliance requests it, this team could potentially help organize an "open learning call" for the Alliance; we could also identify useful webinars and other resources on dismantling racism, including skilled facilitators. We discussed finding resource people who would be available to help structure conversations that can assist us when talking about deconstructing racism, among other things. This might require some funding. Future work by the team could be conducting research into and proposing alternative leadership structures for consideration by the Alliance. (Note: various members have joined or had to leave the team due to changes in their time/availability, so we would need to reconvene to assess our capacities to deliver on the above ideas, if they are in fact requested by the Alliance.)
4. In order to help shift the leadership of the Alliance into a more grassroots, community-based leadership, we suggest that each of the USFSA working groups (teams) nominate one or two active, community/grassroots-oriented member to join the "Interim Coordinating Committee" now, as well as this leadership transformation team.
Please contact for further information and/or to join group: Marcia Ishii-Eiteman (Pesticide Action Network), email@example.com.