My action project theme was on Movements and we decided to focus on Workers’ Rights in the global food system. Our initial idea was to interview people in a variety of roles in the food system and to compile the interviews into a minidocumentary to showcase the experience of workers in this sector. However, this idea did not quite come to form. We realized that creating a documentary would require more film and more editing skill than any of us possessed. So, we switched gears and created a blog. The blog features videos of people we interviewed, written posts about the conversations we had and lessons we learned, and some resources for how to empower workers.
Personally I got the opportunity to interview multiple business owners at the University District Farmers Market to collect content for our blog posts. These interviews were incredibly fun to do, and well received by the vendors. They were very open to answering our questions. In fact, the most surprising part of these interviews in my opinion were how deeply the farmers were able to respond to our questions. It showed that they reflected on their roles often, and on the larger system in general. I expected to go into these interviews and teach the public about the food system. In reality, I was the one learning from their experiences. What I did not realize before was that, as integral parts of the food system themselves, the vendors would have a lot to say about industrialized food and its role in society.
Many of the vendors agreed that industrialized food has gone too far. They stated that foods in grocery stores are more artificial, less healthy, and less empowering for consumers than organic foods. Though, they said, the prices in supermarkets can be good, this takes away from the quality of the foods. Most of them also agreed that it is important to eat locally. With these two things in mind, it can be said that most of the people selling at the farmers market want to see a food system that is more localized and more cooperative between people rather than companies. I myself would like to see the same.
I am incredibly grateful to have gotten to have these kinds of conversations with people. Knowing them has lead me to have more faith in humanity because it is clear that people see change is needed in society.