Radical Origins of the Food Justice Movement

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

This week’s episode is an excerpt from Conversations on Food Justice, a collaboration between Share Our Strength and the Aspen Institute’s Food and Society Program designed to examine the roots and evolution of the food movement and how it intersects with race and class, as well as health, educational, and environmental inequities. Human rights activist, poet, educator, Black Panther leader and former political prisoner Ericka Huggins and FoodLab Detroit Executive Director Devita Davison share their thoughts on the history of the food justice movement and the systemic inequalities that stand between a hungry child and healthy meal.

“There is a Somalian proverb that says, ‘poverty is slavery,’” says Huggins. “These inequities are in every institution of society because it was set up intentionally.” Davison recalls the collective memory of her family who endured the Greenwood Food Blockade. “We cannot free ourselves until we feed ourselves,” she says.

Resources and Mentions:

Ericka Huggins

Ericka Huggins

Ericka Huggins is a human rights activist, poet, educator, Black Panther leader and former political prisoner. For the past 30 years, she has lectured throughout the United States and internationally. Her extraordinary life experiences have enabled her to speak personally and eloquently on issues relating to the physical and emotional well-being of women, children and youth, whole being education, over incarceration, and the role of the spiritual practice in sustaining activism and promoting change.
Devita Davison

Devita Davison

Executive Director
Devita Davison is executive director at FoodLab Detroit, a membership-based nonprofit focused on entrepreneurs and communities who have been traditionally under-resourced that aims to build economic power and resilience by supporting locally owned food entrepreneurs. In this position since 2014, she works to cultivate, connect, and catalyze a supportive community of food entrepreneurs with the goal of creating a new food economy that acknowledges the importance of food justice, community representation, local ownership and sustainability. Davison was previously managing director of Detroit Kitchen Connect, a board member of Hopeful Harvest, and founder/owner of Southern Pantry Company. She was a 2014 TEDx Detroit speaker, 2014 UIX Urban Innovator

FoodLab Detroit

FoodLab Detroit is a community of food entrepreneurs committed to making the possibility of good food in Detroit a sustainable reality. They design, build, and maintain systems to grow a diverse ecosystem of triple-bottom-line food businesses as part of a good food movement that is accountable to all Detroiters.