Working for Justice in Food Systems on Stolen Land? Interrogating Food Movements Confronting Settler Colonialism
Keywords:Australia; Canada; food movements; Indigenous food sovereignty; settler colonialism
The evolving practice and scholarship surrounding food movements aim to address social, political, economic and ecological crises in food systems. However, limited interrogation of settler colonialism remains a crucial gap. Settler colonialism is the ongoing process of invasion that works to systematically erase and replace Indigenous Peoples with settler populations and identities. While many progressive and well-intentioned food movements engage directly with issues of land, water, identity, and power, critics argue they have also reified capitalism, white supremacy, agro-centrism and private property that are central to the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous Peoples. Scholars and advocates have called for greater accountability to the contradictions inherent in working towards social and ecological justice on stolen land. We write this paper as three settler activist-scholars to interrogate ways that social movements are responding to this call. A community-engaged methodology was used to conduct semi-structured interviews with individuals working in settler-led food movement organizations in Northwestern Ontario, Canada and in Southern Australia. We present our findings through three intersecting categories: 1) Expressions of settler inaction; 2) Mere inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and ideas; and, 3) Productive engagements and visions to confront settler colonialism. To explore the possibility of deeper engagements that confront settler colonialism, we suggest a continuum that moves from situating our(settler)selves within the framework of settler colonialism to (re)negotiating relationships with Indigenous Peoples to actualizing productive positions of solidarity with Indigenous struggles. We argue that this work is essential for food movements that aim to transform relationships with the land, each other, and ultimately forge more sustainable and equitable food futures.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Michaela Bohunicky, Charles Levkoe, Nick Rose
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