WE LAUNCHED GFJ IN 2010...
on a platform of culture. Namely, food culture.
Dor + Tay
We were - and still remain - opposed to the way that modern food culture was taking the culture out - removing us from the source of our food, removing the joy of slow cooking, home cooking, seasonal eating, and food preservation. We always knew there was more to the story of food, and we were eager to live it, tell it, and share it.
Culture can be defined using all kinds of different rhetoric, but essentially it is the set of daily occurrences, practices, beliefs, and notions - whether proclaimed or simply present - that create the current in which we all move. Much of the time it's so ingrained that you may not feel the current pushing you in any one direction, until you look back and realize how far you've gone - that over months, years, and decades, these 'subtleties' of daily life become so baked into our culture that we don't question them - or even worse, notice them.
Last week, we talked about the wisdom we stand to lose when we place rationalism above all other values. In response, we heard from a newsletter reader who pointed out that capitalism is the root of what drives us, as a culture, away from valuing human beings, and we appreciated that point so much, we wanted to dive a little deeper. (@socialclub406 provides a great visual on how elements of our current culture intersect and connect.)
As Robert H. Frank pointed out recently in the New York Times, "The lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing have reaffirmed a central finding from the large literature on the determinants of human well-being: Beyond a point long since passed for prosperous Americans, increases in many forms of private consumption have little impact on health or happiness. They merely raise the bar that defines adequate. If all mansions were doubled in size, for instance, those who lived in them would be neither happier nor healthier than before."
Capitalism is a system which, akin to our food system, drives everything to be faster, bigger, cheaper, more - often at the cost of variety, complexity, and nuance. At GFJ, the idea of 'the way things are supposed to be' never rang true for us on a personal or professional level. So we've pushed against the common narrative, always hoping to create something different.
But even when we saw how the White dominant culture controlled the dialogue, down to the level of what we commonly view as 'successful' (there's a reason why so many job requirements include the same statements over and over again, such as being an 'organized self-starter') we were still participating: taking personal pride in being obsessively punctual, adhering to tight deadlines, being extroverted, and emphasizing the written word. It's not that those characteristics don't have their value or use at times, but when our view of success is narrow, we lose the depth, complexity, wealth of knowledge and richness that comes with different viewpoints and experiences.
Instead of asking, 'What does success look like?' we invite you to consider, 'What can success look like?'
In an On Being conversation with Robin DiAngelo, therapist and writer Resmaa Menakem advocated that we begin to look at "how to build culture around abolishing white supremacy." This is part of our job at GFJ, to redefine and redevelop work culture in a way that meets and sustains our belief in the value of food culture, recognizing that the food culture itself is driven by the human beings who make up communities of eaters around the globe.
We look forward to sharing more of that process with you next week, and practicing, practicing, practicing...
In food, justice, and food justice,
Full Bloom Flower Farm photographed by Michael A. Estrada for GFJ Stories
resources on anti-racism, environmentalism and food culture AKA stuff we're reading / listening to / watching / noticing / thinking about / captivated by this Tuesday . . .
What does it take for Black womxn to thrive in the workplace? Ericka Hines of Every Level Leads invites you to help support the research by learning more and donating to the work.
“Especially if you hold mostly privileged identities, vicarious minority stress might actually feel unbearable. Let that despair radicalize you to reject complicit denial and silence.” - Araya Baker, on 5 ways activists can keep their stamina up.
@chefjennydorsey debunks some common sentiments in the food industry, such as 'why can't I just cook what I want and like?' and 'food shouldn't be so political - food is supposed to bring us together'.
“At this point, we cannot rely on the voices and the lens of a narrow-set of folks. We need everyone's input, participation, and advocacy.” - Shelby Stone-Steel, on Environmentalism and Intersectionality.
Less than 100 days until Election Day. No one should have to choose between their paycheck and their vote. This isn't about politics, it's about participation.
From the Russ & Daughters crew, ess gezunterheit.
An eye-opening, detailed look at the subtext behind the reporting on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez's recent courage in the face of patriarchy.
got a tidbit? drop it here for us and we'll share it in next week's newsletter.