Food Justice Day – October 15th 2021

In conjunction with WVU Art in the Libraries

Since 2014, we have organized Food Justice Day on WVU campus to foster conversations about the food system, agriculture, fair trade networks, cooperativism, nutrition, food insecurity and hunger. This year in conjunction with the launch of the WVU Art in the Libraries Food Justice Exhibit and the United Nations World Food Day we invite you to join us again for a series of events that will launch a year of reflection on how we might collectively advance the movement for food justice, sustainable and resilient food futures in West Virginia and beyond.

9-11am – Nourishing Networks Coffee Hour – BROOKS HALL 309

Building networks of solidarity around food justice is a long-haul endeavor. We look forward to reconnecting with the many people and organizations involved in advancing equitable food futures in West Virginia and open space for young people interested in this work to find a place to get involved that fits their interests and skillsets. 
We will present findings from the 2021 Nourishing Networks report followed by a discussion about how we build solidarities across difference that serve to enact a resilient and inclusive food futures in our region, one that can guarantee the right to food for all. 

2:30-4pm – Labor and Food Justice in Appalachia – BROOKS HALL 325

Food is the largest employment sector in the United States. Over 20 million people work to produce, process, distribute and sell food every day, 14% of the country’s labor force. The COVID-19 pandemic clearly revealed that this labor is essential, even as our foodways have been divided into those who must stay out picking produce, butchering animals, restocking grocery shelves, and prepping food in kitchens , and those who do not have to take on the same risks of exposure to nourish themselves. 

A disproportionate number of food workers live in poverty, relying on federal food assistance programs to make ends meet, significant racial and gender wage gaps exist in the sector, and many face discrimination, health, and public safety concerns at work. 
The value of labor in the food system is central to questions of Food Justice, yet in West Virginia and across the region, the movement has yet to effectively organize with the diversity of workers that continue to bring food to us every day. In this panel we open a conversation about the intersecting issues of labor, migration and worker rights, and the essential place that workers can play in the movement for Food Justice when they are welcomed to the table. 

The WVU Food Justice Lab is an experimental space for research and action focused on challenging food system inequalities. We are housed in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University.  In addition to working with research partners we mentor, advise and support students working on food, environmental and development issues while they pursue degrees in geography and related fields at the Ph.D., M.A. and undergraduate levels at WVU. Students affiliated with the Food Justice Lab participate in seminars, research, and real-world problem solving associated with our on-going projects.  Students are also encouraged and supported to experiment with new ways of combining learning, research, and action to create alternative futures.