VISTA Stories: JULY 2010

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Another World is Possible

By Kristin Pedersen, Development Associate at Food Systems Network NYC

Somewhere in Detroit, orange braceleted activists were discussing the rights of domestic workers, pushing for more transparent democracy, and taking breaks to eat ice cream in support of rural farmers. It did, in fact, seem like another Detroit was happening, as promised in the addendum to the week’s slogan: “Another World Is Possible, Another U.S. Is Necessary.”  This U.S. Social Forum, which took place June 22nd through June 26th, was the second time such a gathering has happened in the U.S. The first occurred in 2007 in Atlanta, growing out of the World Social Forum movement. This time, over 15,000 activists and organizers had descended on venues throughout Detroit to discuss, build, and act. 

Meanwhile, I was uprooting Bermuda grass. Organizers with the Brooklyn Food Coalition had arranged the transportation and lodging for nearly forty food justice advocates and allies making the trip to Detroit. Furthermore, they found work brigade opportunities for us to volunteer at the wonderful Smallville Community Farm with our Detroit host, Michelle Jackson. We were able to assist as Smallville installed its first hoop house. The hoops may not have all turned out exactly the same shape, but overall we had an inspiring time getting dirty and connecting with a group helping to reconfigure Detroit and educate its youth about urban farming. 

Besides the work brigade mornings, there were over 1,000 workshops from which we could choose. I learned more about food sovereignty from farmers working with Via Campesina in Haiti, Honduras, and Palestine. I thought about my own connection to the history of food production in “By Any Greens Necessary.” It was a week for building movements, and the energy created during the forum will carry those returning to NYC and other communities around the country forward into a more interconnected future of grassroots power and opportunity.