Forging Links Between Food Chain Labor Activists and Academics
Keywords:Academic, Activist, Community-Engaged Scholarship, Food Movements, Food Justice, Food Systems, Food Workers, Labor, Teaching
Interest in food movements has been growing dramatically, but until recently there has been limited engagement with the challenges facing workers across the food system. Of the studies that do exist, there is little focus on the processes and relationships that lead to solutions. This article explores ways that community-engaged teaching and research partnerships can help to build meaningful justice with food workers. The text builds on a special roundtable session held at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Chicago in April 2015, which involved a range of academic scholars and community-based activists. We present these insights through a discussion of key perspectives on collaborative research and teaching and learning as food-labor scholar-activists. We argue that despite significant gaps in the way that food movements are addressing labor issues, community-campus collaborations present an opportunity for building alliances to foster food justice. Building on our collective analysis and reflection, we point to five recommendations for fostering collaboration: connecting to personal experience; building trust; developing common strategies; building on previous community efforts; and, appreciating power differences and reciprocating accordingly. We conclude with some final thoughts on future research directions.
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