Pollinating Organizations

While our connections with each other were based on personal relationships and not on organizational links, most of us are part of coalitions or food movements, both local and global. In the Canadian context, for example, Dianne has connected with Ecological Farmers of Ontario, Canadian Organic Growers and the National Farmers Union (NFU), while her son Dan was active with the NFU’s Young Agrarians, which sent him as a delegate to meetings in the U.S. and Brazil of Via Campesina, the largest global food sovereignty coalition of 80 million peasants and Indigenous peoples in over 80 countries. In Mexico, Fulvio founded an agroecological network, Red Coyote, and through workshops throughout the country, makes connections with innovative projects. He has also promoted an exchange with farmers in Ontario, through his ongoing collaboration with Plan B Organic Farm.

Chandra and Rick are deeply involved with communities in Haudenosaunee territory, in both upstate New York, as well as southern Ontario, from Six Nations to Tyendinaga to Kanawake near Montreal. They are often featured speakers on issues of Haudenosaunee history and food in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous conferences and gatherings; in 2018, Chandra brought 130 people together in “The Law is in the Seed: A Community CORNvergence”.

During their work with UniTierra (University of the Land) in Oaxaca, Mexico, Angel and Valiana became part of food sovereignty organizations in the state, and have also been regular delegates to the National Indigenous Congress gatherings in Chiapas. Through ongoing student exchanges, they have developed strong links with Trent University in Peterborough Ontario, and with ChocoSol traders in Toronto.

Several of us are integrated into the urban agricultural community in Toronto. Leticia of Black Creek Community Farm, is also a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council, and chair of a Canadian international NGO Seeds of Diversity. Lauren has previously led the Toronto Food Policy Council, Sustain Ontario, was vice-chair of Food Secure Canada, the major NGO of the food movement, and is chair of a new initiative, the Peoples Food Institute. Through her current work with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, she connects with food advocacy organizations around the world. Deborah has participated in Food Secure Canada and the Canadian Association of Food Studies, and with John has attended regular gatherings of the Agricultural, Food and Human Values Society.

Mexican Legacies collaborators visit First Nations House at Trent University.

Our hope is that this educational package will encourage users to seek out the organizations in their communities, regions and nations that connect people working for just, healthy and culturally-appropriate foods. The videos can be used in cross-sectoral gatherings, as we did in 2019 when we screened “Why Farmers Markets?”1 in a local cinema as part of Toronto’s Urban Agricultural Week. All of the facilitator’s guides include links to organizations that are relevant for each theme, promoting collective action growing out of greater awareness of food justice and food sovereignty issues.

The local, regional, and national organizations that Legacies collaborators are connected to, are part of broader social movements. In many ways, they experience at a micro level the macro struggles for food sovereignty, truth and reconciliation, diverse ways of knowing and equity elaborated in the earlier chapter, “Dynamic Tensions.”

Like the bees that opened this chapter, the potential for future pollinations – across borders, cultures, languages, generations, and mediums – is uncertain. If anything, this current crisis is a humbling reminder that we need to be constantly listening, and in particular to the many ways that other beings are communicating to us.

What are we hearing?
What are we learning?
What are we doing

  1. See “Why Farmers Markets?” video