“Ecology and Liberation” explored with Summer Service Fellows

This summer as we’ve been working with the Mobile Oasis project, we’ve also been researching and reading about the intersections between food systems and theology. Recently we’ve been reading Leonardo Boff’s Ecology & Liberation, which offers up ways in which theology must fundamentally shift to address the environment and our relationship to it.

The beginning of Boff’s book focuses on the ways human beings but specifically industrialized western nations have caused significant negative environmental damage, and how that has helped shape and affect our systems of power as well. Boff outlines how our ideologies of power and growth have negatively affected our most marginalized community members as well as the environment itself. He states that our model of growth takes from the workers and environment and that “The benefits are available only to a restricted group of nations or to the upper classes of a nation, and they do not include the well-being of nature.” (Boff pg. 20) In understanding this, and looking at the different communities we work with, we can see the ways in which communities working together for food sovereignty is truly a revolutionary and critical act. Growing food and establishing markets to promote food sovereignty and access allows communities to not only better the environment but reclaim power in a system that steals wealth, food, and clean environmental conditions from them. This is especially true in situations like those in Greensboro where communities who seek to grow their own food face further challenges of polluted and barren land as a result of racist and classist laws and pollution. 

How do we get heard, how do we stop these communities from being abused or disregarded in ways that permanently damage the land and the people that live on it? For example on a national level, how have we allowed such a prolonged water crisis to affect Flint, Michigan?

How are we mindful of the divides in our communities and food system? And in what ways are we passive to them?

In understanding establishing food sovereignty as a radical reclamation of power, what else can be done within Greensboro and within Guilford to secure a healthy food system for the most marginalized among us?