Dear CAGJ friend—
What a year it has been. We write to you full of hope, uncertainty, excitement, apprehension, love, loss, gratitude, overwhelm, and with a sense of yearning, that perhaps this year of crisis may also be the birthplace of a world new. We honor the Black Lives Matter movement in particular for engaging so many in critical discussions and action in 2020 towards a more just future.
Over the summer, we wrapped up our Strategic Planning and Assessment Process we began in 2019, culminating in an updated vision, mission, values, and strategies, all outlined in our new Theory of Change. We are coming upon our 20th anniversary next year, and saw this as an opportune time to reflect on our history to intentionally guide our next twenty years. This would not have been possible had it not been for the Dream Team, a group of dedicated CAGJ members, who have spent countless hours driving the process.
Food Justice Project: Connection in a Time of Disconnection
- In June, July, and August, our incredible Organizing Collective hosted the second cohort of Rise Up! Summer School, entitled Cultivating Resilient Food Systems in Times of Crisis. Despite being online, it was a success, with over 100 registrants, participation free of charge, a rich curriculum available to all on our website, and many new faces joining our Food Justice Project.
- Inspired by conversations during summer school, our burgeoning food justice leaders are creating the third edition of our zine—Our Food, Our Right—centering lessons learned from the intense challenges of 2020. Check out our call for submissions!
- Summer School participants organized a fundraising campaign for farmworker union Familias Unidas por la Justicia, amplifying the struggles of striking fruit-packing workers in Eastern WA, who demanded better pay and stronger workplace standards to protect against COVID.
- We were able to surpass our fundraising goal and raised $21,000 in solidarity with FUJ’s efforts, while building grassroots fundraising and leadership skills in the process!
- We’ve spent years organizing in solidarity with Northwest tribes against genetically engineered salmon. This month AquaBounty, the company behind GE salmon, is scheduled to release the product into U.S. markets for the first time, even though a federal court just ruled the FDA approval unlawful. We’ve joined activists at Uprooted & Rising (UNR) to launch the #BlockCorporateSalmon campaign (join on Instagram @BlockCorporateSalmon) to call attention to the problematic FDA approval process which failed to adequately address environmental hazards or provide any consultation with Indigenous stakeholders whose economies, cultures, and treaty rights are deeply impacted.
- Watch a short film about UNR actions around the country on Indigenous People’s Day, when we painted a beautiful mural of a salmon on the UW campus with the support of local Indigenous activists.
AGRA Watch: Solidarity with the African Food Sovereignty Movement
- Our AGRA Watch campaign published two reports that have been years in the making, sparking international interest and growing awareness of AGRA Watch’s work.
- We hosted a report-launch webinar, Mapping and Mobilizing Against the Gates Foundation’s Influence in African Agriculture, as part of our Summer School curriculum in which we were joined by incredible panelists including Elizabeth Mpofu of La Vía Campesina, Mariam Mayet of African Centre for Biodiversity, and Raj Patel, renowned author and activist at University of Texas Austin. There were over 350 registrants, over 100 participants day-of, and hundreds of more views on YouTube.
CAGJ relies on our members, whose time, energy, and funds make this work possible. We believe that we have much more to offer—and we need your help to increase our capacity to meet the challenges we face ahead. As you likely know, our beloved Organizing Director Simone Adler, whose work has been invaluable to CAGJ’s development in recent years, took a new position in March, and we have held off on hiring due to financial uncertainty. In the meantime, we brought on our brilliant Summer School coordinator, Noel Hutton, as a part-time organizer, and Sara Lavenhar coordinated our beautiful SLEE Gala, and is providing operations support.
Can you help us reach our goal of raising $20,000, and bringing in 20 new Monthly Sustainers at $20/month? We know there is a lot on everyone’s plates right now, that money and energy and time and headspace are extremely limited for many. Part of the potential we see in this critical time is a growing public consciousness of where our food systems are hurting. New opportunities are coming to us, seemingly every day, opportunities showing us how we can serve as a significant agent in cultivating a more just, equitable, and loving world. But as you know, our resources are limited too. Thank you for making a generous year-end gift which will enable us to reach our 2020 Vision!
Heather Day & Noël Hutton
P.S. Monthly Sustainers give us peace of mind, as we know we can rely on a steady flow of funds to cover our monthly costs. Please sign up today to have an amount securely deducted automatically every month.
All support is greatly appreciated!