For August’s Activist Profile, we are highlighting Webster Walker, a long-time supporter and contributor. They have been involved in CAGJ in many ways, most recently as AGRA Watch Co-Chair.
What led you to working with CAGJ?
Before there was a CAGJ, I co-founded DGWG (Democracy and Globalization Working Group) with original CAGJ ED Jeremy Simer and others at UW Seattle. DGWG organized against neoliberal corporate globalization, with annual teach-ins opposing the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment), WTO, FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), and IMF/World Bank. When Jeremy helped launch CAGJ 20 years ago, I was a supporter. When CAGJ held the first SLEE dinner 16 years ago focusing on food justice and food sovereignty, I became a contributor. Since CAGJ started AGRA Watch ten years ago in solidarity with African movements for food sovereignty, I can’t stay away.
What does food sovereignty mean to you?
Systemic change, involving democratization of society, the economy, and wealth, will make food sovereignty possible. The basic operating system of the economy — investor ownership and extraction of profit — will be replaced by ownership and accounting systems that prioritize ecosystems and human communities. No investor, whether individual, state or corporation, will be incentivized or enabled to “concentrate” wealth, including agricultural land. State and foundation spending will promote diversified local and regional food markets, not centralized global commodity markets, and myriad diverse producers will practice regenerative agro-ecological food production, instead of a few mammoth enterprises practicing extractive chemical-industrial commodity production.
Where do you see CAGJ in 5-10 years?
Celebrating decolonization, as democratization and food sovereignty thrive everywhere, while neoliberalism and fascism dwindle! At the very least, participating in growing movements for democratization and food sovereignty that win victories and make investors, corporations and states engage with our grassroots power.
Can you tell us one favorite aspect of your work with CAGJ?
Seeing relationships grow and strengthen over time, with people and movements working regionally and across the globe for food justice and agro-ecology.
What is one growing edge you think CAGJ can work on?
I believe that any movement we participate in must be ecological at its root, holistic in its approach, and humble and honest regarding the crises we humans face, and what is required to stop the destruction of ecology and humanity. We need to work and talk with each other about how our lives and communities can nurture the world we need, not feed dominant colonizing systems that produce so much suffering. If there is a growing edge of humble honest people talking and working together for a world that allows human and ecological communities to thrive, we should be part of that. Perhaps the youth-led climate justice movement can be the umbrella under which we all do our parts.