Letter: “Food Systems Week”

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    In Response to: Food Systems Week at UCSC [5/19/2011]

    Thank you for taking the time to cover Friends of Community Agroecology Network’s (FoCAN) Food Systems Week. I was very excited to see a full page dedicated to an event that I helped coordinate this quarter with an amazing team of individuals. The quality of the coverage, however, was disappointing.

    For one, this was not the sixth annual event, contrary to what the article’s subtitle says, but the first. And although the article proclaims the purpose of Food Systems Week is to raise awareness about the problems rural communities in Latin America face and how Santa Cruz has improved some of those conditions, that is not quite true. The goal was celebrating our campus food movement, and exchanging perspectives about local and global food systems with peers from rural communities in Mexico and Nicaragua. The youth visitors were actually not all students, despite what was reported. All are active leaders in their communities working on food sovereignty issues. They were at UCSC’s Sustainable Living Center (SLC) for a 10-day intensive agroecology training course, organized by the non-profit CAN. One of the course’s goals was to network with youth movements here and to learn about our food systems.

    Another concerning error was the repeated mention of how FoCAN’s events supported free trade. This is completely incorrect. We support fair trade, a system that works towards creating sustainable trading partnerships and empowering marginalized producers.

    Also, CAN’s international internships encompass more than interns “sustaining rural livelihoods.” Interns work in CAN’s partner communities in Mexico and Central America on local, community projects and actively engage with the realities of global trade systems.

    Many of these inaccuracies I believe are due to sloppy researching. In the future, please be more careful to quote interviewees accurately and to do a more thorough fact-check.

    Thank you,

    Rachel Ross
    Food Systems Week Coordinator
    Friends of CAN