August 12, 2022
Originally published in FoodShare’s 2021 Impact Report.
It can be hard to have hope. Harder still when you come from communities, as we do, who disproportionately bear the burdens of poverty and food insecurity.
In the past year, we have seen a worrying return to the status quo. Suddenly the very same essential workers we had been banging pots for when the COVID-19 pandemic struck had to worry about getting harassed on their way to do lifesaving work. And, in the food sector, we watched as the people who grow, cook, prepare and deliver our food were being forgotten.
That’s why, at FoodShare, we spent 2021 working hard to not go back.
This year we set our sights on creating spaces and systems that support and centre folks who have been historically left out of solution-making to have opportunities to lead food movement work in their communities, and to demand accountability from those in positions of power. At the same time we worked to appreciate and consider our position as a leader in the food movement, taking a critical look at the way we do our work and demonstrating the change we want to see from within our own organisation.
All the while, as you’ll see in this report, we sought out opportunities for pause and for joy. We did this to ensure we had energy to reflect on our ultimate goals around food justice, but just as importantly, to appreciate that we’re all people before we’re anything else. Thanks to the team members who shared their 2021 musings with us here; they help express this better than we possibly could.
It was in these moments of pause where we were reminded that we don’t find hope in the big things, in the systems that want to grind us down. We find it in the gestures of love and community care that we saw this year. We find it in the growing numbers of supporters who rallied around FoodShare’s work — who did things like show up to our town hall on the right to food and call their City councillors demanding an accountable food charter. Most of all we find it in the frontlines, in the community leaders — so often Black and Brown folks, Indigenous people, poor folks, people with disabilities, queer folks — who don’t hesitate to devote their time and energy to demanding a better, fairer food system for all of us.
It’s those folks, you folks, who keep us hopeful.
Paul M. Taylor
Chair of the Board of Directors