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Dan Allen
Dan Allen

Occupying LA Landscapes

Occupy Wall Street and the Food Movement

Kristin Waltman at Civil Eats wrote an interesting post yesterday connecting Occupy Wall Street to the food movement. She argued, “this could be a catalyzing moment for the food movement with a real chance for average Americans to see and hear the connection between corporate control of the food supply and our nation’s health crisis.”

Yesterday I asked a friend what he thought of Occupy Wall Street. After a pause, he said that had mixed feelings. On the one hand, he was excited to see the grassroots momentum that it had generated. On the other hand, he was concerned that the movement had yet to identify concrete actions that would address the economic and social justice issues that motivated the protesters.

Like my friend, I share a bias toward concrete action over protest, even if the latter frequently precedes the former. Appropriately enough, I spent this week in San Francisco at the Slow Money National Gathering, a collection of entrepreneurs, activists, investors and lenders collaborating to bring about concrete improvements to the food system. The leaders of the gathering have asserted a positive vision of how to build a better food system through articulating six principles that guide these collaborations.

Political acts aren’t limited to protests and voting on election day. Each day we make political decisions with our money: what businesses we support, where we choose to bank and where we choose to invest. This is a notion that Farmscape members understand well – not only are they receiving delicious produce but they are also choosing both a landscape and food supply that matches their values.

As the 2012 general election approaches, here’s hoping that yards across Los Angeles represent people’s values through more than just political yard signs. Even if those landscapes reflect a diversity of values, the alignment of our purchasing decisions with what matters to us can start to bring about the sort of change sought by Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Occupy LA picture from Flickr user Neon Tommy. Creative Commons.