Parallel plazas

Having just returned from Oakland California where I was attending the Community Food Security Coalition’s “Honoring Our Roots, Growing the Movement” Conference, I think of my daily walk through the Occupy Oakland plaza, on the next corner from our conference. I mentioned to my old boss at (as we visited on our way to eat at the vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant) that it looked like the post-Katrina public spaces, with blue tarps and kitchens positioned almost exactly as ours were. He looked startled as he recognized the truth of that, and then we both smiled as we remembered how we all began to build something together from those tents.
Our deja vu is shared by those that are not necessarily from New Orleans but that reside in the food movement. They also recognize the configuration. Food organizers have a slightly different feel about Occupy than our neighbors that toil in regular work; its because we’ve been in the Occupy movement for a while, waiting under the tents for the others to join us.
And as we see our Occupy family growing as more realize that wealth needs to be generated and shared differently than it is currently, and that democratizing decisions by spreading the power around and collectivizing needs is easier than it seems, we know that it is only the beginning.
I also think food organizers will become more radicalized and savvy about tactics through our sisters and brothers occupying those plazas (often near our pop up tent villages) while Occupy will become more excited about the possibilities in the ebullient community that we know how to build in the food system.
So, welcome.
Farmers helping Occupy