Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Poster Artist: Ernesto Yerena Montejano

Its been over a month since the symposium took place and I can still taste the pine and smell the cedar that adorned the multiple kitchen and symposium spaces. More than a sypmosium the NACA 2013 was a gathering. Knowledges were shared and foods, meals and tastings were the story tellers. With poster print outs of key terms like DECOLONIZATION, 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

An excerpt from Another Way of Doing Health: Lessons From the Zapatista Autonomous Communities in Chiapas, Mexico (In forthcoming edited publication by Ashgate Press, Doing Nutrition Differently) by Chris Rodriguez

"Black Panther Party-Zapatista Foodways: Lessons from Home"         
          In the radical history of the United States we can see the potential of social movements that were able to feed their communities and challenge the corporate food regime and a racist political system. For example, the Black Panther Party was feeding almost a quarter of million youth across the United States per day through the Free Breakfast for Children Program (Patel 2011). This eventually placed them as the greatest threat to U.S. “internal security” which ultimately served as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s scare tactic to dismantle the movement through COINTELPRO. While the Free Breakfast for Children Program put men in the kitchens and in so doing attempted to confront the gender hierarchy and patriarchy within the Party, the Zapatista experience challenges us to think beyond a food system controlled by corporations. In Survival Pending Revolution: What the Black Panthers Can Teach the U.S. Food Movement Raj Patel provides some details as to what the “universal aspiration” of the Free Breakfast for Children Program “for a balanced diet” consisted of: “fresh fruit twice a week, and always a starch of toast or grits, protein of sausage, bacon or eggs, and a beverage of milk, juice, or hot chocolate […]” (Holt-Jimenez 2011, 123). While we can easily fall into dialectic debates over good/bad foods in mainstream science, I’d rather see the BPP Free Breakfast for Children Program as a critical and practical lesson that teaches us how autonomous control over a localized food system go hand in hand with the self-defense and self-determination of our communities in the U.S. The Standard American Diet (SAD), which is greatly processed and meat-based, is a patriarchal-capitalist food system that dates back to colonization. You see, just as rape came with conquest, so did the idea that the brown female body we call the land and everything that inhabits her dwellings like the (feminized) animals are for the taking. Since colonization, people of color have been under colonial occupation through the foods we have been forced to produce and consume. Trapped in this colonial food matrix of power, the land and all of our relations are equally part of the same labor force that drives production and consumption of a Eurocentric Standard American Diet—a SAD diet.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Political-Ethical Stance For Decolonizing Movements by Chris Rodriguez

As a Decolonial movements seek to decolonize the Occupy Wall Street Movement(s), a political-ethical stance inspired by two already existing movements is worth sharing: (1) The ethics of decolonizing food movements rooted in indigenous principles. I originally published this piece with a generalization of this dynamic autonomous movement of movements by calling it the food sovereignty movement. After a series of critical reflection I engaged with my compaƱera on the differences between decolonization, self-determination and sovereignty I realized that the ethics discussed here go far beyond sovereignty. Taiaiake Alfred, Gustavo Esteve & Madhu Prakash offer important critiques on sovereignty and universal human rights (among other topics) that provoked me to clarify the language used in this piece. In a nut-shell, I am not here to promote sovereignty since it implies the reaffirming role and rule of Western thought, governance, state/nation-hood, and heirarchal control over the land. This is an offereing of some lessons i've gained in decolonzing movements and decolonizing food movements which are inclusive of all of our relations—people, plants, animals, water and the land.  It is how we defend and give voice to the land. (2) The Zapatista initiated Other Campaign. Because it is the one and only movement with the political trajectory and international solidarity that articulates the idea of creating another way of doing politics from below and to the left…in other words a decolonial political-ethical stance.  

These two movements of movements can teach us how not to be co-opted while providing us with guiding examples of how to stay on the course we are already on. That is, on the path of assembly and encountering the other—los de abajo—as we seek to decolonize. One way to actually experience decolonization live in the flesh is by eating a plant-based local indigenous diet that is ecologically and geographically specific to where one lives.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

La Cocina: A Dignified Occupation by Chris Rodriguez

Red quinoa with roasted corn, red bell peppers, leeks, carrots, celery and purple onions.* 
My roots of rebellion first manifested in the form of public protest and occupation i.e. the South Central Farm encampment, organizing restaurant and hotel co-workers, May Day of 2006, and Cal Poly Pomona student occupation/ encampment-just to name a few. Most importantly, however, are the lessons I've learned from my elders who have shown me through ceremony that radical change begins with the self and in the home. It is a difficult lesson to learn that if one is not healthy within being an effective agent for the true liberation our communities desire is very difficult if not impossible. The Zapatistas say, “the most precious thing you can give to a movement is health.” We say health, autonomous and self-determined, is constructed through maintaining and promoting a plant-based diet--