By Donna Andrews, Kiah Smith, and M. Alejandra Morena

We are pleased to share with you a piece co-authored by a member of the CFS team, Donna Andrews, in Right to Food and Nutrition Watch (2019:11), hot off the press today! The edition, titled Women’s Power in Food Struggles, “addresses key issues of power, and expose the structural violence that degrades both women and the environment”.

The article, Enraged: Women and Nature, is authored by Donna Andrews, Kiah Smith and M. Alejandra Morena. In this framing piece for the edition, the authors weave together the stories shared in the issue through the nexus of women-violence-nature.

The five articles reflect an array of women’s struggles, activism and analysis with regard to the right to food and nutrition. Each in their own way, the articles: (i) bring to the fore the predominantly right-wing political climate in which this activism takes place; (ii) highlight state violence through various discriminatory international and national policies which act to constrain and curtail women’s autonomy through restricting and undermining their right to food and nutrition and other human rights; (iii) illuminate how patriarchy and the hegemonic neoliberal capitalist food and agricultural system negatively impacts both women and nature; and (iv) foreground the resistance being waged for a just food system. The authors view these insights as evidence of a food system in which both women and nature are exploited, ‘othered’, and made invisible, while also demonstrating new ways of being with each other and nature.

Our gaze as readers is turned squarely on the unrelenting systemic attack on wellbeing. Contextualizing this nexus within the multiple crises of this current period, the articles bring to the fore the political and economic machinery that food work and activism are situated in. All this is the result of gender-ascribed roles that are rooted in the unequal sexual division of labor in the patriarchal and capitalist society, and which must be deconstructed from an ecofeminist critical perspective.

We propose an additional lens to deepen and examine this nexus, by locating it within a broader frame of ecological destruction and crisis. Natural resource exploitation, declining biodiversity, pollution and contamination, overconsumption and climate change are just some of the socio-ecological impacts of contemporary food systems. These affect all humans (albeit unequally), who all ultimately depend on a healthy planet to survive and to thrive. We posit that the ecological crisis is a result of socially constructed hierarchies — the domination of “human by humans”, enabling us to situate and connect the structural inequality against women and the destruction of nature both materially and ideologically. The materiality of food and its embodiment and embeddedness espouses that food activism and narratives encourages the “right to the visceral, spiritual and sensory freedoms” as well as the right to outrage, revolt and anger.

The full edition of Women’s Power in Food Struggles is available HERE

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