Our Working Principles
Food Insecurity is occurring here in the United States right now. Only part of the problem is people’s lack of money. Lack of top soil, rapidly changing temperatures, pest resistance, and water shortages mean the climate crisis is here and farmers see evidence of it daily.
Support of food systems and farming activities vitally link to the interdependence of what we eat and how the climate is changing: We are the problem and we are the possible solution.
Agriculture has always been at the mercy of unpredictable weather, but a rapidly changing climate is making agriculture even more vulnerable. Water shortages are a growing concern. Higher temperatures mean most of the world’s glaciers have begun to recede. Farmers depend on glacial melt water for irrigation. Rising sea levels also heighten flood dangers for coastal farms. The increased saltwater in coastal freshwater aquifers makes these water sources too salty for irrigation, causing water tables to change with the rise in global temperatures.
For example, New Jersey tomato farmers have experienced devastated tomato crops over the last decade.
In conjunction with Equal Exchange, Rutgers University is developing a tomato seed that is resilient to dry summers and less water thirsty, as other tomato hybrids falter with climate changes.
Food-system activities—producing food, transporting it, and storing waste foods in landfills—produce greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
High rates of hunger and food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are directly impacting the rise in large-scale migration of people globally.
Climate change is also expected to impact ecosystems and the services they provide to agriculture, such as pollination and pest control by natural predators. Many wild plant species used in domestic plant breeding are threatened with extinction.
Regenerative agriculture improves the land. Regenerative agriculture leads to healthy soil, capable of producing nutrient-dense food while improving the soil. It is a dynamic and holistic system of farming and food production that counters the degradation and short-term capitalist goals of large-scale corporate monocultural farming methods.
When the soil lacks nutrients, it has nothing to pass into the food we eat and to the next generation of farmers and food eaters. The knowledge of how to build resilient soil and a cultivated environment for quality food production is disappearing with the disappearance of small farmers.
Methods used by small farmers include conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, composting, mobile animal shelters, and pasture cropping. These methods increase food production, sustain farmers’ income, and, especially, maintain and improve topsoil.
The loss of the world’s fertile soil and biodiversity, along with the loss of indigenous seeds and knowledge, poses a mortal threat to our future survival. According to soil scientists, at current rates of soil destruction (decarbonization, erosion, desertification, and chemical pollution), within 50 years we will not only suffer serious damage to public health due to a qualitatively degraded food supply characterized by diminished nutrition and loss of important trace minerals, but we will literally no longer have enough arable topsoil to feed ourselves.
Without protecting and regenerating the soil on our 4 billion acres of cultivated farmland, 8 billion acres of pastureland, and 10 billion acres of forest land, it will be impossible to feed the world, keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.5 degrees F), and halt the loss of biodiversity.
Wealth is shared among all workers when they own their factories and farms, in contrast to corporations whose business structure and wealth distribution is hierarchical. As we now know, the “trickle-down” economic model does not work. We are witnessing an era of the super rich getting richer and the middle classes and poor getting squeezed. Without doubt we need to restructure this “rigged” economic system.
Investing in cooperatives with democratic business solutions incorporates the environment and the health and well-being of workers and consumers, providing a win–win solution to our broken economic system.
In worker coops, workers use democratic systems to make collaborative decisions about how their workplace should function. Equal Exchange is one the largest and longest running food cooperatives, operating for 35 years with a turnover of more than $50 million a year. It can be done!
We at Just Food Hub want to amplify their work with small cooperative worker-owned farmers by sourcing their organic food in the Global South and small organic farms in the US. Our work in the community ensures workers receive the benefit of their labor, and have money left over to invest in their communities and farm operating systems.
Worker coops ensure their activities prevent the use of child and slave labor, an endemic problem in African cocoa plantations run by large corporations. Trickle-down economics does not work and results in horrific working conditions and slavery of the most vulnerable.
Each and every product carried by Equal Exchange has been carefully vetted by the entire Equal Exchange worker coop to ensure it meets the mission to support democratic worker coops, small organic farms, and authentic fair trade.
One example is our pecans, grown in Georgia on an old plantation once populated by enslaved African Americans. Today, a group of African American farmers have formed a worker coop and now work that land producing delicious pecans not merely perfect for your Thanksgiving pecan pie, full of delicious sweet nutty taste, but also with a political and ethical heart at their center.
Due to the close working relationship Equal Exchange has with small cooperative farmers, they can offer technical support, communications, and marketing knowledge to help farmers work toward higher organic growing standards and reach larger markets. Cooperatives working together ensures stronger long-term trading relationships that help improve each one’s role in food growing and working practices.
We believe cooperative worker-owned business and trade is the way forward and will build robust, real, reliable, and decent living conditions for all, in addition to caring for the environment and our wider communities.
Healthy Food and Healthy Body
It may come of no surprise that, due to the erosion of our farmland top soil, the trace elements and minerals we used to enjoy in our food are quickly disappearing.
More than 30% of nutritional value has been lost in our food system over the last 80 years, if this trend continues, we will eat flavored water. One human will need to eat several plates of greens to get the same nutritional value we used to get from two or three mouthfuls of greens in the early 1900s.
We need to pay attention to what we put in the soil and in our bodies. Healthy biorich soils means strong, mineral-rich plants and animals eating those plants, in turn producing delicious and nutrient rich food. The healthcare bill for our communities diminishes when we eat better. Our bodies’ cells need minerals and micronutrients to help fight viral and bacterial infection.
We sell coconut oil from a cooperative farm project in Sri Lanka where they pay attention to the soil in which they grow coconut trees. Theirs and many more regenerative soil projects are becoming a vital farming method used across the globe, especially by small farms. Farmers are paying closer attention to the biomass and diverse planting methods needed to feed the soil and provide habitats for insects. Soil regenerative practices ensure robust harvests in the following year. Farming is a long-term stewardship of the land. As consumers, we need to be aware of our investment now, which leads to better food and farm ecology for the future.
Our bodies need feeding as much as the earth needs good food. Together we can grow strong, healthy, and fit for a better shared future.
Why Just Food Hub
It’s time, someone has to do it and we plan to make this work. Just Food Hub is all about action, making links between food buyers and food producers.
Just Food Hub is exactly what it says on the label. We are about food justice and being the center of grassroots farm-to-table food excellence. We trade in simple, plain, real, nutritious food and search for families, small businesses, organizations, and community groups who want a fairer food system and good quality food to eat.
We believe we have to take direct action to halt further destruction wreaked by the rigged unjust food system owned and controlled by huge multinational companies.
We believe in and fight for the planet’s health. This is our home. Food is our source of energy and creativity and the fuel for all human endeavors. We need good quality food for the health of our bodies, minds, and spirits.
We believe in and fight for fairness in food trade and distribution. Our objective is to work from the grassroots level of our local community and spread the good news about the food we promote and distribute.
We believe the future of farming is small, ecologically aware, and community-engaged.
We aim to invest back into our community by distributing funds raised in food sales into the community projects that complement the resilience and vitality farmers bring to our planet.