What Food Sovereignty Means to Us at SWU
According to the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, “Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” At Roots of Change we strive to work and grow under the same ideals of past and current farms/gardens who also work towards food liberation and sovereignty. There are many ways we do this. One is we give away seeds at our events and often have a free seed bank set outside our building. By doing this we give access to food growing. Another way we do this is by having workdays and workshops where we teach about growing in a city, in an apartment, and in containers. Last year we had a workshop on grow bags where we planted mini herb gardens in grow bags and talked about the pros and cons of them. We later gave the mini herb gardens out to community members who were excited to have edible plants in their homes.
We, at Roots of Change, take into account what is culturally appropriate to grow. Not only in our ecological system but also in our city-which is predominantly Latinx and our neighborhood on the East Side of San Antonio-which is an historically Black area. This means we often grow crops like corn and okra alongside medicinal herbs historically used by our communities. We almost always have a dedicated medicinal garden with education on the plants and their usages. Another thing we do is celebrate Black History Month by highlighting local Black growers and by having a special workshop on Juneteenth where we set up an altar and discuss the importance of the holiday for our city and community.
We also aim to have our growing methods be sustainable and to work with, not against, our local landscape. So we do things like compost and grow native plants. By doing this we increase our success rate (because our plants are made to survive this environment) and keep our soil from eroding.
Overall, Roots of Change is a project in food sovereignty by Southwest Workers Union because we aim to fulfill the ideals and ideas set upon by our mission statement and the work of other liberation farms/gardens/growing spaces.
**We have open garden hours every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month where we hold workshops, yoga classes, and workdays depending on the day. People are also welcomed to come and just enjoy the garden space.**