Those who fight for racial justice and those who fight for environmental justice have failed to recognize that they are fighting the same fight. This argument – advanced by James Cone in his article “Whose Earth Is It, Anyway?” – informs the theme for this year’s Just Food Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary. Our food system, past and present, demonstrates the truth of Cone’s argument. The food stories and the race stories of our country interweave at nearly every point, and they tend overwhelmingly toward injustice and exploitation of both people of color and the land. At the same time, the systems and structures of the food system prevent consumers from perceiving the injustices on which they depend when they gather at the table. The system makes anonymous both the people and the land it marginalizes.
Convictions at the core of the Christian faith challenge systems of exploitation and injustice. Christ persistently met the marginalized at the table; Christ ministered through food, had a curious knack for interweaving food and teaching, and invited his followers to remember him after his death and resurrection at the table. Participants at this year’s Just Food Conference will be confronted by the complexities and challenges of “Race and Food”; they will share stories of struggle and injustice; and they will worship together, spend time at the Farminary, share meals, and together imagine the hopeful and abundant life to which Christ calls us.