This week, Jews and Christians are mulling over these words from a time when thousands of refugees hungry for food and justice had fled Egypt and were anxious about their future: “And this is how you refugees shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, only sandals on your feet, and your shepherd’s staff in your hand. You shall eat it in haste, in hope of safely passing-over.”
We need a food movement that is fully responsive to the millions of refugees who have to leave their homelands due to war, civil unrest oppression, food insecurity and climate change. We particularly need to welcome and find places in our food system for displaced farmers, herders and cooks, rather than seeing them further marginalized.
That’s why I am so fond of the Ishkashitaa Refugee Network and International Rescue Committee work in Arizona, the (Transplanting) Traditions Farm in North Carolina, and the many other immigrant farmer re-adaptation programs spring up around North America. By their foods, support their causes and protect them from callous intrusions by government agencies. We need the deep knowledge of more kinds of farmers and cooks, not less!
–Gary Paul Nabhan