Navina Khanna thinks big. Two years ago, Khanna and Anim Steel, executive director of the national, campus-based group Real Food Challenge, sent a memo to around 20 food advocacy organizations to propose that they work together on something with a larger impact.
Khanna and Steel had previously studied successful social justice campaigns — such as Martin Luther King’s Birmingham strategy and the more recent “One Penny More Per Pound” campaign to help tomato harvesters in Florida earn a living wage. With these in mind, they wrote out this mission: create a “long-term campaign to re-align national food and agriculture policies with principles of health, sustainability, and fairness.”
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“The response we got from pretty much everyone was, ‘this is a completely daunting and overwhelming idea. And this is exactly what we need for the movement,’” recalls Khanna. As a fellow for California’s Movement Strategy Center she already had experience building alliances between various branches of the food movement and the flood of responses was encouraging. “If it isn’t daunting, it isn’t worth doing,” she remembers thinking at the time.