Our Values

Mississippi Food Systems Fellowship Logo

Economic Justice
Every human is an expert of their condition and can reach their full potential when given access to the necessary tools. Economic justice is creating systems that remove barriers and providing every human with the opportunity to easily access the tools that they need to live a dignified, productive, creative, and harmonious life. In my community, this looks like guaranteeing a quality education for every child no matter their zip code, ensuring every person can provide for their family through work that they find meaningful, and making fresh food and preventative health care within reach of all Mississippians.
— Alex Lawson, Corporate Project Manager, Hope Enterprise Corporation

Economic justice is the ongoing work of the civil rights movement in this country
— Bill Bynum, founder of Hope Enterprise Corporation

Racial Equity
Racial equity invites us to consider how being a person of color shapes their sense of agency and quality of life. Racial equity is the quality of fairness in systems that determine treatment, access, opportunities, and advancement of individuals or groups regardless of their racial identity or affiliation. Racial equity is achieved when ‘race is no longer a determinant of socioeconomic outcomes and life opportunities’ (Race Forward). This is an understanding of racial equity based on shifting more power to people of color (rather than simply including them) and that focuses on changes to decision-making, leadership and operational organization.
— Tamara Jones, Dara Cooper, Simran Noor, Alsie Parks. “Racial Equity Implementation guide for food hubs.” June 2018.

Food Sovereignty
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. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.
La Via Campesina in Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007

We must feed people for hunger is the enemy. Land is good and food feeds people…the condition is crucial. If we have that land can’t nobody starve us out.
— Fannie Lou Hamer

Healthy Communities
The health and well-being of communities depend not so much on health care, but on the social, physical, and economic environment that we live, work, learn, and play in… Saying zip codes affect our health without talking about racism is simply no longer acceptable, in my view. If we hope to address the root causes of un-wellness, disease, and suffering in our communities, we have to be willing and able to tackle the systems and values that have created and continue to perpetuate the growing health inequities among racial and ethnic groups.
— Alcalde, M. Gabriela. “Zip codes don’t kill people; racism does.” Health Affairs.

Environmental Justice
A sustainable agriculture is one that, over the long term, enhances environ- mental quality and the resource base on which agriculture depends; provides for basic human food and fiber needs; is economically viable; and enhances the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
— American Society of Agronomy

The farmer whose soil produces less every year is unkind to it in some way; that is, he is not doing to it what he should; he is robbing it of some substance it must have, and he becomes, therefore, a soil robber rather than a progressive farmer.
— George Washington Carver

Ethical Leadership
The most oppressed Mississippians and their Mississippi places must be at the core of how we build and sustain a culture of leadership, transformation and system change. Therefore, we are invested in nurturing ethical home-grown leaders who are committed to their people and places in Mississippi. Their human dignity will undergird how we engage in building collective courage and power. Ethical leadership will make space for Mississippians the right to self determine healing of relationships with each other, and relationships with the land, water, air and all living beings. Ethical leadership will make space for human rights, cultures, legacies of truths to be in a continuum of responsible stewardship from our ancestors to the children of the future.
— Noel Didla, Asha Tillman, and Liz Broussard

I have always thought that what is needed is the development of people who are interested not in being leaders as much as in developing leadership in others.
— Ella Baker

We are combating the apathy and hopelessness of the people. People are looking for immediate impacts, and, when the impact isn’t fast enough, they lose hope. Their minds are stuck in the short-term and they don’t look at the long-term… We need to train leaders who know what it takes to make long-lasting change and bring people together around issues.
— Calvin Head, Mileston Coop