Posts in Nourishing Resistance
Alyshia Gálvez: Our Fates Will Rise and Fall Together

Alyshia Gálvez’s book, Eating NAFTA: Trade, Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico, examines how the North American Free Trade agreement and subsequent policy shifts have impacted Mexican food systems, culinary practices, and communities. Gálvez, a cultural and medical anthropologist, writes about farming and foodways in rural communities, NAFTA’s disruption of Mexican agriculture, the health impacts of immigration to the United States, and how, as Mexican-inspired fine dining becomes trendy around the world, Mexicans themselves have less and less access to fresh, traditional ingredients.

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Activist Wilma Steele on Why Sharing Food is Giving Life

n September 22, 2018, the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum held a Strike Supper. This event celebrated the diverse foodways of mine wars-era Appalachia, when African-Americans and Scots-Irish mountaineers lived alongside and organized with immigrants from places like Lebanon, Italy, and Hungary in coal camps and company towns. Wilma Steele—an environmental activist, retired art teacher and one of the founders of the museum—was the catalyst behind the supper. The idea was rooted in memories of her childhood in Mingo County, West Virginia, where she grew up surrounded by different cultures and the delicious dishes, including goulash and a wild green called tangle gut, that they prepared. I spoke with Steele about the Strike Supper and her belief in sharing food as a way to nurture community and solidarity.

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Chef Mike Costello on the Power of Nuanced Food Narratives

When I was a fledgling environmental activist in my early twenties, I was part of the March on Blair Mountain--a five-day walk across the coalfields of southern West Virginia to protest the mountain’s removal from the National Register of Historic Places (a move spurred by corporate desires to mountaintop removal mine the site). In 1921, Blair--which was put back on the register in June 2018--was the site of the largest armed labor insurrection in United States history. On its slopes, striking miners fought coal company-backed private guards and, ultimately, federal troops, losing the battle but paving the way for a stronger organized labor movement in the United States.

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Mayam Has a Glorious Anti-Capitalist Vision for the Future

In this edition of Nourishing Resistance, traveling farmer Mayam talks passionately about the historic significance and sheer beauty of okra; their commitment to a more equitable and, ideally, anti-capitalist world; and how their ancestors, as well as future generations, inspire and impact their work with sun, soil, water, and the delicious food that those elements produce.

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On Friendship, Eegee's, and the Culinary Side of the Prison Industrial Complex

In May 2017, I picked up a copy of Edible Baja Arizona and found “Sentences That End With Food,” an article by an incarcerated journalist about culinary culture inside of Tucson’s prison complex. The author, Joe Watson, described how his friends and acquaintances made ice cream, menudo, and lasagna out of commissary-available ingredients like instant cocoa, pork rinds, and ramen noodles; and how preparing and eating this improvised food became a way to temporarily escape the dehumanization of mass incarceration. The piece—accompanied by illustrations of dishes like red velvet soda cake and chimichangas covered in squeeze cheese—expanded my idea of what was possible within prison walls.

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Lisa Strid on Creating a Queer Space for Wine

I really love wine, so when a co-worker mentioned her friend Lisa Strid—a queer, critical-of-capitalism winemaker—I jumped at the opportunity to connect. The night of our interview, Lisa had to taste through her workplace’s wine portfolio for an upcoming presentation, and she generously offered me samples as we talked. Between sips of (delicious!) skin-contact muscat and montepulciano, Lisa spoke about the industry’s lack of inclusion and diversity; the intersections between wine and immigration policy; and her dreams of starting a queer, non-profit winery and tasting room.

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'Food Became the Wheels': Nelda Ruiz of Tierra y Libertad

We met at Café Santa Rosa, an important gathering place for Tierra y Libertad organizers and other members of the La Doce community. Ruiz encouraged me to try the red chile popover and I took her suggestion, stuffing my face with fragrant, spicy beef and crisp frybread as she told me about herself and the Barrio Foodways project. "Food became the wheels to take us in many diff•erent directions,” Ruiz says in the report and our conversation echoed this

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Victor Ceballos is Creating Beautiful Spaces of Celebration

I met Victor Ceballos while volunteering at No More Deaths’ humanitarian aid camp along the US-Mexico border in 2014, but it wasn’t until recently that I had the opportunity to sit down with the gardener and community organizer to learn more about his work. Victor’s infectious enthusiasm for self-watering containers and vermicompost systems, coupled with his years working with Tucson-based organizations Tierra y Libertad and No More Deaths, made for an illuminating, often hopeful conversation.

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Making Coffee with Grumble

This is how Grumble taught me to make cowboy coffee: Fill a giant pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil, then shut off the heat. Add your grounds (always more than you think you need, the coffee should be STRONG) and let them incorporate for five to seven minutes. Stir again, then toss in a cup of cold water and tap the bent-up pot with a ladle or cooking spoon to sink the grounds. Find someone to lift the pot and pour the coffee into the serving container with you, filtering it through a fine mesh strainer. Get a mug, fill it up, and brace yourself for a busy, caffeinated day.

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Nourishing Resistance

 What can food teach us about communities of resistance, mutual aid, and radical history? How can memories of a meal complicate the larger narrative, so often focused on specific events and individual changemakers? What lessons can we learn from those who have spent long hours in kitchens; feeding protesters, direct action campaigns, disaster relief efforts, and so much more? And why does it all matter?

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