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Privilege Should Not Be A Dirty Word

By Sara Venn

There has been a lot of talk about privilege in certain places recently and it has concerned us as accessibility is so core to all that we and Incredible Edible groups do, so here are some thoughts.

Privilege is not something we think about and is quite hard to reconcile with the self and how we see that self. But think about yourself for just a moment and what it is in life that you are thankful for and suddenly you will realise that all those things are privileges. From being born, or living, in the western world, to health care, education, a roof over our heads and food on our tables, these are all privileges and often things we take for granted. There are a lot of uncomfortable privileges, which we are not going to look at, but just comment upon. If you don’t have to think about how you will react to something, that something is a privilege, be it how people react to your education to how they react to your skin colour. If these things are not something you have to think about, in some way you are in a position of privilege.

What is the importance of this to Incredible Edible groups?

Being Incredible Edible, whilst seen by many as just growing food in public spaces, is about finding the local solutions to global issues. Whilst growing that food, or supporting that local market, or sharing our skills, Incredible Edible groups support equality, local economies and the need to find a better and less damaging path in times of unprecedented global climate change and biodiversity breakdown. But for many who live with inequality as part of their everyday lives, equality is their priority, because it’s impossible to fight for the planet when your voice feels as if it’s inferior and all around you are social injustices that are unfair and make lives traumatic. When we learn the horrifying statistic that 5 times more women of colour die in birth than Caucasian women, we have to stand by those women of colour and demand not just equality, but also use our voices to support that demand. At the same time we need to be understanding that we all have different priorities and accepting of those differences as well as understanding of them.

We often talk about being Incredible Edible giving groups a voice in their communities, and it’s vital we use that voice to support the entire community. To understand that we all live in close proximity to people struggling with inequality for a myriad of reasons; poor health, mental or physical, loneliness, racial and sexual inequalities are all issues that can stop communities being fully connected and cause division where there is no need for it. Divisions brought about by lack of understanding, fear of what we perceive as the unknown, or not understood. Those divisions can only be healed by listening and empowering those struggling with equalities to find their voice but also not be afraid of the outcomes of them using that voice. Sometimes that means supporting those people with our voices and standing by them and their struggles; putting our priorities aside for a moment in order to support and fully connect our communities.

Of course we don’t have all the answers to all these issues, but we do know that whilst the world appears to be in meltdown, all these issues are linked and need to be acknowledged and understood by us all. We must all support each others priorities and stand tall by people as they fight their personal issues. Be empathetic and supportive to all, and be prepared to listen, learn and understand others views and problems. And most importantly we must all be prepared to use our voice to stand up for all our communities issues, however alien they might seem to us, especially if others aren’t being listened to.

After all we all have more in common than that which divides us.