WHO WE ARE
Roots of Change, a project of Southwest Workers Union, works to address environmental racism issues directly through the development of urban food growth. More than a garden we believe in food sovereignty - the right to choose cultural appropriate food grown through sustainable, traditional methods. Our aim is to building a strong community armed with skills and knowledge to create a food system that puts people first.
In 2006, Southwest Workers Union began an Eastside sustainability initiative in response to the struggle to defeat further development of fuel storage tanks. An integral part of our local movement for climate justice in San Antonio has been the development of home-grown solutions that are culturally-appropriate and led by those who are most affected by the local causes of climate change. While the potential for a vibrant green economy in San Antonio is growing, the grassroots communities have little to no access to low cost methods for sustainability and "green" technology. SWU has won significant campaigns to increase conservation programs, passed a sustainability plan and shifted policy to support local food system.
To date, the SWU complex has acquired over an acre of unused, brownfield land. In 2006, we began the process of transformation into a functioning community garden, the first food producing community space in the city. The name Roots of Change developed from the realization that the long term transformation of our neighborhood will come from within the community. We aim to build upon this success by further developing the SWU complex as the first grassroots-level sustainability center in San Antonio.
Our communities are not healthy. San Antonio has one of the highest levels of obesity, lowest literacy levels, bad air quality, and contaminated water ways. We believe that in order to heal ourselves we need to transition towards practices that do not continue to pollute the water, air, and land, and thus our bodies. Energy extraction plays a large role in pollution from spills, transportation, storage and fueling. In order for us to end our dependence on extractive economies we must build a system that works for the health of the people and the planet. We can increase our resistance to pollution by becoming educated on our participation in pollution and identifying collective solutions.
Change the Rules
Our strategic partnerships work to reframe policy to support local food systems and decriminalize the growing of food in the city, thus increase opportunities for jobs and land ownership. Gentrification has increase, causing displacement of whole neighborhoods and the elimination of our cultural centers. Policy that protects our right to the land can also create long term centers for food growth, housing and education without pushing people out.
Build Shared Knowledge
Intergenerational, multi-cultural sharing is critical to localized food systems. A key element of building a strong community is sharing best practices, seeds, traditional and medicinal knowledge, and skills. These are all needed for the continued benefit of our families and sustainable food systems.