11/09/2012 02:20 pm ET Updated Jan 09, 2013

What Does the Obama Victory Mean for the U.S. Food Justice Movement?


In a word? Mobilize!

Here's why: Mitt Romney lost the elections because he won the vote of the shrinking majority but lost the vote of the growing minority. Though he won 59 percent of the white vote, President Obama carried 93 percent of the Black vote and 71 percent of the Latino vote. The power of the Latino vote was decisive, and will continue to be. Over the next 20 years, 500,000 Latinos will come of voting age -- each year.

Bill O'Reilly fumed on Fox News: "Its not a traditional America anymore... The white establishment is now the minority."

Well, not quite yet. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, not until 2042 will "minorities" (any race other than non-Hispanic, single-race whites) be more than half the population.

But the lesson from the U.S. Presidential election is that "minorities" do not have to be the "majority" in order to determine political outcomes. They just have to come together in a decisive political moment.

Which brings us back to President Obama.

If the Food Justice Movement expects a second Obama administration to help rebuild local food economies in underserved communities, then it will have to make its diverse voices heard -- politically. This means going beyond a focus on the shrinking shares of project funding, towards building strong collective platforms to advance political demands: for land, financing, fair prices, fair markets and fair jobs in the food system.

The recent Food + Justice = Democracy gathering in Minneapolis produced a strong set of draft principles for Food Justice that are being discussed in communities around the country. These principles can lead to common political platforms -- and these platforms need to lead to local, regional and national policies and actions for food justice. The next four years will only be decisive if the movement makes it so.

An advantage is a terrible thing to waste....