The tools and strategies of critical pedagogy and popular education models speak to me as a kind of community-envisioned and enacted social innovation and one which I believe can be employed to move forward developments within what is being called the solidarity economy, particularly as it plays out in the local food system here in New Orleans. Inclusivity and attention to race and class-based inequity are essential to creating a truly just and sustainable local food system in this city AND to ensuring that the new New Orleans is one that all New Orleans has had a hand in making.
Towards that end, I am particularly interested in the role of youth, and particularly young people of color, in defining what the solidarity economy looks like here in New Orleans. Do young people resonate with the language that has been developed by proponents of the solidarity economy framework as it currently exists in the U.S.? If not, what are the words, phrases and images they would use to describe the kind of economic future they envision as workers and leaders? What does meaningful work look like here in New Orleans and how does the local food sector (and the New Orleans food and culture tourist economy as a whole) need to shift to ensure young people have a place at the table?
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