Thereâ€™s a nothing like a bit of jargon-busting from time to time, especially when it concerns a word that is heavily used. A word like empowerment, for example â€“ we talk about it a lot at Jolkona. But why? What is it about empowerment that is so fundamental to our vision as a non-profit? The answer to that question lies in the relationship between power and justice: one of the core functions of justice is granting power to those who need it. Take any situation of injustice, chronic or temporary, and at its root will be an imbalance or abuse of power.
In America there is an imbalance of power in the meat industry.Â Small scale farmers are marginalized due to agricultural pressures to yield high quantity (not quality) at minimum costs. In the world there is an imbalance in the allocation of wealth, and one of the many countries that suffer interminably because of this is Sudan. Here farmers lack sufficient resources and access to agricultural education. Imbalances of power in the farming industry are local and global. So thatâ€™s why we started the Eat Local, Give Global campaign.
What was it about?
The goal was two-fold: to raise awareness of Americaâ€™s overlooked local farming industry, whilst raising funds to provide tools and agricultural education for women farmers in Sudan. To do this we partnered with the brilliant and munificent Bill the Butcher, a Seattle-based chain of neighborhood butcher shops that supports sustainable farming practices by selling grass fed, natural meats from local farmers and ranchers.Â The funds were raised in three ways:
1) You could donate online through Jolkona via the campaign page
2) Customers could donate in any one of the six shops around Seattle
3) Bill the Butcher generously donated 10% of its sales on Thursdays and Fridays to the campaign
To throw in a bit of competition, we devised the Great Meat Race. This was a competition to see which of the six shops could raise the most of amount of money via customer and online donations.
What was the impact?
Some â€“ but not all â€“ of the results are in. We do not yet know the winner of the Great Meat Race, neither do we know the final amount raised including the 10% donation from Bill the Butcher’s Thursdays and Fridays sales. However, we do have the results from the donations made online and in the shops by you the donors. Remember: $30 covers the cost for one Sudanese woman to attend 2 days of farming classes, providing her with essential knowledge and tools which she can share with her entire village.
Through donations made online and in the shops, over $1170 was raised, providing training for 39 women.
Returning, then, to complete my jargon-busting: the crux of empowerment is not exercising power on someoneâ€™s behalf; rather, it is the placing of power into their own hands. And in this campaign the power was education and tools, both of which the women farmers in Sudan can utilize to change their own lives, that of their families, and that of their entire community. This is empowerment.Â SincerestÂ thanks to all who donated.
Stay tuned to find out which shop wins the Great Meat Race, and also for the final total raised and impact madeâ€¦.
And don’t forget: you are what you meat.