Setting Firm Roots: Food Justice without Displacement

May 2014 Forum


Join Oakland Food Policy Council, People’s Grocery, TransForm, Causa Justa: Just Cause, Acta Non Verba, Phat Beets, and others for a panel discussion and community dialogue on anti-displacement strategies for the food movement.

When: Saturday, May 3rd, 10AM-1PM 

Where: Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway Blvd, Rm H

What: OFPC has partnered with People’s Grocery to present a panel of speakers from allied sectors in housing, transit, and living wages, who have decades of experience in anti-displacement strategies. This will be a learning session where we discuss and learn how we might integrate effective anti-displacement strategies into our work for a just and sustainable food system!

Also: Child care and light refreshments will be provided.

April 8th: Urban Ag Social Movie Night


Two of our favorite Oakland institutions are coming together to kick off the spring with a screening of the movie Growing Cities! Join OFPC at Movie Night and Urban Ag Social at the New Parkway Theater, presented by the Institute of Urban Homesteading.

Tuesday April 8th, 7pm (arrive any time after 6pm to get your pizza and beer and socialize with farming friends). The evening will include updates on oakland food policy, prizes, jam tasting and jam swap and more TBA.
Bring a jar of homemade jam (chutney, pickles or anything else in a sealed, shelf-safe jar) to share and one to trade! All this for only $8 Get your tickets by clicking here.

And please spread the word! Let’s make this a real social!

The people who feed you, can’t feed themselves.

by Jacqueline Gleason of Real Food Real Talk

We all love to eat out. We celebrate life’s great achievements by going out for a meal with our loved ones, grab a quick bite while on the run, or reward ourselves with something yummy at the end of a tough day. Either way, going out to eat is part of American culture. But who are the people that actually make that experience happen?

Restaurant workers are twice as likely to use SNAP and EBT to feed themselves and their families than the rest of the American workforce. They are three times as likely to live below the poverty line (Jayraman, 2012).[1] While these people barely scrape by, almost every national restaurant chain has reported record high profits in 2011 (National Employment Law Project, 2012).  [2]


In 2007 the federal government passed a law to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 by 2009 (U.S. Department of Labor, 2013).[3] However, that change did not include the millions of tipped restaurant workers whose wages are frozen at $2.13 per hour (U.S. Department of Labor).[4] Why you may ask? In 1996, the National Restaurant Association successfully lobbied Congress to exempt tipped restaurant workers from any changes to the minimum wage laws. In return, they agreed to support efforts to raise the minimum wage for the rest of the workforce (Jamieson, 2013).[5]  This resulted in nearly 3 million people, over half of who are women[6], forced to subsist solely on tips, as their paychecks are often $0 after taxes are paid.

And how about those lucky restaurant workers who are under the umbrella of the federal minimum wage? Are they able to survive without government assistance? McDonald’s recently released a budgeting tool for their minimum wage employees (Restaurant Opportunities Center, 2013).[7] It includes ludicrous assertions like health insurance costs of $20 per month or $0 per month allocated to spend on your heating bill.  It also assumes you do not buy food or put gas in your car. But perhaps the most outrageous revelation of all is the nonchalant line item, “Income, 2nd job”.  Yes McDonald’s workers, you too can live the American dream on a minimum wage job. I mean, two minimum wage jobs. As long as you don’t want to eat or be warm.

The current living wage in Oakland for one adult is $11.51 per hour (Glasmeier, 2013).[8] The highest paid executive at McDonald’s was paid $4.1 million plus stock in 2011.[9] That’s $2,037 per hour. Yet, the average McDonalds employee needs a second job and food stamps simply to not be hungry. I, for one, am not lovin’ it.

[1] Jayaraman, Saru Behind the Kitchen Door, 2013, Cornell University Press.

[2] National Employment Law Project, Big Business, Corporate Profits, and the Minimum Wage, July 2012,

[3] U.S. Department of Labor, History of Changes to the Minimum Wage Law, September 2013,

[4] U.S. Department of Labor, Fair Labor and Standards Act Advisor, September 2013,

[5] Jamieson, David, Obama State of the Union Address: President Calls for Raising the Minimum Wage, February 2013,

[6] Restaurant Opportunities Center, Realizing the Dream: How the Minimum Wage Impacts racial Inequity in the Restaurant Industry in America, June 2013

[7] Restaurant Opportunities Center, Oh McDonald’s-Thanks for proving how totally inconceivable living on minimum wage actually is, July 2013,

[8] Glasmeier, Amy, Poverty in America: Living Wage Calculator, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

[9] National Employment Law Project, Big Business, Corporate Profits, and the Minimum Wage, July 2012,