Glossary of Terms | OFPC

Collective Power: The capacity of a group to realize its common goals; it is the combination of organization, cooperation, morale, and technology that allows one group or nation to grow and prosper.

Consumption: Hungry consumer seeking food in food outlets such as supermarkets, schools, farmer markets, produce stands. These outlets provide the consumer with access to a wide variety of food choices.

Council: Typically an advisory, deliberative, or legislative body of people formally constituted and meeting regularly. A council can also be a body of people elected to manage the affairs of a city, county, or other municipal district. More broadly defined, a council is a defined community of people who gather to problem solve, act and celebrate.

Disparity: Lack of similarity or equality, also known as inequality.

Ecosystem: A community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system. 

Empowerment: 1. To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority. 2.  Increasing the economic, political, social, educational, gender, or spiritual strength of an entity or entities.

Equity: The quality of being fair and impartial. 

Food Desert: An area with little or no access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet. Often those areas have a higher presence of fast food restaurants. Access can be limited by distance, lack of transportation, or affordability.

Food Justice: Food justice seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what, and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed and eaten are shared fairly. Food justice looks at the root causes of food inequities, such as imbalances of economic and political power.

Food Policy Council: An organization that studies the food system in its local area, then makes recommendations on how to improve that food system. Food policy councils are often driven by the goal of engaging stakeholders to ensure food systems are more sustainable and equitable.

Food Security: The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as people at all times having access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

Food Sovereignty: People’s RIGHT to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agricultural systems. It puts those who produce, distribute, and consume food at the heart of the food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations “-From Via Campesina

Food System: A term used frequently in discussions about nutrition, food, health, community economic development and agriculture. A food system includes all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, and disposal of food and food-related items. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs generated at each of these steps.

Healthy People: When people have access to affordable and nutritious food that would help us prevent health risk, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and others

Hunger: 1. A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat. 2. The want or scarcity of food.

Institutional racism: Any system of inequality based on race. It can occur in institutions such as public government bodies, private business corporations (such as media outlets), and universities (public and private).

Justice and Fairness: To have access to healthy food; improve our living and working conditions for farmers and us.

Policy: a principle or rule which refers to the process of making important organizational/governmental/corporate decisions, including the identification of different alternatives such as programs or spending priorities, and choosing among them on the basis of the impact they will have. Policies can be understood as political, management, financial, and administrative mechanisms arranged to reach explicit goals.

Poverty: The condition where people’s basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter are not being met. Poverty is generally of two types: (1) Absolute poverty is synonymous with destitution and occurs when people cannot obtain adequate resources (measured in terms of calories or nutrition) to support a minimum level of physical health. Absolute poverty means about the same everywhere, and can be eradicated as demonstrated by some countries. (2) Relative poverty occurs when people do not enjoy a certain minimum level of living standards as determined by a government (and enjoyed by the bulk of the population) that vary from country to country, sometimes within the same country. Relative poverty occurs everywhere, is said to be increasing, and may never be eradicated.

Processing/Packaging: Food processing means transforming the raw plant and animal materials into products for the consumers.

Production: Agriculture workers using different approaches to cultivate land and other aspects of the food system.

Race: A way to categorize each other, based on what we think about external appearances, physical characteristics, behaviors and skin color.

Racism: The belief in the superiority of one group over another on the basis of presumed racial differences. It is legitimize by arrangements (legal, social, political) that exclude groups from resources and power.

Resilience: The ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.

Self Determination: The determination by people of their own future status, e.g. political, financial, etc.

Social Determinants of Health: The economic and social conditions – and their distribution among the population – that influence individual and group differences in health status. They are risk factors found in one’s living and working conditions (such as the distribution of income, wealth, influence, and power), rather than individual factors (such as behavioural risk factors or genetics) that influence the risk for a disease, or vulnerability to disease or injury.

Strong Communities: Communities that are empowered with the right of self-determination about what they want and need in their communities.

Structural Inequalities: The bias that is built into the structure of organizations, institutions, governments or, social networks. Structural inequality occurs when the fabric of organizations, institutions, governments or social networks contain an embedded bias which provides advantages for one category of people and marginalizes or produces disadvantages for other categories. This can involve property rights, status, or unequal access to food, health care, housing, education and other physical or financial resources or opportunities.

Structural Violence:  A form of violence where some social structure or social institution may harm people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs. Institutionalized elitism, classism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ageism are some examples of structural violence.

Sustainable Agriculture: Growing, harvesting, processing; all aspects of our food system preserving our ecosystem and using our local produce.

Sustainable Ecosystem: A biological environment and series of habitats that is able to thrive and support itself without outside influence or assistance.

Thriving Local Economy: Create locally based food and agriculture businesses that create jobs and stimulate our local economy.

Vibrant Farms: A stable base of family farms, more direct links between farmers and consumers.