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A few years ago, climate scientists struck on the idea of explaining the impacts of climate change through food: show people how a warming planet, with its devastating droughts, floods, and other extreme events, will hit us at the kitchen table. The strategy grew out of a 2014 study by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that warned of sharp declines in food production as the effects of climate crisis deepen. This month the

Women’s freedoms: Reflections from Jordan

Posted by Elizabeth Vibert on 
June 27, 2019

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Category: Jordan

The film The Thinking Garden, which tells the story of Hleketani Community Garden in South Africa, was selected by the Canadian Embassy in Jordan as Canada's entry in the UN Women Film Festival in Amman in 2018. The embassy graciously hosted me for a week of festival screenings as well as screenings at the film commission and in UNHCR refugee camps. These encounters resulted in the inclusion of Jordan -- in particular Palestinian and Syrian refugee

We wanted freedom and we got democracy

Posted by Elizabeth Vibert on 
December 11, 2018

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Category: South Africa

One of many powerful sentiments expressed at this year’s South African conference on Recognition, Reparation, and Reconciliation is “we wanted freedom, and we got democracy.” The frustrations of young people in particular, nearly a quarter century after the hard-won achievement of democracy, are deep and deeply warranted. There is no meaningful freedom for youth (here defined as under 35) who cannot find jobs, even if they were fortunate enough to finish high school and access

Healing in the soil

Posted by Elizabeth Vibert on 
December 2, 2018

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Women harvest mustard greens with young helper When I ask the women at Hleketani Community Garden what the garden has done for them, the answer is immediate: “It heals us.” They break into a call-and-response song: “Where do we heal? At the farm!” In this post I'll consider, as much as possible through the farmers' own words, the nature of the historical trauma they experienced under apartheid; the political – resistant – response they developed;

Need Not Apply

Posted by Elizabeth Vibert on 
November 2, 2018

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Selinah and grandson Sara is quick to sum up the experience of Hleketani Community Garden with government funding opportunities: “It seems like they don’t want us to apply.” In the past seven or eight years the women have attempted to apply to many programs, from the agriculture department to the lottery, from supermarkets to small ngo’s. It’s a harrowing tale. Usually they hear of opportunities through their agricultural extension officer, who’s been supportive with advice