Mutual Aid for Food Systems Change in the Time of COVID-19

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Virginia Tech

Mutual aid is a way for individuals and groups in a community to support one another in times of crisis. Often mutual aid initiatives or projects emerge after “natural disasters” in the form of relief and disaster recovery services, but they also exist as a way of life for some communities and in response to “un-natural disasters” that many groups and communities face every day as a result of historical injustices, social inequities, and religious persecution. In this way, mutual aid can be understood as work rooted in individual agency and collective action to address both the immediate needs and structural conditions a community seeks to address, such as by providing affordable and safe housing, food security, appropriate health care, or accessible transportation. What is important is that the mobilization work draws attention to the needs of all, but especially those most vulnerable to the conditions the community seeks to change (Spade, 2020).