How To Citizen with Baratunde

How To Citizen with Baratunde

How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. So many of us want to do more in response to the problems we hear about constantly, but where and how to participate can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Voting, while critically important, simply isn’t enough. It takes more to make this experiment in self-governance work! Listen in to learn new perspectives and practices from people working to improve society for the many. Join writer, activist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston on a journey beyond politics as usual that will leave us all more hopeful, connected, and moved to act.... Show More

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September 10, 2020 55 min

Baratunde learns about mutual aid and local, distributed approaches to feeding ourselves during this time of crisis. José Andrés, chef, humanitarian, and founder of World Central Kitchen, speaks about the power of food to build community, and his belief that we can indeed feed ourselves with dignity in this moment if we have the political will to do so. Two representatives of the LA Community Fridge movement tell us about how neighbors are feeding neighbors and learning more about each other in the process. 

While COVID has exposed the fragility of so many systems including how we eat, we look at two approaches to feeding ourselves that are largely outside the realm of government action and funding, both anchored by local community action, and provide new ways to address the food crisis in America.

Show Notes + Links

We are grateful to José Andrés and Liana Sanchez and Katelan Cunningham, volunteers with LA Community Fridges.

Follow @ChefJoseAndres on Twitter and @lacommunityfridges on IG and their linktree here

We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at

Please show your support for the show in the form of a review and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords!


Internal Action:

Internalize the idea of mutual aid versus charity by reflecting on these questions.

  • Is it easy for you to ask your neighbors for help? Why or why not? 
  • Think of a time when someone tried to help you and had good intentions, but missed the mark because they didn’t listen. How did that make you feel? Did you tell them they missed the mark in meeting your need? Why or why not? (Hint: your response often relates to power dynamics in a relationship).
  • Think of a time when you asked for help from someone you knew and that you had supported in the past. Was it easy or hard to receive from them?
  • If your brother or sister was in need, would you prefer giving to a charity to help them or supporting them directly?

  • Explore more about mutual aid during this pandemic here and here

    External Action:

    Look into whether your neighborhood could benefit from a Community Fridge or some other mutual aid project depending on what your community needs.

    These two guides, here and here, will help you get started. Please note, this is a mutual aid model! So if you find yourself wanting to set up a top-down nonprofit or collect funds to operate or structure the work, your efforts are not aligned with mutual aid. Please read more in the links above about how mutual aid works. 

    Lend your voice to make sure the bipartisan The FEED Act becomes law.

    Under this proposed law, local, state, and tribal governments would be allowed to contract with restaurants and nonprofits to distribute meals using existing FEMA disaster funds. It is a bipartisan bill - introduced in the Senate by Kamala Harris and Tim Scott and introduced in the House by both parties!! But it’s stuck. We want you to help unstick it.

    Call the U.S. Capitol main number to reach your elected officials -- (202) 224-3121-- or dial their offices directly after identifying them online. Here are some tips on how to call Congress, and here are the House and Senate versions of the bill.

    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - Mention Feeding Ourselves in the subject line. And brag online about your citizening using #howtocitizen. 

    We love feedback from our listeners -

    Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.

    How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts. executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you.

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