Just Harvest continues to be guided by its mission and founding principles. These guiding ideas are built on the understanding that hunger is a symptom of poverty, and poverty is a product of economic and political injustice. Public policies frame the structure of our society, and it is through changing these policies that we can best address hunger and poverty. Our organizational mission and vision statements were updated and adopted by the Just Harvest Board of Directors in early 2021; our core values were adopted in 2012.
Just Harvest works to promote a just system of food access by addressing the root causes of hunger – systemic poverty and inequity – through policy advocacy, grassroots organizing, community-based solutions, and connecting people to benefits.
- Everyone has a fundamental right to food. Hunger is unacceptable.
- All people, regardless of their economic circumstances, are entitled to dignity, rights, and a voice in policies that affect them.
- Hunger is political, and to end it requires collective political will.
- Sound public policy that promotes economic justice is the first and best line of defense against hunger and poverty.
- Just Harvest constituents’ perspectives shape the organization’s approach to addressing policy issues and providing services.
We envision Allegheny County and beyond as a place where no one goes hungry or lacks access to healthy food, and everybody, regardless of their identity or background, has the resources they need to thrive.
We envision a government that is responsive to the basic needs of its people, prioritizes the well-being of people and communities over corporations and the wealthy, and ensures that the voices and perspectives of historically marginalized groups serve as the foundation for public policy.
We envision communities whose members can all live in dignity, and who are empowered with the rights and opportunities that democracy and equity require.
The following principles were written and adopted by Just Harvest’s founding board and staff in 1987:
Just Harvest advocates and works toward policies which:
- meet food and other human needs on an emergency and on-going basis
- foster an end to poverty and hunger, and to the conditions which maintain and perpetuate poverty and hunger;
- foster social, political and economic equality;
- protect the economic security, dignity and rights of low-income people;
- maximize participation of poor people in the matters which affect their lives;
- promote/advocate policies designed to meet basic human needs of poor people, and to maximize participation by those people;
- empower people to act in their own behalf.
Such policies include, but are not limited to, policies which:
- work toward adequate funding for food and other basic needs;
- make structural changes in existing programs to insure access to adequate assistance;
- insure that programs provide high quality service;
- insure that privacy, dignity and rights of poor people are respected;
- change the priorities that lead to hunger and poverty.
Just Harvest is committed to working for public policy reform; resolved to carrying out that commitment by monitoring and responding to policies and legislation which affect hunger, on whatever level.
Our advocacy work shall focus on national, state, local and international issues.