In the essay written in Remaking the North American Food System: Strategies for Sustainability, contributing authors G.W. Stevenson, Kathryn Ruhf, Sharon Lezberg, and Kate Clancy discuss the concepts of Warrior, Builder, Weaver and each concepts' approach to create meaningful change in the Agrifood system. The goals of warriors, builders and weavers are to create a food system which is inclusive, transformational, and reformative. I learned about this approach during my first semester at Chatham University in a course about the Food Systems in the United States. I saw my past social work self in the weaver and felt my future food advocate as the builder. While one is not exclusively a builder over a weaver, as they can overlap, these two encapsulate who I wanted to be as a consultant in this industry.
But let's talk more about what it means to be a Warrior, Builder, and/or Weaver.
Warriors are the front line resistors, fighting, organizing, protesting, lobbying, and demanding the world they wish to see. The warrior has a big picture or macro approach to their engagement with social change. They lobby for policy change, expose harmful/damaging practices and acts as the voice among the three.
Builders create the structures, places, and spaces for the warriors to point to. They are the entrepreneurs, the place makers and implementers. The builder creates the world the warrior is fighting for.
Weavers are the bridges, the connectors and the links between the warrior and builders. They weave together communities, coalitions, and resources to support the warriors in their fight or the builders in their developments. The weaver creates the strategies for the warrior to advocate for and the builder to create upon.
Stevenson, G. W., et al. “Warrior, Builder, and Weaver Work.” Remaking the North American Food System: Strategies for Sustainability, edited by Clare Hinrichs and Thomas Lyson, University of Nebraska Press, 2007, pp. 33–62.