Recent Articles About Food Justice

The butternut squash has outdone itself on this two-year-old organic farm in Northeast Philadelphia. Hundreds of the winter squashes—753 to be exact—are stacked up high in the bed of a gold pickup, but many more await harvesting. Three workers crouch in the green rows surrounded by peach and figs trees, as well as beds that have already in their short lifespans borne eggplant, watermelons, and more. One by one, the workers toss more squash into wheelbarrows.

This small and unusual farm was once a construction site. Its three acres back onto the Pennypack Creek, a winding tributary that empties about a half mile away in the Delaware River. Overlooking the orchard’s entrance is the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center, a red brick building surrounded by two layers of barbed wire fencing and light towers. This is a prison farm, and the workers in the rows are inmates from another nearby minimum security facility. Read more

The winners of this year’s James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards know there’s nothing easy about ending hunger and fighting for food justice. But that is precisely what keeps them doing the hard work.

This year’s recipients are: Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, co-founders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW); John Boyd, Jr., founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association; Anna Lappé, founder of the Small Planet Institute and founder/director of Real Food Media; Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, and author, scholar, and activist Raj Patel. (Both Patel and Lappé are Civil Eats advisory board members.) Read more

On a Wednesday night in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood, Warren Wilson is eating a Twinkie.

Wilson says when he has the means to, he tries to eat “less meat, less processed foods, more organic foods.” He prefers what he calls “living foods: fruits, vegetables, things that come from the ground.” But lately, his budget hasn’t made that possible.

An educator with a two college degrees, Wilson has spent the last six years unsuccessfully looking for full-time work. In the past month, his situation has become especially dire. Read more

On Sunday afternoons, members of Los Angeles Food Not Bombs converge in the kitchen of a home in Silverlake, a neighborhood in central Los Angeles, to wash, chop, and stir donated vegetables into 15 gallons of stew and 20 gallons of salad. At about 6 p.m., the volunteers load up the food and take it down to Pershing Square. At the public park, they serve meals to about 100 people, mostly men without homes, though anyone is welcome to partake.

For the last three years, the volunteer-run organization has received all their vegetable donations—an average of 383 pounds a week—through a Los Angeles nonprofit called Food Forward. Between April and June 2016, those donations added up to about 3,700 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables—all from vendors at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, and all of which might otherwise have gone to waste. Read more

At a few minutes before 8 a.m. on a weekday morning in Minneapolis, there’s a small crowd of people waiting for the front door of the Seward Community Co-op Friendship Store to slide open for the day. They stand under a sign that says, “Everyone Welcome,” and it seems true when Jerry Williams, a department manager, arrives to unlock the door. “Let me at ‘em!” he says and greets the waiting shoppers like old neighbors, even clasping hands with a few of them before they go inside. Read more

In New York City, it’s easy to recognize participants in the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing, and Able program. Dressed in bright blue from head to toe, passersby can spot participants picking up garbage and power washing sidewalks from the Upper East Side to Times Square.

Their work is part of the non-profit organization’s 30-year-old effort to help homeless men achieve self-sufficiency and escape cycles of homelessness, crime, and addiction. In addition to providing transitional housing, the nine-to 12-month program offers participants both paid work and job training. Read more

A farmer, a restaurant owner, a labor supporter and a public-health community advocate walk into a room over a bar… and they’re greeted like rock stars by a sold-out crowd. This was the scene at the Swedish American Hall on Monday night, August 15, when San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club presented Women Leaders at the Table: Addressing Inequity in the Good Food Movement. Read more

It’s 10:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning in late July, and 15 families are lined up outside SnowCap Community Charities in the Rockwood neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Many have been waiting for over an hour in hopes that they’ll get first dibs at this food pantry, which is the largest in the state, serving over 9,000 people a month. The old model was that food pantries gave clients a pre-packed box of food. But SnowCap, like an increasing number of food pantries across the U.S., allows clients to “shop” or choose for themselves what they want to eat. There are limitations on some items, and generally speaking, the earlier they arrive, the better the pickings. Read more