For many low-income folks living in food swamps, the problem isn’t so much a lack of food, as an overabundance of highly-processed, unhealthy foods. For some California residents, however, the scales might have just been tipped toward access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Read more
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When it comes to the disparities within the food system, the numbers are pretty stark. The 10 largest mega-corporations generate $450 million annually in food sales. These companies’ CEOs earn, on average, 12 times what their workers make. Of those food workers, women of color make less than half of the salaries of their male counterparts and are far more likely to need nutrition assistance than workers in other industries. Black farmers have lost 80 percent of their land since 1920, while large-scale and corporate farms make nearly half the agricultural sales—despite accounting for less than five percent of all farms. Read more
Those who tuned in to the first round of presidential debates hoping to hear a discussion of food and nutrition were sorely disappointed. In fact, food has been largely absent from the entire race so far. But that might not be the case for long. Read more
In an old storage building turned makeshift butcher shop, a group of men wearing white coats and yellow rubber aprons grab knives, turn on band saws, and set to working breaking down deer carcasses into venison steaks and sausage.
The butchers-in-training are incarcerated at the Sussex County Community Corrections Center in Georgetown, Delaware. They work in the jail’s meat processing plant as part of a vocational training program. Read more
In the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after the death of Michael Brown, the Baltimore uprising after the death of Freddie Gray, and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, much has been written about the nature of poverty and violence in American cities. But one aspect that is chronically underreported is the lack of access to healthy foods in many of those same communities. Indeed, the reliance on a highly processed food supply is causing disease, suffering, and eventual death, especially to those in the poorest of neighborhoods. Read more
Needless to say, I was far from gluten-free bread, kale chips, and other fad foods of Hollywood. There were few grocery stores nearby and, although we were only four blocks away from a Mexican market with great produce, I rarely saw a farmers’ market. Instead, there were lots of convenience stores filled with pre-packaged, processed foods, fast food restaurants, and small liquor stores with overpriced, overripe produce. Read more
SAME Café co-owner Libby Birky says it isn’t uncommon for people to stand confused at the front entrance of this Denver, Colorado, lunch spot, trying to understand exactly how to order a meal. What looks like a casual restaurant is actually a community café—a new, but increasingly popular, business model using a “pay-what-you-wish” approach. Customers walk in, place their order, and sit down with their food. Most diners do pay for their meals—about 75 percent pay something—but none are handed a bill. Read more
This is the final in a series of four excerpts from The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming. Read more about the book and the author here, then check out the first, second, and third posts.
The sky is a brilliant blue as I drive onto Cherokee land in the Great Smoky Mountains along the North Carolina–Tennessee border. I pull into a small driveway leading up to a modest house with a sign out front that reads “The Center for Cherokee Plants.” This is where Kevin Welch and Sarah McClellan work to save seeds and propagate plants significant to Cherokee culture. Read more
Raj Patel is an award-winning writer, activist, and academic. He is a Research Professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin and a Senior Research Associate at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa.
Patel is also the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing.
We talked to him about gender displacement in the food system, the World Bank, and the Generation Food project. Read more
Teacher Kinga Kelly extolled the virtues of eating colorful foods–like bright red strawberries and deep purple blueberries–to the group. “What is the benefit of eating the rainbow?” she called out. “We get nutrients,” they called back. “Iron! Vitamin C for your immune system! Vitamin E for your skin! Vitamin A! Vitamin D for your bones!” Meanwhile, the thud of dribbled basketballs echoed from a gymnasium down the hall. Read more