Recent Articles About Food Justice

Real Salad in a Gas Station? Detroit Company Creates Fresh Food Pit Stops

If you’re on the hunt for a fresh, ready-to-eat meal in Detroit, the best place to find it just might surprise you. Take the Sunoco station on Fort Street or the Victory Liquor and Food store on Warren Avenue. Amidst the Hot Cheetos and snack-sized Chips Ahoy cookies, you’ll find a cooler stocked with everything from fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits and spicy feta and hummus wraps to Thai chicken salads made with fresh, green lettuce—not the wilted iceberg you might expect. Read more

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Despite Urban Stereotype, Food Stamp Rates are Soaring in Rural Areas

Jonathan Lewis, a writer who lives with his wife and daughter in the isolated town of Alamosa, Colorado, has received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), benefits, AKA “food stamps,” since February of this year. Before he and his wife had a child, they were able to afford the food they needed. But after becoming a parent, he says, “I never quite made enough to pay all the bills and make sure all three of us were fed.” So Lewis turned to SNAP “to bridge that gap.” Read more

Race & Food: Dispatch From the Food Book Fair

Are race and ethnicity the third rails of the food movement? At last month’s Food Book Fair in New York City, I moderated a panel discussion with a group of activists and chefs who strive to put race and ethnicity at the center of our conversations about food. The panelists included Bryant Terry, author of Afro-Vegan; Colleen Vincent, manager of house marketing & reservations at the James Beard Foundation; Jonathan Wu, chef and owner of NYC’s Fung Tu; and Fany Gerson, chef and owner of La Newyorkina. Throughout the discussion, the panelists unpacked some of the complicated social, economic, and cultural ramifications that race has on the food system. Read more

Labor and the Locavore: Farm Work in New York State

Spring has been slow to arrive in New York this year, but warmer temperatures mean the re-invigoration of the city’s many farmers’ markets. This season, New Yorkers will shop at nearly 150 markets across the five boroughs. Some will surely chat with producers, asking questions about growing practices or ingredients. After reading Margaret Gray’s Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic, I wondered: Will any of them ask about the people who grew, harvested, or transported their food? Read more

A Kale of Two Cities: Cultivating Social Justice

Locavoracious appetites and a back-to-the-land ethos have raised bespoke urban farming to the status of high fashion, especially if the land sits atop an industrial building in one of Brooklyn’s hipster havens. To many, growing food in the city is an exercise for gourmands, measured by the distance heirloom tomatoes, artisanal honey, and free-range eggs travel from farm to plate. Urban agriculture pioneers have repurposed vacant land, greened the city, created community space, and introduced city dwellers to fresh local food. Terroir is now measured by block and lot number.

But this is not the whole story. In fact, as practiced in farms and gardens in New York and elsewhere, urban agriculture is as much about social justice as it is about the quality or proximity of produce. Read more

Not Your Grandfather’s Disease: Youth Change the Conversation About Type 2 Diabetes

Most young people consider diabetes a “grandfather’s disease,” inherited at birth. They don’t always know that there are two very different forms of the disease, and that type 2 diabetes is preventable. This lack of awareness has staggering implications—between 2000 and 2008, rates of diabetes and prediabetes among Americans ages 12 to 19 shot from 9 percent to 23 percent.

That’s where the The Bigger Picture comes in. Youth Speaks, a San Francisco based arts nonprofit that empowers teenagers through poetry, teamed up with the University of San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations in 2010 to launch a project that encourages young people to “raise their voice and change the conversation around type 2 diabetes.” Read more

Gardening Behind Bars: San Quentin’s First Harvest

Eric Davis remembers the first time he saw the flower garden at San Quentin prison. “It [was] the only green thing in the yard,” he recalls.

Last fall, the Insight Garden Program (IGP) and Oakland community gardening nonprofit Planting Justice added a little more green. An organic vegetable garden joined the flowers that were planted in 2003. And this month, the vegetable garden will have its first harvest. Read more