Recent Articles About Food Justice

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Living in a Food Desert

I moved to California from El Salvador with my mother when I was two years old. Throughout most of my childhood, we lived in Huntington Park, a mostly-Latino, blue-collar suburb South of Los Angeles.

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

This Sliding Scale Café Takes Food Access to the Next Level

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

The Color of Food: Seeds of Growth for the Cherokee People

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: Gender Equality Missing From the Food Policy Conversation

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

In Chicago, Former Park Houses Become Cooking Classrooms

In early May, a group of children lined up along tables to press small cookie cutter shapes into blocks of cheese. Next, they were given skewers and fruit and asked to design their own shish kebabs.

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

How a Former Wall Street Worker Invested in Fresh Food for Her Community

Just before this past Earth Day, dozens of volunteers worked with longtime members of the Hattie Carthan Community Garden in central Brooklyn to clean beds, spread mulch, and pour concrete. The garden has been a fixture in the area for decades, but just six years ago, the abandoned half-acre lot next to it was overgrown with trees and filled with trash. Today that lot is home to a children’s garden, two chicken coops, and the Hattie Carthan Community Market in the summer. There’s also educational programming for all ages and the Hattie Carthan Urban Agriculture Corps, a paid summer apprentice program for local teenagers. Read more

The Color of Food: A Communal Vision for the Younger Generation

This is the third 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 and second posts.

When I visited North Carolina, I heard a lot about Tahz Walker and Cristina Rivera-Chapman of Tierra Negra Farms, who are well known among young food-movement activists and urban gardeners in New York City. So as I pull up the long driveway to the land they are renting outside of Durham, I am excited to finally meet them.  Read more

Reporting Live From a ‘Food Desert’

“At 6 a.m., I gotta get my kids up, grab my things. Sometimes I grab a sandwich, sometimes I grab nothing.” This is the voice of a mother and resident of Far Rockaway, New York, as recorded by her 18-year-old son Joshua Miranda. He produced a radio segment about her efforts to eat and cook healthy food, in this under-resourced neighborhood on the outskirts of New York City. Read more

The Color of Food: These Sisters are Building a Second Career as Farmers

This is the second 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, Natasha Bowens. Read the first post here.

I head toward the lowlands of the North Carolina coast to meet with two sisters in their sixties who are trying to revitalize their family land by growing food organically. This area where they grow has changed over the decades and now faces the challenges of land degradation, climate change, and heir property laws. This pair of women teaches us that ferocity knows no limitations; sometimes all you need is a sister by your side. Read more

The Color of Food: Building Autonomy as African American Farmers

This is the first in a series of four excerpt from The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming. Read more about the book and the author, Natasha Bowens.

Renard “Azibo” Turner is a compact bundle of energy as he swiftly moves from one part of his 94-acre farm to the other. He is a machine, a methodical man who starts each day with just five hours of sleep and a cup of coffee and doesn’t stop working until supper.  Read more