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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

Trayvon Martin and Getting at the Roots of Food Justice

This is not a food story. On the surface the only real connection this story has to food is that a young man named Trayvon Martin was at a convenience store buying Skittles and iced tea. If it was a food story, we would be shaking our finger at him for eating junk food. We’d be scolding the neighborhood for not providing him a fresh, affordable apple. But instead, because he–a young, unarmed black man wearing a hoodie–got murdered, this isn’t a food story, but a story about justice.

As a health writer who often talks about the links between what gets grown and what gets put on the plate, I consider myself an advocate. I want to see people eating good food in close proximity to their homes. It never occurred to me that walking to the store—no matter what you go there to get–could get you murdered. And as a person who cares about justice, I never thought that in 2012, our system would care so little about seeking justice for this boy. He was somebody’s son. As the mother of a young black male who often walks to the convenience store by our house, my heart is broken.  Read more

State of the Food Movement: A Dispatch from the Kellogg Conference

Last week, I spent four days on the Gila River Community Reservation in Chandler, Arizona, where I attended the WK Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Community Conference. This conference is the nation’s largest annual gathering of NGO, business, academic and government leaders working to create an affordable, nutritious, accessible, and ecologically sound supply of food for all Americans. I am left with several thoughts and a theme as a result of the presentations, conversations, sights and sounds there. Read more