From Food Apartheid to Food Sovereignty

“Food justice activist Karen Washington wants us to move away from the term ‘food desert’, which doesn’t take into account the systemic racism permeating America’s food system,” and instead use the term food apartheid, “‘which brings us to the more important question: what are some of the social inequalities that you see, and what are you doing to erase some of the injustices?'” Food apartheid: the root of the problem with America’s groceries, by Anna Brones in The Guardian. “In my neighborhood, there is a fast-food restaurant on every block, from Wendy’s to Kentucky Fried Chicken to Popeye’s to Little Caesar’s Pizza. Now drugstores are popping up on every corner, too. So you have the fast-food restaurants that of course cause the diet-related diseases, and you have the pharmaceutical companies there to fix it. They go hand in hand. The fact is, if you do prevention, someone is going to lose money. If you give people access to really good food and a living-wage job, someone is going to lose money.” “Why don’t people with capital come into my neighborhood and think about investing in the people who already live here? Give them the capital, give them the means of financial literacy, teach them how to invest, teach them how to own homes, teach them how to own businesses.” (Visit the link to read the full interview with Ms. Washington.)

How To Fight Food Apartheid — How To Grow Change through Black-led Agriculture: An Interview with Leah Penniman, by Adina Steiman in Food & Wine. “It’s so powerful, and this is something I had to learn as an adult because it certainly wasn’t taught, but pretty much anything you can think of that we cherish in organic and regenerative agriculture from raised beds to compost to polycultures, you can trace back to African and African American innovation. So Cleopatra is the first person in history to have been recorded as a vermi-composter. The Obambo people of Namibia had the first raised beds. We have the 26 different polycultures in Nigeria, and that’s the basis of what a lot of people call permaculture today—these mixtures of different plants in a mutually supportive ecosystem and on and on and on.”

Farming While Black (Leah Penniman’s website and also the title of her book). “Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through innovative programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Penniman is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid.”