Giving Compass' Take:
- Natasha Pinon urges readers to prioritize deconstructing systems in the U.S. that perpetuate long-standing food injustices in Black communities.
- How do food injustices contribute to deep-seated inequities in other facets of life? Why is it critical for each individual to make a concerted effort towards food systems change?
- Look at a variety of visions to solve food injustices for the future.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
If you care deeply about both environmental and racial justice, the way food is produced in the U.S. is far, far from ideal.
To begin with, industrial farming has negative environmental repercussions of various kinds. Complicating matters is the well established fact that climate change disproportionately impacts Black and Indigenous communities, people of color, and women. A University of North Carolina report, for instance, found in 2014 that pollution from industrial pig farms disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx, and Native American communities, which researchers "generally recognized as environmental racism."
That idea goes back to the food system's very roots, according to Naima Penniman, the program director at Soul Fire Farm, an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm that trains Black and brown farmers and runs other food sovereignty programs.
"Generations and generations of unpaid, forced labor is the foundation of our food system," Penniman says. From European slave traders relying on the farming knowledge of enslaved people to the passage of "Black Codes" after the Civil War, which forced Black people into unpaid farming labor at the risk of arrest or violence, Penniman argues a system that started by exploiting both labor and land has only continued on that trajectory.
"At this point, we can safely say the colonial project is not working. We've been devastating the planet, as well as creating a system of such intense inequality," Neiman says. "We're living in a nation where some people are experiencing food opulence and [producing] extreme food waste, and at the same time way too many people are going hungry."
We talked to Penniman, along with Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet), founder of Indigikitchen, and Shyaam Shabaka, the chair of Food First, a food justice organization, about how we can each counter the environmental racism in our food system at the personal level.
Read the full article about food injustices by Natasha Pinon at Mashable.