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Food Justice

posted Aug 15, 2010, 8:19 PM by Hildreth England   [ updated Apr 16, 2012, 4:46 PM ]
I'm contemplating whether to attend the Community Food Security Coalition's annual conference in the great gumbo that is New Orleans in October.  It's a fantastic networking opportunity for anyone interested in the idea of healthy, affordable food and sustainable, local food systems.  It's also making me dig deeper into the growing world of "food justice."  Ever heard of it?

Food justice, as I understand it, is based on the premise that nutritious, healthy, sustainable, and regionally-produced food is an inalienable right of all people, regardless of where they live, and part and parcel of an individual's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It's an interdisciplinary concept that involves people and organizations working in social and economic justice, anti-hunger, environmental, community development, sustainable agriculture, and community gardening.  It's also at the core of some of problems I think we're facing in the food and nutrition fields right now...Why is it so difficult for the most vulnerable among us in society to be able to eat what's best for them?

As we continue to study and trace diet-related chronic diseases (like heart disease, obesity, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes) to their origins, you'll often find poverty as the root.  Poverty is independent risk factor for disease, and it  has huge bearing on your nutrition environment. A person's nutrition environment is anything and everything that affects how and why you choose to eat what you do.  It includes your ease of access to full-scale grocery stores, the media & marketing that targets you, your built environment, and your education (or lack thereof).

If we were to start to look at healthy food as a right that should be defended and supported by our entire society - as the attendees of this conference and many others are starting to do - how would that change the way *you* eat?

How would it change the way you view (or, like we are all prone to do - judge) how other people choose to eat?

CDC, "Preventing Chronic Disease", October 2007