What is Food Justice?
Food justice calls for foods to be fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally-appropriate, and grown locally with care for the well-being of the land, workers, and animals. The food justice movement is in response to the problematic distribution, consumption, and production of food. Food justice calls attention to the the impact of race and class in the food system. Specifically, food justice often highlights the fact that low-income and minority communities do not have the same access to healthy food as middle and upper class white communities.
Food justice is a clear example of how environmental issues intersect with race and class. The demand of livestock on the environment is tremendous. Livestock requires substantial energy for multiple activities such as the production of feed, breeding activities, production and spread of fertilizers, electricity use, and operating costs of farm buildings. But, how can we ask people to adopt sustainable diets if not everyone has access? As we call on people to reduce their meat consumption and increase their consumption of locally grown food, we must also work to create systems and opportunities for those on lower incomes to have access to these same foods.
As we work towards a sustainable food system we must remember to listen, encourage, and advocate for all voices in the food system. The food justice movements calls each person to understand their relationship to food and others as well.
Watch the Ted Talk “Food as Radical Empathy” to learn about inequality in the food movement.
Read Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets; Race and the Green Economy by Alison Hope Alkon
Watch the documentary “Living in a Food Desert”