Food for Black Thought and Creative Action Partner for Mural Project

Group photo: mapping food experiences in Austin and Travis County. Photo by J. Washington

For immediate release

March 9, 2017

Austin, TX – Who has access to food in Austin? Where, and why? What are local organizations doing about food access, for themselves?

On Saturday, February 18, the Food for Black Thought (FFBT) team explored these questions with Creative Action’s Color Squad. Creative Action is an Austin-based non-profit that inspires young minds through the arts. The organization’s Color Squad is a collective of teen artists who work under the guidance of professional artists to design and create public and community art.

Color Squad was commissioned to create a mural for the Central Texas Food Bank. FFBT facilitated a workshop for the group as part of their creative process.

“As we began our research, we looked into food waste, food policy, and sustainable food systems. We learned a lot, but we also knew that we wanted to connect the discussion back to social justice, which is at the heart of what we do at Color Squad,” said Lindsay Palmer, Director of Color Squad. “We knew that there was a piece of the puzzle that involved communities of color being disproportionately affected by food insecurity that no one else was able to connect for us.  I knew Food for Black Thought was exactly the people to speak to these issues.”

For the workshop, the FFBT team focused on the history of Austin and its impact on the current local food system. The workshop began with mapping the group’s personal experience with food access in the city (pictured below). Together with facilitators, the youth artists explored issues of race/racism, gentrification, and power.

Creative inspiration: group map of personal local food experiences and access. Photo by J. Washington.

“As an initiative centered on Black food experiences, we emphasize Black food history as central to local food history,” said Kevin Thomas, co-founder of FFBT. For example, a timeline activity during the workshop emphasized the presence of Clarksville, a historic Black freed people’s community in West Austin.

Originally launched as a conference in 2012, today FFBT promotes community food justice through action education. FFBT also consults on capacity building with community groups and on food policy issues.

“What inspires FFBT is what Black and other communities of color have done and are already doing,” said Naya Armendarez Jones, Managing Director of FFBT.

In addition to highlighting the past, the workshop honored the present. Facilitators highlighted current organizations that are managed for and by people of color in Central Texas, whose work focuses in part on food or health. FFBT collaborates with some of these organizations, including allgo, Black Sovereign Nation, and Mamas of Color Rising.* The workshop also noted campaigns such as #TasteofBlackAustin, which amplifies the work of local Black food makers.

“Color Squad took away knowledge about the city where they live as well as organizations that they can spread the word about or actively support,” said Jones.

The workshop became a space for exploration, self-reflection, and dialogue. “What [Color Squad youth] expressed to me was that they very much valued that FFBT gave space for discussion and didn’t just lecture at them, but when you did talk, you knew what you were talking about,” said Palmer.

Palmer added, “For my part as a facilitator, I very much appreciated that FFBT brought such well thought out artifacts for them to explore, and then gave space for them to discuss and figure it out for themselves.”

For the workshop, FFBT drew on its Exploring Food and Urban Change curriculum. Originally supported by a grant from the University of Texas-Austin, this curriculum critically explores food access through the lens of race, racism, and Black history. So far, FFBT has piloted the curriculum with educators and organizations in Austin and New Orleans.

Snapshot: workshop participants and facilitators.

For FFBT, the partnership with Creative Action’s Color Squad was a unique opportunity to work with young artists. The workshop was based on curriculum originally funded by a University of Texas-Austin grant.

“This partnership was a unique opportunity to connect with food justice through the arts,” said Jones.

Creative Action’s Color Squad will sell zines filled with art and recipes inspired by their food research and the FFBT workshop at the Museum of Human Achievement on Saturday, March 25, 6-8 PM. The squad is creating their food mural in April-May 2017.

For questions about Color Squad and their projects in the community, contact Lindsay Palmer (lindsay@creativeaction.org) To learn more about Creative Action and our other community programs, visit www.creativeaction.org or contact Alberto Mejia, Senior Director of Community Programs (alberto@creativeaction.org).

To connect with Food for Black Thought, visit www.foodforblackthought.org or e-mail connect@foodforblackthought.org.


*There are many long-standing and new organizations that are POC led in the Greater Austin Area. We do not do them all justice here. These are examples from FFBT’s work and from the Communities of Color United for Racial Justice / Comunidades de Color Unidas para Justicia Racial coalition.

Eating Healthy While Young, Black, and In College

by Taylor Joseph, Community Connections Intern 


WAITER: That’s an interesting choice you’ve decided on.

ME: Ya!!! I love the Seared Ahi Tuna Salad. It’s my favorite.

WAITER: You know the tuna’s raw, right?

ME: Ya I know. I said it was my favorite…

This is just an excerpt of a conversation that took place with me, a young black woman. My friend who order the same thing, wasn’t questioned by the waiter. I found it a bit odd. This made me ponder how many people viewed it as weird, that a young black woman would order something delicious and nutritious?

I’m a Nutrition and Food Science major at Texas State University, so I understand the importance of eating healthy. I also understand the difficulty of doing so while in college. Between tight budgets and accessibility to healthy options and then add in ridiculous stereotypes of who should eat what, it can be downright difficult.

I’ve mentioned the phrase, “healthy foods.” As a nutrition student in college, I would define healthy foods as nutrients that promote the well-being of the body in addition to preventing disease. Knowing some of the health risks that black people face across the country, I try my best to treat my body kindly. For the most part I try to avoid foods that are high in sodium and loaded with artificial sweeteners. My kitchen is stocked with a variety of fruits and veggies that I can afford and know how to prepare.  I love bread and that’s something that will never change, so I make an effort to ensure that it’s whole grain bread. But I will admit that I’m no saint. Every now and then I breakdown and have a Patty Melt from Whataburger. As cliché as it sounds it is all about moderation for me. Eating a diet that’s balanced makes my body happy.

Before we can solve the problem of eating healthy in college, it is important to define healthy eating. I view it as fueling not only your body, but also your spirit and mind. You can’t have one without the others. Having a healthy body, mind and spirit are the building blocks to everything else in life.

Going to a predominantly white school, sometimes I feel that there’s a sense of shock with my personal food preferences among people I know. Often I choose healthy foods that are considered by some, “white foods.” I’ve even been asked why I’m not eating “black foods?” Since when did certain foods belong to a certain race? When did healthy belong to a certain race? Well they don’t.

Eating healthy while black and in college has its challenges. I realized it’s not about conforming to what other’s think I should eat, but to what nourishes my body, mind and spirit.


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Taylor Joseph is a Community Connections Intern with Food for Black Thought. A military child, she’s lived in many different states and traveled to many countries. Her dad’s family is from Belize, and her grandmother has always prepared Belizean dishes. Part of her love for food comes from experiencing various cultures and cuisines. In December 2016, Taylor will graduates with a Bachelors Degree of Science in Food Consumer Science (minor in Health and Wellness) from Texas State University-San Marcos.

 

Post Election: The Privilege to “Just Listen”

We’re hearing and witnessing a lot of calls to “listen to each other” post-election.

In mainstream media, including NPR, we’re hearing a call to give people “blank slates” and to “reach out across divides”.

This, folks:

The ability to simply listen and just be offended is a privilege in this country, and it’s certainly one right now.

The ability to feel as if it’s just your views that aren’t acceptable, rather than your very life, is a privilege.

The ability to freely debate “issues” is a privilege.

We are an African-American and Afro-Latinx core here at Food for Black Thought. As Black people who are in solidarity with other historically oppressed / resilient people and active allies, so much of what is being “listened to” right now is not up for debate. What are considered election “issues” are about our lives – and about violence against our lives. Issues are not separate from who we are or from what what we navigate, day in and day out.

So if we do not engage in listening when we will be re-traumatized, or where we have to prove our existence, or where our very lives will be questioned – it’s not that we lack the ability to listen.

Make no mistake, we’re always listening. We listen closely all the time for our survival. We’ve learned when to speak out and step back, because our lives and wellbeing depend on it. We practice deep listening as part of our food justice work and as part of building relationships, because of its power to collectively heal.

If we tune out or leave the conversation or just can’t  right now, we’re making an active, powerful, revolutionary choice to honor our wellbeing in a country – indeed, in a world – that so clearly does not.

When we don’t engage with you in post-election debate, it’s because we’re engaging with our power.

Precisely because we see our mutual humanity and how it’s not being honored, we’re going to take care of ourselves.

Now, back to it . . .

Food for Black Thought

Frequently Asked Question: Is Food for Black Thought a non-profit?

FFBT Symposium - Toni Tipton Martin

We are consciously not a non-profit in order to have the most freedom over how we move, who we serve, and where we do it.

So what are we? 

Today the best “legal” description for FFBT is a social enterprise initiative – we guess. FFBT is an action education initiative of our community-focused umbrella org, Get Rooted Consulting LLC. We’re following a legacy of Black folks who put community first as we sustain ourselves and support others. We do this by combining public education + private consulting.

How did we get here?

FFBT started in 2012 as a grassroots effort sustained by passion and generosity. We partnered with institutions who helped us put on large-scale events that were free and open to the public. We were not supported financially by this work as individuals, and the one grant we received was for a specific project, not for team salaries. If FFBT was going to grow and last, we needed a more sustainable model. We wanted to build intentional relationships with educators, builders, and visionaries. We wanted to devote more time and energy to FFBT. In 2015, we expanded to partnerships and consulting.

How we’re funded today

FFBT is increasingly supported by grants and funding through partnerships (we are part of grants, and people partner with us). We also consult by fee with individuals and organizations who are committed to social transformation. In addition, we sometimes receive out-of-the-blue donations with no strings attached (thank you!). All of this helps us sustain the work, support communities, and sustain ourselves.

Connect + In-Progress

Connect with us to support, sustain, and/or partner.

We are also currently working on a way to *Donate Here* for our website. Thank you for supporting and joining the journey!

 

Frequently Asked Question: Why the focus on Black folks?

About this series: this series responds to frequently asked questions (FAQs) we’ve received the past 4 years since our beginnings. Onward! – Food for Black Thought


As an action education initiative, we focus unapologetically on Black food experiences, history, and knowledge. Here are a few reasons why:

1) It’s not just a topic for us – it’s our lives.
Our core team is Black-identified (African American and Black/Mexican). We teach about what we are also learning, experiencing, and surviving in our daily lives. We’re inspired by our experiences with “food insecurity” and racial profiling. We’re inspired by eating, cooking, and growing traditions in our families. We’re inspired by the experiences of other Black folks. We’re moved by on-going disparities affecting Black communities and other historically-resilient populations. We’re inspired by ancestors who worked plantation fields, grew gardens, and so often cooked for other people’s families – as well as their own.

2) It’s time to shift.
Old wisdom: centering the experiences of the oppressed is one way to understand how systems take place. Because of longstanding oppression and resilience, Black experiences highlight how local and global food systems are working – and how they’re not.

3) It’s time to reclaim.
Black communities have always been resourceful – though not recognized as such. We believe Black food history, knowledge, and community-based practices are vital for Black and non-Black populations – especially as communities all over the world face climate change, deepening inequality, and other contemporary issues.

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For more about FFBT, visit our 5 principles. Witness what’s growingConnect.

Food for Black Thought and Urban Roots Build Food Justice Partnership

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For immediate release

September 15, 2016

Austin, Texas – Food for Black Thought (FFBT) is partnering with Urban Roots to explore food justice with young adults from the Austin area.

FFBT is an initiative that creates resources for food justice education in support of more socially-just food work, organizing, and policy. Black food experiences past and present serve as FFBT’s lens.

Urban Roots is a non-profit that fosters youth leadership through food and farming. This fall, the organization is launching its first Food & Leadership Fellowship. The fellowship is a paid, six-week internship on the farm for applicants ages 18 to 23 that builds life and leadership skills.

“Urban Roots has seen the benefit of engaging diverse young people as leaders in our food system and our community, and we’re excited to work with a new group of older leaders for the Food and Leadership Fellowship. We are actively recruiting young people of color for this program, because their voices are powerful and needed in the food movement,” said Ian Hunter-Crawford, Programs and Operations Director at Urban Roots.

Fellows will have an opportunity to grow fresh food and mentor high school students. FFBT will facilitate workshops on topics such as race/racism and the food system, self-reflection and action, and practicing food justice. 

“We’re ecstatic to partner with Urban Roots because of its intentional work with the next generation of community builders,” said Dr. Naya Armendarez Jones, co-founder and Managing Director of FFBT. Jones is also a former Urban Roots apprentice.

“As an apprentice on the farm, I gained invaluable skills that I take into Food for Black Thought and other community work. Facilitating workshops on the farm feels like sharing back as we grow an inspiring partnership,” Jones added.

FFBT began in 2012 and 2013 as a symposium in Austin, Texas. Today, co-founders Jones and Dr. Kevin Thomas are partnering with classrooms and organizations committed to socially-just food systems to pilot curriculum. At Urban Roots, they will facilitate workshops based on a course they co-teach at the University of Texas-Austin. 

“As co-founders, Naya and I bring together food marketing, advertising, geography, Black Diaspora studies, holistic wellness, and social justice. This synergy allows us to see food justice work as multifaceted and to teach it as transformational,” said Thomas, who is also an Assistant Professor at The Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Texas-Austin.

The fall partnership with Urban Roots is a first step in sharing the action curriculum with a broader community. 

“We are excited to partner with FFBT and for the experience FFBT facilitators will bring into these important conversations with the fellows,” Hunter-Crawford said.  

To learn more about Food for Black Thought and to connect about partnerships or consulting, visit www.foodforblackthought.org or e-mail connect@foodforblackthought.org.

To apply for the Food & Leadership Fellowship at Urban Roots and for more information, visit www.urbanrootsatx.org. The deadline to apply is Monday, September 26, 2016. 


Photo Courtesy of Urban Roots

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Beyond Food Deserts

Food mapping.jpgWhen we share what Food for Black Thought is about, we immediately face assumptions about what we do, support, or believe. Much of this has to do with how Black populations are framed in food work, public health, and a range of activism and scholarship.

Our approach challenges these assumptions with a “critical” lens. Through this lens, we consider power, privilege, and oppression – and their historical precedents of colonialism, the transatlantic slave trade, and empire. (Stay tuned for a list of resources we read and follow). In classes and consults, we define power a bit differently from some: we understand power as something that is used. From this perspective, Black folks and other historically marginalized people can use power. They do, and they have.*

This critical lens means we’re deeply concerned about how certain language (like food deserts and “obesity epidemic”), trends (like African superfoods), and food projects can perpetuate injustice.

Last but not least, we’re passionate about theory in action. As an African-American and Afro-Latinx team, critical theory appeals to us because it affirms our very existence as people who experience multiple forms of oppression – when other scholarly work and the world in general does not. We understand the critical theory named about as promoting healing, liberation, connection, and inspiration. We’re most excited about theory-in-action that makes way for what Bell et al. (2011) call emerging or transforming stories, stories that “catalyze contemporary action against racism” and spark “imagination of new possibilities for inclusive human community” (p. 75).**

We put theory into action through 5 guiding principles. These principles have guided us from 2012 to the present. One of these is “Beyond Food Deserts.” Please read. Share. Connect.

Food for Black Thought: 5 guiding principles 

We’re always growing! Do you have readings, work, or activism for us to consider?

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*They may not have the privilege to use power in particular ways with ease. When they gather, act, teach, build, or speak out, their lives and livelihood will be at risk in ways that it’s not for people with white skin privilege. Considering intersections – Black and woman, queer, and/or low-resourced, among other identities – the ability tothe risk is greater. 

**This is not a colorblind vision that glosses over issue of race/racism or other isms. It’s an inclusive community that radically faces these, so people can truly, deeply be in relationship. Imagine. 

4/28 | Shadows of a Sunbelt City: Book Discussion & Fundraiser

Shadows of a Sunbelt City

Thursday, April 28, 2016 | Monkey Wrench Books (MWB) is hosting a discussion with Food for Black Thought on Geographer Eliot Tretter’s new book Shadows of a Sunbelt City: Racism, the Environment, and the Knowledge Economy in Austin.

This book is a counter narrative to a popular perception of Austin as a progressive city. Rich Heyman (University of Texas-Austin, Geography) will lead the discussion. The book will be available for sale and Tretter will do book signings.

We’re excited to share that all book sale proceeds will go to MWB and Food for Black Thought. MWB is Austin’s only collectively run and owned bookstore.

Funds raised from this upcoming event will help FFBT take the Exploring Food and Urban Change curriculum we’ve been piloting at the University of Texas-Austin to the broader community. Learn more about the curriculum and vision here. We appreciate your on-going support.

Join us! Monkeywrench Books | 110 E. North Loop | 5:30-7 PM

 

A Bone to Pick with “Food Justice”: Feeding the Black Body

This blog is part of the A Bone to Pick with Food Justice series. This series explores assumptions about African-Americans in food justice work – and how to challenge those assumptions. Read the intro blog here.


By Naya Jones

“I know how to survive. And I know what it take to survive. I can plant a garden. If they said they wasn’t gonna sell no produce, I’d raise mine.” – F. Young, African-American, age 74, Austin, Texas (full interview here)

The first question that isn’t asked enough in food access work*: What do African-Americans know about cooking, buying, or growing food?

The assumption that Black communities (and other people of color) lack food knowledge is pervasive, though African-Americans have a long legacy of cooking, growing, and buying food. Historically, African-Americans knew food intimately as enslaved Africans and descendants, migrant laborers, cooks, and servers. Images used for ads like Cream of Wheat and Aunt Jemima’s breakfast foods “worked” because Black bodies were associated with food service (below).

cream of wheat

Cream of Wheat ad (1914) reads, “Ah reckon as how he’s de bes’ known man in de worl'”

During interviews, I usually find African-Americans are one to two generations removed from working land or growing a garden. Some elders, like Mr. Young quoted above, have been producing food from a young age. Teenagers carry on food knowledge, too. I talk with teenagers who learned to bake from their grandmas and are creating their own recipes; who cook with their mothers and sell meals to neighbors; and who grow home gardens with their grandmothers.

Toni Tipton Martin, Michael Twitty, Bryant Terry, Jessica B. Harris –  renowned Black food writers emphasize African-American (and Black diaspora) food histories. Meanwhile, around the country black farmers and gardeners and chefs continue to harness and build on this food knowledge.

Why, then, are Black folks so often treated as students without history when it comes to food access work? Here are two assumptions that fuel this stock story – and questions to challenge it.

Health Disparities as an Individual Problem
Health disparities are often a stated reason for food access work. African-Americans do face serious disparities, across socioeconomic status. While diet can play a role in disparities, there’s an assumption that they stem from “bad eating” among Black populations, without attention to other factors that can and do impact Black health. The focus becomes teaching African-Americans the how to eat, cook, buy, and grow “healthy” food. The effect is (more) surveillance of Black foodways and food choices, which are already stigmatized. Taking Black food knowledge seriously requires a broader understanding of health, one that takes into account chronic stress, environmental injustice, and other factors that impact African-American well-being. It involves understanding nutrition as just one aspect of food. Food is also about relationships, pleasure, and culture. The deeper invitation here is to acknowledge the complexity of Black lives.

Just the Help
Historically, African-Americans were involved in the United States food system as enslaved laborers, sharecroppers, nannies, maids, cooks, and migrant farmers. Each was (and is) considered unskilled labor. Lacking in knowledge. Informed by the know-how of (predominantly white) employers. Following orders.

Research disrupts this stock story. Plantation owners specifically sought enslaved Africans from certain coastal areas of the continent because of their experience with growing and preparing rice. They possessed environmental, agricultural, and culinary knowledge – knowledge that helped them survive on plantations and when they escaped. When enslaved African-Americans were not producing for the plantation economy, they cultivated and sold crops from their own gardens. They not only cooked recipes – they created them. During Reconstruction after the Civil War, during the Great Migration from the South in the early twentieth century, and through urbanization, African-Americans relied on food knowledge for sharecropping, dooryard gardens, cultural events and institutions, their own businesses, and more. (See Black Rice, In the Shadow of Slavery, afroculinaria.com, Maroon Societies, The Jemima Code, Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs).

This is not the typical portrait of Black lack or disempowerment. Though this research is available on-line, on blogs, in bookstores, and in libraries, it does not inform most food access work and related policy.

Flipping the script

Lurking here is a racial script. This script casts Black folks as perpetually unwell and uneducated about food. The script sustains white superiority and Black inferiority while keeping African-Americans in their social and economic “place.” When food access work builds from this script, it perpetuates the injustice that fosters food injustice in the first place.

Instead of assuming Black populations don’t know about food, why not ask what they know? What they remember? What are they already teaching or learning about food? The work of authors and researchers noted above, and the work of organizations like Oldways, asks these critical questions. The opportunity is for food access work more broadly to do the same, and for these questions to shape policy, interventions, programs, and the quote “built environment” on the ground.

On a deeper level, the opportunity is to ask if you or I or others involved in food access work are truly willing to flip this script. After all, doing so does shift Black people, youth and adults, from being in need to being resourceful. While this shift is easy enough to write down on the page, it’s a profound one that disrupts all kinds of assumptions, relationships, and roles predicated on Black lack. What’s really at stake if this script is flipped? If we dare believe that African-Americans can be and have been knowledgeable about food?

Last blog was about how none of us are immune to stock stories because of white supremacy, patriarchy, and other pervasive social structures. And, these questions hold a different responsibility for me as an African-American/Xicana than for a white woman involved in food access work. My partner’s responsibility as a Black man is different from mine.

As who you are, how will you challenge the “feeding the Black body” stock story? How do you already do this work? Are you willing to listen instead of speak, pause rather than act, learn rather than teach – if that’s the socially-just thing to do?


NayaJones_01

Naya is co-founder of Food for Black Thought and a holistic wellness practitioner based in Austin, Texas. Currently, she’s a PhD Candidate at the University of Texas-Austin (Geography). Her activism and research focuses on medicinal plant knowledge, foodways, and displacement among Black populations in the United States and Mexico.


* In this series, food access work refers to scholarship, policy work, non-profit efforts, and community organizing focused on increasing access to food. 

Copyright 2016 Get Rooted Consulting LLC

A Bone to Pick With “Food Justice”: 3 Questions That Aren’t Asked At All or Enough

By Naya Jones

Poor communities and people of the global majority (aka of color) don’t know how to cook, grow, or buy food.

People of the global majority do not know about “healthy” or “good” food.

Access equals proximity: if it’s close by, it’s accessible. 

These three assumptions inform most food access work.* They surface in scholarship, media, policy, and community organizing.  They circulate as part of broader stock stories about people of the global majority (aka of color): where they live, what they eat, what they want, and who they are. They perpetuate the myth that people of the global majority have not and do not feed themselves in ways that are local and sustainable.

I come across these stock stories again and again as someone who writes, teaches, and researches about food in Black communities.

Stock stories matter

In Storytelling for Social Justice, Bell et al. (2010) describe stock stories as narratives that perpetuate the racist status quo. Stock stories like the ones above reproduce the very injustice food access work seeks to address.

On the ground in Austin, Texas and elsewhere in the United States, stock stories materialize. They manifest in public interventions, urban planning, and non-profit programs. They inform concepts like “food deserts” and “food environments,” both deployed by urban renewal (or removal) projects in Austin and beyond. Stock stories are (re)making cities and towns, all too often in ways that displace poor and historically marginalized populations. They determine how certain people are “targeted,” sought after, and served.

Reflection as Action

As Food for Black Thought, we’re sometimes asked about what we “do” because we’re not building a garden, launching a mobile food truck, cultivating a farm, or other actions typically associated with food access work. I’m sometimes asked, “What can we do?” Gardens, farms, trucks, convenience stores, and other outlets – each can be transformative, especially when combined with critical reflection (see Soul Fire Farm, for example).

But reflection by itself is also action. In fact, one reason stock stories are “on repeat” in food access work is because reflection is not considered action. Not considered doing something.

By reflection I’m thinking of on-going self and group analysis rooted in systemic understanding of race/racism, capitalism, and other intersecting social structures. This reflection considers not just what is being built, but about who we are in this work, in the first place. How we are implicated in race/racism, privilege and oppression, local histories, and more? When is it our responsibility to speak, and when do we step back and listen?

Like all issues food injustice is not a “single issue.” Remembering Audre Lorde: “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Building from stock stories, without critical reflection, perpetuates not one but multiple forms of oppression.

Beyond Stock Stories

I am not alone in critiquing how food access work is often practiced, especially under the banner of food justice. (See the work of Dr. Breeze Harper; Cadieux and Slocum 2015; Garzo Montalvo 2015; Toi Scott; and Guthman).

Stock stories are so pervasive, none of us are immune, including facilitators of the global majority like myself. Which leads to 3 questions that aren’t asked at all or enough.

In this blog series, join me for three questions. Each speaks back to the stock stories at the beginning of this piece (about knowledge, “good food,” and access). Each prompts critical reflection.

As a Black/Chicana involved in food work, these questions help me address stock stories I’ve internalized. They inspire humility and deep listening. Both of which, in my humble opinion, food access work could use a lot more of.

First question up next: What do Black communities know about growing, cooking, and buying food?

Note: 

Based on my research, FFBT projects, and personal experiences, I focus on Black populations for this series. This focus is also timely. African-Americans continue to be a “target population” in food access work, motivated by health disparities. Specifically, food access work typically considers what poor(er) Black folks are eating (although health disparities affect African-Americans across socioeconomic lines). Though focused on African-Americans, this series is relevant for work with other historically marginalized populations as well.

 


 

NayaJones_01

 

Naya is co-founder of Food for Black Thought and a holistic wellness practitioner based in Austin, Texas. Currently, she’s a PhD Candidate at the University of Texas-Austin (Geography). Her research focuses on medicinal plant knowledge, foodways, and displacement among Black populations in the United States and Mexico. 


 

* In this series, food access work refers to scholarship, policy work, non-profit efforts, and community organizing focused on increasing access to food. Often this work is labeled “food justice” but not always. Furthermore, what is considered food justice work is up for debate. With these points in mind, I use the slightly awkward phrase “food access work.”

Copyright 2016 Get Rooted Consulting LLC