Food for Black Thought spotlights local food stories


Food for Black Thought in Elgin, Texas, February 20th. Front from left to right: Dana Summers, Naya Jones, Letisha Brown, and Xavier Clark. Back from left to right: Sue Beckwith and Mary Penson.

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  | Friday, February 26, 2016

Food for Black Thought spotlights local food stories 

  • Food for Black Thought is interviewing community members in Central Texas about their experiences with food and urban change.
  • From the Ground Up! aims to highlight how African Americans are impacted by changes in the area.

AUSTIN, Texas – Food for Black Thought is cooking up a new program called From the Ground Up! to share, gather and mobilize stories about how communities in the Greater Austin Area experience food and urban change. They recently held interviews in Elgin, Texas.

From the Ground Up! is a storytelling project that partners undergraduate students and volunteers with local communities to document often unheard food stories. Students are part of a grant-funded course at University of Texas at Austin called Exploring Food and Urban Change, co-taught by Food for Black Thought co-founders Dr. Kevin Thomas and Naya Jones.

“Gentrification, migration, and displacement are affecting Austin and its outer limits. Those changes impact food access and food experiences in important ways,” said Jones.

The vision of From the Ground Up! is to share and mobilize food stories. The project focuses on the experiences of Black/African-American and other historically marginalized residents. Recorded stories will be archived online and available to the public. Food for Black Thought also works with communities to identify local food system strengths, challenges, and resources for the future based on the interviews.

“I’m excited about From the Ground Up! in Elgin at this time,” said Mary Penson, Elgin City Council Member and sixth generation Elgin resident. “We have several people that have some amazing stories about food and life. As a growing small town, we really need these stories to be told.”

Penson added, “Our youth need to know some of the things people have done and may be still doing with food. I’m expecting great things to come from this project.”

Launched in 2012 as a two-day symposium, Food for Black Thought promotes critical awareness of food systems through storytelling, action research, and educational programs to support more collaborative, resilient, and socially just food systems.

“Understanding personal relationships with food is key,” said Kevin Thomas of Food for Black Thought. “We’re really excited to approach food justice from a holistic perspective.”

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