This Is What Food Justice Looks Like

By Julianne Hing Mar 20, 2009

A collaboration between artist Favianna Rodriguez and Bryant Terry, author of Vegan Soul Kitchen. Click to enlarge. I’ve got food on the mind. First Lady Michelle Obama (I will never, ever get tired of saying those words) began digging up the White House lawn this morning with school kids from the D.C. area to plant a garden of vegetables, berries and herbs. Obama said that she hopes to teach kids about healthful eating and cooking in an age when diabetes, heart disease and other preventable diseases run rampant among adults and kids alike. But it’s not just a matter of personal choice. As Michael Pollan points out in the latest issue of Mother Jones:

I think you have to work on access. I think we have food deserts in our cities. We know that the distance you live from a supplier of fresh produce is one of the best predictors of your health. And in the inner city, people don’t have grocery stores. They have to get on a bus and take a long ride to get to a source of fresh produce. So we have to figure out a way of getting supermarkets and farmers markets into the inner cities.

The White House garden is a smart move. It’s in line with the work of food justice activists around the country who are working to bring small farms to areas that are de facto food deserts. It’s no secret that liquor stores outnumber produce shops in poor, urban neighborhoods. Mother Jones also profiled Will Allen, a MacArthur genius award winner and ColorLines Magazine 2008 Innovator, whose organization Growing Power has successfully instituted a sustainable, profitable urban farm in Milwaulkee, Wisconsin that sells fresh produce to the local Black, Hmong and American Indian communities. In other food news (is it lunch time yet?) Bryant Terry’s new cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen, is out now. Check out a review of his book on Favianna Rodriguez joined up with Terry to design this series of posters. Email to pick up a poster ($30)! Now, let’s eat!