“Food justice is not just about nutrition,” says LaDonna Redmond. “It’s about dignity, and it’s about being visible.”
On Saturday, April 27, the nationally renowned food justice activist and TEDx-featured speaker will present ‘Historical Trauma and Food Justice’ from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sherman Street Church, 1000 Sherman SE, Grand Rapids. Lunch will be provided. (See how to RSVP, below.)
“We have a food system that has largely been built on the backs of people who don’t have a lot of rights and access to our public policy infrastructure,” says Redmond. “We need to collectively better understand the inequities in the food system, and make sure we include people who have faced these inequities in finding solutions.”
Converting vacant city lots to urban farm sites is a great start. But, Redmond says, “I live in a community where I can get a semi-automatic weapon quicker than I can get a tomato. The public health issue of violence is connected to the public health issue of chronic, diet-related diseases. In my community, it is about living or dying. You can die by the gun or from the lack of proper food.”
Redmond says that the food justice movement is really about the narratives of people of color and beginning to understand that the stories that we tell ourselves in the food movement are as important as the stories that we’ve left out.
“We must include in this the narrative of modern slavery,” she says. “Our food system today is still based on the exploitation of the labor of immigrants in this country. While we are talking about access to free-range chickens and grass-fed beef, we need to also be talking about immigration reform and fair wages for those farm workers, but, the people who serve us, who fix our food, should be paid fairly.”
A long-time community activist, Redmond has successfully worked to get Chicago Public Schools to evaluate junk food, launched urban agriculture projects, started a community grocery store, and worked on federal farm policy to expand access to healthy food in low-income communities.
In early April 2013, she launched the Campaign for Food Justice Now (CFJN), a membership-based organization that will use a race, class, and gender analysis to promote food and agricultural system reforms, and advocate for the adoption of right-to-food policies in the U.S.
– Attend Redmond’s presentation at Sherman Street Church — RSVP here or call (616) 206-3641.
– Watch Redmond’s TEDx presentation on Food Justice.
– Visit the Campaign for Food Justice Now’s website.
– Visit Our Kitchen Table’s website to learn more about food justice.
Sources: Stelle Slootmaker, Our Kitchen Table; LaDonna Redmond, TEDx presentation
Writer: Victoria Mullen, Do Good Editor
Images: Courtesy of Our Kitchen Table and LaDonna Redmond