Published on April 20th, 2012 | by Brett Gustafson1
What is Food Justice? 5 Short Films from Shalini Kantayya Help Explain
Food justice is a concept that looks at all aspects of how we create, distribute, process, cook, establish security, and access what we need to eat. Food security advocates work to create awareness and solutions for the inequalities in the system. Because of race, socioeconomic status, disability and gender, many people are tragically left without access to healthy food.
According to the community alliance for Global Justice:
“Food Justice is the right of communities everywhere to produce, distribute, access, and eat good food regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, religion, or community. Good food is healthful, local, sustainable, culturally appropriate, humane, and produced for the sustenance of people and the planet.“
We have significant food deserts throughout most communities in the United States, inequalities in affordable fertile land access, disparities in education and knowledge about issues of health, eating and nutrition. Our planet also has major inequalities in distribution and transportation of food.
The reasons for these inequalities are complex and the solutions are not easy. The problems arise from issues of poverty, privilege, economy, racism, education and access. Thankfully, many groups and individuals across the U.S. are working on these food justice issues from many different angles, such as access, community development, education, economics and youth outreach.
One Film maker, in partnership with IATP Food and Community Fellows, has created a series of one minute films documenting change makers that are working on the issues of food justice. Shalini Kantayya is an eco-activist, filmmaker, and educator best known for her documentary Drop of Life.
In these short films we meet Malik Yakini, who is part of the creation of inner-city organic farms in Detroit. We are introduced to Kandace Vallejo, a youth organizer and educator on food injustice. We also meet Jenga Mwendo who is helping develop community gardens in the ninth ward of New Orleans. Haile Johnston is a social entrepreneur working on food access in Philadelphia, and we meet Braham Ahmadi, who works on community food justice issues in Oakland.
Malik Yakini, Detroit Food Justice Activist
Kandace Vallejo, Youth Organizer
Jenga Mwendo, New Orleans Community Organizer
Haile Johnston, Social Entrepreneur
Brahm Ahmadi, Social Entrepreneur
More short films from Shalini Kantayya on food justice change makers can be found at the IATP Food and Community Fellows website.