There is on the horizon, a fast-growing movement of African Americans reclaiming their connection to their urban land and their food. This is being done as part of food justice and food sovereignty movements. People’s Grocery and Mo’ Better Food in Oakland, Growing Power, Rooted in Community, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, and many others are organizing with farmers and connecting African American growers and consumers. The work of these groups includes youth programs and urban gardening in areas where access to healthy, affordable food is limited, which is the case in many low-income and people of color communities. More importantly, these groups, particularly the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, are working for communities of color to have democratic control over their own food systems. Raising awareness, relative to the ways that African American communities and communities of color have been sidelined with the food movement itself, is one of these many organizations’ major roles.
It is critical that various groups involved, that are enabling communities of color gain democratic control over their food systems, continue to educate and organize, nation-wide, on structural racism as it impacts health, farming, food and land. These organizations have shown that they are determined and committed to breaking and knocking down barriers to food production and food access. There is a need to have persons and organizations join the world-wide movement for food sovereignty in their own communities. This will afford citizen control over food and agriculture to exist globally. Achieving racial justice in the food systems is not the sole burden of African Americans but a people’s clarion call all over the earth! Raising awareness of systemic disparities and working together to end them is a God’s responsibility of humankind’s survival.
Dr. Betty Whitted Holley is the Director for the Master of Divinity Degree Program and Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics & African American Religious Studies at Payne Theological Seminary. She also serves on the board of Creation Justice Ministries.