When you hear the phrase “you are what you eat,” what do you think about? Do you imagine that you are literally a pizza or a burger? Or, do you take into consideration the harmful effects of ingesting certain foods? Perhaps it is the phrase that is problematic, and the truth is you are not what you eat but rather you eat what we can access.
Access to healthy food is a huge race issue in this America. Similar to environmental racism, the lack of access to healthy foods disproportionately affects African-Americans at a higher rate than any other race. African Americans are more likely to live in lower income communities, they have less access to healthy foods because farmers’ markets, health conscious grocery stores and community gardens are often located in higher income neighborhoods while fast food restaurants and discount stores find their way into low income communities. In Washington D.C., more than 60-percent of African Americans cannot obtain healthy food within walking distance of their local communities. Forget about taking public transportation or driving to your favorite health food store because the majority of minorities in major cities around the country do not have the accessibility or resources necessary to shop at stores that provide better food options and a privileged diet.
Fortunately, there are several nonprofit organizations, listed below, whose mission is to supply access and information to low socioeconomic communities and fight to change the current standard of living. Their work to bridge the gap is essential to addressing the disparities that exist in this country. Check out their websites, become an educated consumer and join the fight to create long term change.
1. The Food Trust
2. National Farm to School Network
3. Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
4. Gardening Matters
5. Youth Farm
6. Campus Kitchens Project
7. Organic Seed Alliance
8. Food Forward