My Turn: ‘Be an activist for food justice today’

  • Stone Soup Cafe volunteers Whitney Robbins, from left, Marjorie Morgan and Maegan Boutot pack up takeout meals Saturday afternoon earlier this year at All Souls Church in Greenfield. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

Published: 12/2/2021 10:05:36 AM
Modified: 12/2/2021 10:05:04 AM

I would like to raise awareness about food justice. I believe that everyone deserves and needs access to healthy foods. Produce, dairies, proteins, and more.

Food access is important for equality, health, and well-being. Isn't this the bare minimum? There is not enough accessible, nutrient-dense food for everyone in most communities.

Notice how in most primarily white neighborhoods there are co-ops, small grocery stores and even farmers markets. Why? White privilege.

Along with occupations, home-owning, and more food access follows right along the line of privilege that we white people have. We can work towards and achieve giving access to hearty foods in communities of need, by opening healthy food banks, soup kitchens like local Stone Soup that gets fresh produce and meat donated every week to make fuel-full courses at pay-what-you-can every Saturday. Stone Soup works towards food justice and access by providing this.

We humans need to thrive, and without certain foods that could help, we may not be getting enough energy and protein that we need. Most convenience stores only provide unhealthy snack foods and drinks, unfortunately in high poverty areas these are the only stores near people. If someone needs to get to a grocery store, how do we know if they have the proper car to get there if the closest one to them is say 20-30 minutes away?

This is where healthy food banks come in. If we can open up or even build with a moveable truck led by farmers and volunteers to deliver and provide food at a low to free cost in areas of poverty, we could give more food access to those in need. This is just one idea around the numerous ways we can make a change.

In our society, grocery stores may throw out most pre-made goods after just one day. This came to the attention of the media when at least 100+ loaves of bread were taken from a Whole Foods Dumpster not including other pre-packaged goods. No, I don't recommend taking from the Dumpster but I do recommend that we email or make a petition to get foods that will be thrown out and taken out to the homeless,and those in need if whole foods will not take this upon themselves.

We need more land to produce food. An article by Melissa Montalvo says how most farm land particularly in Burlington, Vermont is all taken up by generations of families. We need to start changing this. We need more people who are willing to help, donate and share their produce and foods from their farm with the community. We need more farms not only open to selling foods in grocery stores but giving to food banks, soup kitchens, and other food access places.If we could create a nonprofit farm only focused on helping and giving to those in need we could create more equality for food justice.

Statistically trying to build farms in areas of need is not always an option as many areas of poverty are in larger cities with buildings blocking natural places to grow food. This is where I suggest we build community-accessible gardens. There are many parks in the cities and even smaller street corners where we could build small but thriving gardens.

Another idea I have is what if we (volunteers and community members) are able to provide hanging gardens that can be placed out windows or on fire escapes or balconies. Yes, hanging gardens! Large enough to fit some cherry tomatoes, kale and lettuce but small enough to fit in tight areas. This would give those in need a chance to have hearty foods close to them.

Now I know that a lot of the ideas I just shared are complex and could seem unattainable, but I know we can do this, I know we can work together and towards food justice. Stand up now, volunteer, donate if you can, brainstorm your ideas and be an activist for food justice today, thank you.

Fiona Crehan is in grade 9 at  Four Rivers Charter School in Greenfield.

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