Blog

Liberty and Justice for Food

April 11, 2018 / By Guest Blogger: Rashawn Byrd, Youth Leader and Member of Milestone Cooperative Association

image1I believe people are entitled to healthy, fresh foods because it’s pivotal to a healthy life. Although, it may be difficult to get your hands on them, there are numerous steps one can take to get them. Eating healthy is expensive but income disparity should not determine whether or not we live longer.

 

I became interested in growing my own foods about 6 years ago when I started working with Milestone Cooperative Association, a youth program. As I progressed in my role at the co-op, I began seeing all the benefits from eating healthy. I said to myself, “Wow, I can be that fit by replacing two or my four pieces of fish with a salad.” I started attending conferences all around the country and listening to how different people had methods of becoming a better them. I then attended a food justice conference in Greensboro, NC that not only showed the benefits of eating healthy, but the consequences of not eating healthy and my eyes were opened even more and I dived into the movement.

 

One of the problems I have encountered along the way has been that people just do not have the time to put in their body what it deserves. My advice?  If you are unable to afford it then one option is to grow it either in your own back yard or at a community garden. Growing your own fresh, healthy foods is empowering and it gives you more entitlement on what you put in your body. It gives you a say-so in what is available to you, not just a convenience store.

 

Food justice involves fixing the lack of access people have to healthy food.

 

Food Justice in rural areas, such as Holmes County, is odious. Not because of the people, but because of the lack of information. Food justice to me is more than just having the right to grow and/or sell healthy foods, it is about having a passion for something bigger than just one’s self. Dedicating time, effort, energy, and even money into something that will benefit not just yourself but others now and in the future. Due to this lack of food justice it has affected hundreds of people, even myself. It impacts almost every aspect of my life, from health to mental development. Vegetables, fruits healthy foods makes up over 90% of needed brain foods.

 

Food justice is also an environmental justice issue.   

 

Food justice has an even bigger impact on the environment. Growing healthy foods keeps land fertilized and prosperous. When nothing is being planted in an area over a long period of time it becomes in uncultivable. This will soon spread like a disease not just to other plants but to animals. When land cannot produce, it effects the ecosystem drastically.  Animals lose their source of food causing their population to decrease and in some instances, they become extinct.

 

It is not surprising how much of an impact it has on race. Food justice breaks the backs of African Americans more than any other race. Not only are African Americans still reciprocating from years of oppression but they are also dying from health related issues. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congested heart failure and even stroke are all environmental health issues that we can work towards solving by working on food justice issues.

 

I became interested in growing my own foods about 6 years ago when I started working with Mileston Cooperative Association, a youth program. As I progressed in my role at the co-op, I began seeing all the benefits from eating healthy. I said to myself, “Wow, I can be that fit by replacing two or my four pieces of fish with a salad.” I started attending conferences all around the country and listening to how different people had methods of becoming a better them. I then attended a food justice conference in Greensboro, NC that not only showed the benefits of eating healthy, but the consequences of not eating healthy and my eyes were opened even more and I dived into the movement.

 

My goals are to inspire more people, young people more specifically, to want to be healthy. I hope the long hours, hot summers, bug bites and sweaty clothes do not discourage but encourages them to want it more than anything. Be bold, be outrageous, be different because in order to get something you have never had, you have to go somewhere you have never been, and do something you have never done and be someone you have never been.

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