EAT DRINK & DISRUPT COMMUNITY FOOD APARTHEID
A Community Health-Wealth Empowerment Initiative for Any Community!
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a food desert is a low-income census tract (1 mile urban tract, 10 miles rural tract) where either a substantial number of residents have little to no access to a supermarket, a large grocer or affordable, high-quality, healthy food options (fresh fruits and veggies) .
One of the richest country's in the World, 40 million Americans live in poverty and 23.5 million Americans live within communities designated as food deserts.
Either within or in close proximity to these communities are a proliferation of fast food restaurants, convenience and liquor stores; these are called food swamps.
Existing primarily in communities of color, food deserts and swamps represent a form of systemic racism and oppression that disproportionately hit African-Americans and members of the Latino community like sledge hammers; hamstringing their ability to adequately defend against chronic disease, disability and death from preventable, treatable and, in most cases, reversible conditions. From mis-vegucation, poor access, social inequities and a national food system that is stacked heavily against brown and poor folks, the issue is more a food apartheid and like any other broad sweeping injustice, it is incumbent upon all of us to eradicate these injustices through action, education and support.
Because of factors such as lack of affordable, quality options, aggressive marketing campaigns, economic/income inequality and systemic racism, obesity rates are significantly higher in these areas. These factors, coupled with a lack of vegucation, poor nutritional habits and lack of access to quality affordable options have created the perfect storm for our longtime leadership at the #1 position for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, stroke and most cancers.
Because covid 19 susceptibility and risk of death is greater among populations that live with the aforementioned underlying conditions, African-Americans also disproportionately lead in covid 19 deaths as well as our top chronic diseases.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Each Saturday morning community volunteers and our friends at the Center for Educational Equity (CEE), Maranatha Farms, Imagine Kitchen, Pink Salt Chef and Team Herban Eats will bag and distribute nutrient, vitamin-rich vegetables, fruit, grains and healthy-plant-based foods sourced from our Wednesday 2-4pm at curbside collection efforts at the Herban Eats kitchen (Imagine Kitchen). Additionally, we will add to the bag easy, flava-ful plant-based recipe(s), toilet paper, disposable wipes, an African-American health-wealthy vegan starter guidebook, vouchers for free vegan transition coaching and two 60 minute virtual or onsite cooking lessons at Herban Eats kitchen with Dawn from Herban Eats and Chef Artina Lindsey from Pink Salt Chef.
Curbside donations kicked off on April 22nd (Earth Day) 2-4pm with easy touch-free curbside collection. Each Wednesday thereafter we will continue to safely collect needed items at our Wednesday curbside collection 2-4pm at 420-P The Parkway or as well as our satellite safe curbside collection drop-off location at Pleasant Valley Connection 510 Old Augusta Road, Greenville.
We are working closely with local and state public officials to identify the food apartheid communities within their districts so that our volunteers can safely distribute the loaded, eco-friendly paper bags (courtesy of our friends at Trader Joes) directly to the addresses identified.
ALL CURBSIDE DONATIONS MUST BE MINIMALLY-PROCESSED VEGAN GOODS
Here are some examples, tubers, (sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes), fresh or frozen veggies (leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, okra, cucumbers, onions, spinach, corn, etc) fresh uncooked, canned or frozen beans/peas (black eyed peas, pintos, sweet peas, black beans, red beans, kidneys, etc) canned tomatoes, sauces, pastes, legumes, nuts, seeds, fresh or frozen fruits (no canned fruit) and 100% whole grains (brown rice, whole grain pasta, farro, millet, couscous, etc)