A man selling fruits at a food stall.
Image Source: Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Year in Review: The Impact Food Has On Us Beyond Our Bodies

This piece is part of our 2021 Year in Review, a reflection on the issues and causes that mattered most this year – and the tangible ways you can support before year-end.

The saying goes, “we are what we eat,” but in truth, our relationship to food is much more complex. Food is a cornerstone of culture, and our ability to access healthy food and decide what we consume is rooted in the same inequities that other industries face. In the years ahead, we’ll grow a more nuanced understanding of how what we eat shapes our communities, tells our stories, and defines our future. From growing environmental threats affecting the supply chain to the labor revolution and tech innovation, here are the ways we can nourish ourselves and those around us.

TAKE ACTION

As community members: Donate to organizations supporting Black farmers, such as the National Black Farmers Association, National Black Food & Justice Alliance, and Soil Generation.

As diners: Follow and support Restaurant Workers United, the Restaurant Workers Council, and One Fair Wage.

Support Black Farmers.

After the intentional disenfranchisement of Black farmers for generations, only 45,508 remain today. They own less than 0.52% of agricultural land. Andrea Plaid outlines the history of Black farmers and the fight for justice that continues to this day.

Explore the origins of cuisine.

Aarohi Narain shares her journey of reclaiming her relationship to Indian food, the falsehoods of “authentic” cuisines in the U.S., and our need to reexamine our approach to “ethnic food.” 

Serve restaurant equity.

Working in the foodservice industry came with its challenges before the pandemic. Now, many are fighting to stay afloat while navigating dangerous working conditions, inconsistent pay, and unfair standards. Andrew interviewed food service workers to amplify their struggles and offer ways to support them.

End food insecurity in Indigenous communities.

The rising food costs in Indigenous communities only exacerbate racial inequalities and economic strains. Dominique highlights how the historical injustices waged by the U.S. government against Indigenous populations have led to the gross disparities in access we see today.

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