Lexington Food Justice Podcast#3

Deck Gardening

Last week was crazy-busy. Spending most of my time planning and planting my deck garden. Usually just plant herbs and some floral annuals. But last year I challenged my "green thumb" with a tomato (planted in a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket).

Wasn't the prettiest planter, but it certainly did the trick. As we enjoyed some of the best tomatoes EVER!

So this year I've stepped up my game with 2 tomato plants, 2 cabbages, 2 lettuces & 3 hot peppers. Will keep everyone posted with photos of my progress.

May 12th Show Notes

I was so crazy busy with this gardening project that I didn't have much time to focus on extensive Show Notes for the May 12th Lexington Food Justice Radio program. Nevertheless, I do have some additional links to share and learn more about topics discussed during our show.

We hosted a panel of local food justice warriors to learn about the progression of the Food Justice Movement in our community. We had a fabulous and engaging conversation. And so amazing to see the synergy and energy in the room!

Jeremy Porter, Director of the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition.  He graduated from the University of KY with a B.A. in anthropology. Jeremy's service as a church youth pastor for 10 years influenced his interest in community food systems work where he finds deep connection in being rooted in a place, particularly his neighborhood in North Lexington.

  • The Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition is dedicated to making healthy eating and physical activity popular and accessible to Lexington tweens in their homes, schools and communities.
  • The Coalition includes representatives from various local public agencies, health & nutrition-related non-profits, and private corporations 👉🏽 Join the Coalition.

Andrea James, co-founder of S & A Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in community engagement. The firm provide strategies that allow for deeper engagement with and connection to communities by utilizing a unique method of assessment to produce a guide that maps out a path for engagement and creates a network of connections useful for the clients' current project and beyond.

  • Andrea learned the importance of utilizing policies to creating change within communities when she served on Lexington's City Council from 2007 - 11, representing the 1st District. Andrea has the distinct honor of being the Lexington's first black woman to serve as an elected city council member.
  • Andrea is also regarded by many as someone who "planted the first seeds" for many food justice initiatives now in place in our community.
  • Now Andrea lives on a farm in a historic rural settlement. Andrea hopes to develop educational tours of the area to help people in our community understand the history and impact of these settlements.

Ryan Koch, Director of Seedleaf, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving healthy food access by maintaining community gardens where produce is shared with neighbors. Ryan's concerns for our community's food access problems helped him refine his vision for a network of free, open gardens and productive green spaces welcome to all neighbors.

And finally, Rachel Dupree, Program Director for Glean KY also joined us in the booth to observe and bask in all of this food justice energy!

Supermarket Redlining

One of the meatiest topics we discussed was the issue of "supermarket redlining". This occurs when major chain relocate or refuse to locate stores in inner cities or low-income neighborhoods based on data the store collects about the people living in these areas 👉🏽 Spatial Supermarket Redlining and Neighborhood Vulnerability: A Case Study of Hartford, Connecticut. So these neighborhoods lose access to fresh, healthy foods. Leading to greater food insecurity and poorer health outcomes.  

Redlining is a historical practice where government, real estate investors, and banks designate an area as unsuitable for investment by taking a map of the area and drawing a red line around it.  Consequently, there is no investment in these neighborhoods, which in turn, denies those who live there access to a good standard of living, including access to quality nutritional food.

And as Dr. Tanaka discussed on our first show (April 14th), some of our modern-day food justice issues derive from historical injustices 👉🏽 A 'Forgotten History' of How the US Government Segregated America.

Fresh Stop Markets

Jeremey, Andrea & Ryan all recognized the challenges of trying to right these wrongs. But progress is happening. One of these efforts is the Fresh Stop Markets

  • The Fresh Stop Market is offered by the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition. The program is a community-organized cooperative farmers' market* that "pops up" (i.e., sets up) in community centers or churches in neighborhoods where access to fresh, local produce is a challenge.
  • The food has been paid for in advance so that farmers don’t face the same degree of risk as they do with a standard farmers’ market.
  • The Market also eases financial barriers by offering farm shares based on income. Everyone gets the same exact food regardless of what is paid. No one is turned away for lack of resources. There is a Food Justice Share for those who can afford to pay the full price ($40) to put more money in the pot (i.e., pay it forward) so that more people can eat!
  • Shares can typically be purchased with cash, credit/debit cards, or EBT/Food Stamps/SNAP Benefits. And a newsletter with recipes and information from the farmers is included in each share to provide tips on how to use, store, and prepare the produce.
  • People in the community describe the Market as welcoming and happy—like a family reunion where all five senses are engaged and there is lots of laughter, food and fun!
  • Opening Day of the Market is on June 7, 2017 from 5-7 pm in the Castlewood Neighborhood 👉🏽 Opening Day Castlewood Fresh Stop (#1). You can learn more about these Markets and the dates from the The Fresh Stop Market website or Facebook Page.
  • *Please note that I initially described the Fresh Stop Market as an "alternative CSA". This terminology is incorrect. And I apologize for this misnomer. Many people understandably view this type of market through the lens of a CSA because it is a familiar model in some agricultural communities. I obviously did. However, the term CSA does not resonate with Fresh Stop leaders or participants. The CSA language connects more with higher income and less-racially diverse communities. And in many ways white-washes the deep cooperative economic history in black communities. It also has an unfortunate connotation in the South with the Confederate States of America. So thank you, Jeremy Porter for calling this to my attention. And for providing this insightful narrative and rationale!

  Listen to the Podcast!

In case you missed the live broadcast -- or are outside the listening area -- our shows are available on Soundcloud as podcasts. So have a listen 

Thanks again to our fantastic panel of food justice warriors! Our community is enriched by your passion and commitment.