Food As A Social Justice Issue

Nov 7, 2019

Malik Yakini at the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network's urban farm
Credit Courtesy DBCFSN

A community activist in Detroit says social justice won't be complete without big changes in the way people eat. Malik Yakini is the cofounder of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. He says minority communities in particular need what he calls "food sovereignty."

"Food sovereignty would exist when we see the people who are actually producing the food and the people who are consuming the food are also benefiting from the economic value that is created by the production and sale of that food."

Yakini says that's in addition to efforts to improve food security.

"Another part of our work is raising people's conciousness about the importance of creating another food system that provides food for all, regardless of their economic status, and does it in a way that's sustainable and earth-friendly."

A row of cabbages at the DBFSN urban farm in Detroit
Credit Courtesy DBCFSN

Yakini will speak about the issue in Kalamazoo during the bi-annual Urban Democracy Feast. He says says food, and how its gets to your table, is an issue that can bring people together.

"And the thing is, everyone eats. And so it becomes a great uniter and a tremendous platform for getting people to work together who might not work together on other issues because of the differences we have."

Overall, Yakini says the way people think about food needs to change.

"Just as a glass of water is a human right, or the right to pursue happiness in life is a human right, having high-quality food is also a right just as a result of being a human being on the earth."

The Urban Democracy Feast in Kalamazoo tomorrow (Saturday). It starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, November 4, at the Edison Neighborhood Association. Tickets coat $11. The money raised will go to people and groups working on social justice issues in the Kalamazoo area. Those who attend the event will decide who gets the grant money.

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