Race and Food: Journal Exposes the Racial Structure of the Food System

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Center for New Community, and Indiana University Press today announce the publication of “Food Justice,” a new issue of the journal Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contextsthat explores the intersection of race and food in the national and global food systems.

With a wide range of academic- and activist-authored papers, the issue takes readers through the entire food chain from—“field to fork”—in an examination of the challenging intersections between race, sustainability, food safety, access to healthy food, land ethics, food worker justice, and food sovereignty.

Wherever food is produced, picked, processed, packed, or purveyed low-wage workers of color predominate in the hard, dangerous jobs that feed the world on cheap labor and rampant exploitation of food workers within a toxic framework of abiding racial structures spanning the global community.  And wherever food is sought by those who can least afford it, those same racial structures prevent or prohibit access to decent, nutritious, and affordable food.  If all people are to be well-fed with good, healthy, affordable food there can be no avoidance of addressing the fundamental, structural racism at the heart of the food system.  In short, race and food are inextricably related.

According to Charlotte Williams, Field Organizer for Food Justice Initiative, Center for New Community, “A just food movement must be grounded within the framework of racial justice. With a renewed sense of urgency, food workers, urban and rural organizations and communities, and neighborhood leaders are working together to dismantle the racial structure of the food system that continues its defeat of the average citizen through low-wage jobs, harsh working conditions, and poor quality, high-cost food.”

“At every level in the food system,” Andrew Grant-Thomas, Editor-in-Chief, Kirwan Journal said, “people and communities of color are deeply impacted by this racial structure.”

The special issue was a collaboration between the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University (Columbus) and the Chicago-based Center for New Community and its Food Justice Initiative and is published by Indiana University Press.

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