UNTIL [FOOD] JUSTICE…JUST IS.
YWCA Greater Cleveland is proud to be a part of the Until Justice…Just Is campaign. Join us as we cover a different topic each month to explore some of the many areas in which true justice is needed, and what we can do to achieve equity in our community and our country until justice…just is.
This month, we believe that all people have a right to the foods needed to live a healthy and fulfilled life. Keep reading to take a deeper dive into how we can work to make this a reality until food justice…just is. #UntilJusticeJustIs.
WE ADVOCATE FOR ELIMINATION OF FOOD INSECURITY
- According to the USDA, food insecurity is a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.
- It is estimated that over 42 million Americans are food insecure in 2021.
- Food deserts are areas where residents have limited or no access to affordable and nutritious food.
- Unable to access food, food deserts can cause severe food insecurity.
- 23.5 million Americans live over 1 mile from a grocery store.
- With limited access to transportation, this severely decreases a community’s ability to eat and force them to rely on alternative sources such as convenience stores and fast food options.
- Communities of color are more likely to live in a food desert and/or be food insecure due to structural racism and disinvestment in these communities.
- Nationally, Black households are twice as likely and Latinx households are 1/5 more likely than white households to be food insecure
- Food insecurity can cause complex negative mental and physical health outcomes.
- Food insecurity does not exist in isolation. People facing food insecurity are often affected by multiple issues like structural racism, lack of affordable housing, social isolation, health problems, low wages, and more.
- Addressing the interconnected causes of food insecurity, including racism as a public health crisis.
- Expansion of the availability of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and raising the minimum wage to a living wage to ensure healthy foods are available and affordable to all people.
- Widespread education and assistance around the importance of making healthy food choices.
- Provide free and nutritious school lunches for students so that no child goes hungry and is able to build a strong educational foundation.
- Localizing food systems to ensure complete food security, self-sufficiency, and autonomy over food choices.
Where We Stand
YWCA Greater Cleveland believes that all people have a right to food security. Our mission to eliminate racism and empower women is directly dependent on our communities’ ability to live a sustainable and healthy life.
Our initiatives to address racism as a public health crisis actively include the interconnected health risks of food insecurity because food security must be addressed as a racial issue.
Our facilities such as Norma Herr Women’s Center and Cogswell Hall ensure guests will not face food insecurity and have abundant access to healthy foods during their stay.
WE ADVOCATE FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
- Food sovereignty is the right of people to healthy, culturally appropriate foods. This includes their right to define these foods and methods of production.
- Food sovereignty places a large emphasis on sustainable and culturally relevant food systems and production methods.
- Historically, indigenous communities have been systematically excluded from food access and choices with no consideration of their cultural food habits, leading to mass food insecurity.
- Land rights of indigenous people is a major focus of the food sovereignty movement, based on the belief that indigenous people have a right to grow and eat food that is relevant to their culture and traditions.
- Current food systems drastically contribute to global environmental decay. Full food sovereignty optimizes ecosystems and localizes food systems.
- Full food sovereignty for communities wishing to exercise this right, including full ownership and access to land and growing systems.
- Centering the needs and voices of communities desiring food sovereignty to ensure their needs are met by federal policy and practice changes.
- Addressing the negative ecological impact of current food systems and actively working to combat these with localization of food systems.
- Allow self-sufficiency in granting food sovereignty to communities, especially indigenous communities.
Where We Stand
YWCA Greater Cleveland believes that all people have a right to healthy food. Further, we promote a goal of self-sufficiency of those seeking support. Food sovereignty guarantees both of these and we recognize its importance.
As we stand in solidarity with those working to ensure full food sovereignty, we continue to address immediate food needs in our community by ensuring complete food access in our facilities such as Norma Herr Women’s Center and Cogswell Hall.
WE ADVOCATE FOR NUTRITIOUS FOOD
- Systemically racist practices such as segregation, food deserts, limited access to healthcare, and more combine to make eating a healthy diet extremely difficult.
- This causes disproportionate rates of negative mental and physical health effects linked to food consumption.
- One example of this is that limited access to food and/or financial instability often forces people to make difficult decisions between health and hunger.
- Convenience stores and unhealthy, shelf-stable foods are often the best and only choice for families with limited options.
- If negative health effects/conditions due to food consumption are experienced, trauma-informed healthcare that treats patient ailments comprehensively is often inaccessible (See Until Health Justice…Just Is).
- For example, diet recommendations made by healthcare professionals often do not consider food access or cultural food practices.
- Immediate, widespread healthcare access to those experiencing health problems due to poor food consumption.
- Increase of supportive services to empower people to make healthier food choices using relevant food sources.
- Widespread expansion of government food assistance programs.
- Centering the voices of communities of color who are most impacted by food insecurity and its negative health outcomes to ensure their needs are truly being met.
- Increased access to affordable, healthy foods, allowing people to live healthier lives.
Where We Stand
YWCA Greater Cleveland believes that all people have a right to access the foods needed to live a healthy life. Our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan specifically emphasizes our goal of healthy women and girls of color in our community. This is directly dependent upon access to affordable, healthy food and supportive services to assist in making healthy food choices.
We address immediate community needs in assisting those we serve in making healthy food choices and accessing healthcare when needed in our facilities and programs such as Norma Herr Women’s Center, Cogswell Hall, and Independence Place.