What is Food Justice?

What is Food Justice?

The state’s effort toward food distribution to everyone is making great strides, but what about food justice? Saint Paul—Ramsey County Public Health and Twin Cities PBS produced a short video highlighting what food justice is and what actions are being taken in our state to supplement the issue.

So what is food justice? Food justice is the right to have not just any food, but healthy food, available to everyone regardless of income/race/gender/religion. The video focuses on the work that five organizations, which include a few Minnesota Hunger Initiative members, are doing and their creative approaches toward allocating healthy food to everyone in our state.

  • Neighborhood House is transitioning from a food shelf to a food market. They have also partnered with Second Harvest Heartland to host mass produce distribution days. Anyone in need is invited to come and get a bag of fresh produce, all of which is donated from people in the community, farmers, or from Second Harvest’s food rescue.
  • Catholic Charities Dorothy Day Center recognizes that homelessness is linked to health problems. They often don’t have a choice about what they eat and are at greater risk for diabetes and heart issues because of access salt and sugar intake. The chefs here are transitioning to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and lean proteins. They believe that “food changes mood”.
  • Keystone Community Services have created a “Foodmobile” that brings healthy food to people who live more than two miles away from a food shelf or grocery store, or are not on a Metro Transit route. A third of their clients are disabled or have health issues. The Foodmobile goes to places like the Davita Dialysis Center where people might not have easy access to transportation, or don’t have much time because of their time spent doing dialysis.
  • Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities—Men’s Programs serves around 150 people a day. They have confidence in the idea that if people are given healthy food to eat, they will in turn be more productive. Having a fresh, well-balanced meal is the first step in getting back on their feet.
  • Ralph Reeder Food Shelf takes a unique and inventive approach to the classic food shelf. They are one of America’s only food shelves woven into a school district. Students in the Mounds View Public School District have the awesome opportunity to grow fresh produce in gardens at their school. The food grown in the gardens is then brought to the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf at the Pike Lake Education Center. The food shelf receives about one ton of produce a year from the gardens.

In Minnesota 623,000 people visit food shelves a year. The organizations featured in “Food Justice” are committed to providing the healthy meal that might be just what someone needs to turn their day around. You can support work of organizations like theirs by donating healthy food like fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats to your local food shelf. Or you can donate your time or money to organizations committed to providing healthy food to those in need.

Click here to watch the video and learn more about food justice!