D’Artagnan Scorza, Nikki Henderson, and La Mikia Castillo offer analysis and strong recommendations for creating lasting change within food desert communities, driven by local leaders with support–rather than direction–from external partners.
In study after study, we learn that residents in low-income rural and urban neighborhoods experience higher rates of obesity and diet related diseases, due in part to a lack of access to affordable and nutritious foods, in what are commonly known as food deserts. Despite efforts by hundreds of organizations and governmental agencies working to solve the obesity epidemic, low-income communities around the country continue to struggle with access to affordable healthy food.
D’Artagnan Scorza, Executive Director of Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) in Inglewood, California, and Nikki Henderson, Executive Driector of People’s Grocery (PG), in Oakland, California, began talking in 2010 about what kind of efforts would actually create lasting, sustainable change in these food desert communities. They continued these conversations as part of WhyHunger’s Community Learning Project for Food Justice, and the result is the groundbreaking white paper, “Facilitiating Change in the Food Justice Movement.”
The paper examines the roles of community-based organziations, non-profits and funders in facilitating real change, and analyzes the strategies and theories of change of SJLI and PG as organizations successfully working with residents to address diet-related health disparities. The report concludes with strong recommendations for food justice and community health work to start from within the community, driven by community needs and local leaders with support–rather than direction–from external organizations and funders.
Facilitating Change in the Food Justice Movement (LOW RES READ VERSION)
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Thanks to D’Artagnan Scorza, Executive Director, Social Justice Learning Institute; Nikki Henderson, Executive Director, People’s Grocery; and La Mikia Castillo, Policy Analyst, University of Southern California, for their contributions to this article.