Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Holistic Activism

Now you're talking;
Gardening in Detroit, for these women activists, demonstrates self-reliance and self-determination. ......gardening becomes an exercise of political agency and empowerment. Instead of petitioning the city government to increase access to fresh food, or lobbying for more grocery stores and markets to locate in the city, they transform vacant land into a community- based healthy food source that allows them to be able to feed themselves and their families and to provide an example to their community of the benefits of hard work.
This is what I feel has been missing from the food desert problem-the food challenges faced by the urban (and rural) poor. A more holistic mindset. One that roots the need for good food in an overall picture. The flight of the big supermarkets from urban centres exposed the lack of sovereignty the people living there had over their food supply. And how they could just be left high and dry because of it;
In addition, food becomes a point of entry for discussing how African Americans might gain control over other aspects of their lives, including access to affordable housing, clean water, community policing,and decent public education.If food is life, as these women activists suggest, then the ability to control the quality of food and increase access to healthy food in Detroit’s predominantly black community is an essential aspect of the struggle for self-determination and self-reliance.  "Sisters of the Soil: Gardening as Urban Resistance in Detroit" ~ Monica M. White
Yes. This is so often missing from the discourse on food, usually centred around those who have access. Having no response for those who do not.

My problem has always been, how do you get provision back when business policy mitigates against it? Especially without a constant and overwhelming demand? These woman are at least showing the possibilities of some way around this. Even if urban or similar in rural areas aren't the whole of the answer for everyone. It does show a possible way people can and are willing to take their destiny somewhat into their own hands.

Growing food also seems to be the most profound way of cultivating enthusiasm for produce. What's more seamless than wanting to taste what you've nurtured grown by your own hands? Or even stuff you've seen growing out of the ground? I can't imagine children who won't want to taste what they see growing.

This is the kind of thing that really fight the might of mega-globo industrialized food, a fuller sensory experience. Not a negative crusade to pathologize people's bodies whilst trying to enforce a duty to eat vegetables.

I've never been able to get on board with the use of 'obesity' as way of resolving what is an issue of economic and social justice. Trying to link the two has always felt unwise. Here's why;
The declaration that obesity is a disease and the acceptance of these and other drugs as an answer to America’s staggeringly high obesity rates shifts focus away from the real and central issue: the quality of our food.
The central issue of 'obesity' whatever that truly is, has never been about improving anyone's situation, let alone those who's needs are pushed to the edge. It's only begun to try since fat people started to assert some consistent expressions of self worth. Our self loathing enabled even more slackness than would have otherwise been likely to occur. How can a crusade that keeps undermining fat people's humanity be compatible with their needs? 

And talking about weight, whilst I would not dismiss the influence of an unbalanced food culture in bringing out or exacerbating certain metabolic issues. Weight is possibly not the most direct sign. The percentage difference between Black Women and men with a BMI +30 shows a difference of twenty points.

The percentages amongst Black populations in the UK vary. Yet that divide is replicated amongst African women in comparison to men.

US BM's statistics barely differ from anyone else's. It's possible that even this is an overestimate given, I'm not sure prison figures are included in this calculation-in the past they haven't been. That would probably affect the figures.

I find it hard to accept without clear evidence that the whole of the difference in outcomes for Black women is solely down to food. The importance of good food should never been seen through the lens of weight is diversionary. The obsession with that angle too quickly becomes disordered and that itself begets more imbalance.

If 'obesity' wasn't in the picture, would fulfilling food needs be worthwhile? Of course.

And that has to be the heart of reviving food culture, always. People are just worth it, regardless.

No comments:

Post a Comment