Committee on Racial Equity in the Food System
Although many communities suffer from food system disparities, like food insecurity, chronic diet-related health conditions and lack of land access, data shows that communities of color suffer disproportionately. For example, of the 12.3% of American households that were food insecure in 2016, rates of food insecurity were substantially higher for Black- (21%) and Hispanic-headed (16%) households than for White-headed households (9%).*
The effect of food insecurity on communities of color is magnified, making the issue not exclusively about race, but inherently racialized – a set of processes that lead to an outcome in which race is a determining factor. Racial inequity is perpetuated by institutional and structural systems that have long been in place and are normalized to the extent of being nearly invisible. Learning to unpack systemic racism leads to work which can help examine all forms of marginalization and undo food system inequities to the benefit of all.
Pigford v. Glickman
Pigford v. Glickman, a class action lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), unveiled a historical pattern of racial discrimination in the allocation of farm loans between 1981 and 1996. This is one of many examples of how these historical impacts have benefited some, while preventing access to opportunity for many. Racialized policies and practices not only have detrimental impacts for individuals but also for institutions and systems, including our food system.
What Do We Mean by Racial Equity?
An equitable society would be one in which there are improved outcomes for all. Race would no longer be a determining factor for health, wage, employment, life expectancy, and other disparities.
To create an institutional food system change by addressing the historical and current impacts of structural racism on our food and agricultural systems.
CORE is a long-term commitment to work internally and collaboratively with community and grassroots groups to address root causes of food system inequities and build collective solutions through the lens of structural racism as an entry point. This work includes:
- Understanding our role in the historical construction of the racial hierarchy (through higher education, agricultural and food systems work)
- Acknowledging our role as gatekeeper and being an ally to communities most impacted by food systems disparity
- Examining our policies, practices and procedures and working to make those more equitable
CORE hosts learning spaces to:
- Build a shared analysis, understanding and language around racial equity
- Share best practices and challenges around a process of engaging racial equity personally, institutionally and culturally
- Work to create capacity for those working directly in communities most impacted by food system inequities
- Assets-based approach builds on strengths of communities while understanding and analyzing power within those communities
- Facilitate racial equity through being a pipeline to resources and funding for community-based groups
- Magnify capacity to create larger impact
- Convene workshops and training opportunities to build a cohort of racial equity in the food system practitioners
- Facilitate leadership opportunities and visibility of community-based work
- Facilitate pipeline to youth-led positions, education, skills, knowledge and experiences within the food system
* SOURCE: United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, September 2019
Resource documents and multimedia for the Committee on Racial Equity in the Food System initiative.