What Is a Food System?
To understand food justice, we first need to understand food systems. UNICEF defines food systems as “the public policy decisions; the national and global systems and supply chains; and the individuals and groups—public and private—that influence what we eat.” They operate at all scales, from the global to the local.
Food systems influence our diets and therefore our health, and also play a large part in global, national, regional, and local processes. They are a crucial consideration as we strive for better health, the mitigation of climate change, and the promotion of environmental and social justice.
What Is Food Justice?
Food justice is “a holistic and structural view of the food system that sees healthy food as a human right and addresses structural barriers to that right.” The concept highlights the importance of healthy communities, the connection to environmental health, and the disproportionate negative impacts of current food systems on marginalized communities.
Often driven by marginalized communities and leaders, food justice initiatives “work not only for access to healthy food, but for an end to the structural inequities that lead to unequal health outcomes.” Food justice also considers access to culturally appropriate food, recognizing that food is an important part of cultural identity and connection. Advocates seek to create sustainable food systems that meet these needs and promote equity, diversity, and environmental health.
Sustainable Food Production
Sustainable food systems are “those that contribute to food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social, cultural, and ecological bases that generate food security and nutrition for future generations are safeguarded.” The idea of sustainable food goes beyond environmental sustainability and natural resource usage to include economic, social, and cultural considerations. But how do we get there from our current broken food systems?
Large-scale change in food systems can result from both internal and external drivers. External drivers include environmental and health systems. However, industry can often disregard these factors as externalities that don’t have bearing on economic considerations. This is why internal drivers are crucial aspects of food system change. Changes in consumer behavior or the adoption of new techniques can push food systems toward more sustainable, just, and ethical futures.
Here at Appetite For Change, we use food as a tool to build health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis. We bring people together to learn, cook, eat, and grow food, creating change that lasts. Learn about our own urban agriculture projects and explore what we do for our community. Browse our shop, consider volunteering, or donate today to support our incredible impact in North Minneapolis! Together, we can create well-rooted and flourishing change!