Food justice stresses the need for human rights, equal opportunity, and fair treatment. I wanted to understand just how food justice relate to environment justice. Food Justice is in fact a major health and economic issue for many Americans. The mission of trying to get more people to shop for local food is a form of food justice activism, which is generally considered to be connected to environmental justice. Recently my town has started to have a farmer's market that runs once a week every Tuesday. I want to help run the market and encourage people to shop locally. I was deeply inspired to fight against this profit run food complex and decided that I want to help out as much as possible whether it's through advertisement or personally sell fruits at the stands. Throughout my research I have found that farmers markets does indeed have clear ties to environmental justice and food justice.
This essay explores how food justice and environmental justice does in fact have many things in common such as the common goal of environmental agricultural sustainability and health concerns being connected to inequality. I look at the concept in general and how its crosses multiple areas of study including but not limited to: alternative activism, oppositional food movements, environmental justice, and inequality (Hayes & Carbone, 2015). Next, I explore the connection between individual vs collective action by looking at the author (Muhammad 2013) critique on changes in individual lifestyle changes and comparing it to food justice. Then, I will talk about farmers' markets, and how it benefits stretches beyond the producer/distributor but the consumer as well unlike one sided dominated food systems.
Food justice addresses the disproportionate burden of environmental barriers to healthy food and aligns with the goals of social justice, that demands recognition of human rights, equal opportunity and fair treatment which made it become a part of environmental justice (Hayes & Carbone, 2015). More and more we see communities rise up, organizing to demand social change in our food systems that generate injustice across the food supply chain. Such as mistreatment of workers, pollution from industrialization, to lack of access to nutritious foods. What connects the multiple areas of study to food justice is the common goal of fundamental change and an alternative to the dominate food system.
Alternative food movements want a more local food as a way to shorten the distance between production and consumption, through direct marketing by the farmers themselves. Now there is two types of alternative food movements: constructive and oppositional (Hayes & Carbone, 2015). Constructive focus on the development of alternative solutions while oppositional fights and seeks reform of the dominant food system. Constructive acts as an advocate for low income families to help them gain access to the healthier recourses they need live healthier lives such as implementing farmers markets. While oppositional movements advocate for reformation through acts of protests such as anti-GMO to name one.
Environmental justice is defined by the EPA is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies”. Fair treatment means no one is forced to bear a disproportionate exposure to and burden of environmental conditions. These burdens include health hazards, and even limited access to eatable healthy foods. For example, when it comes to neighborhood disparities studies indicated that low-income neighborhood were the most vulnerable when it comes to obtaining access to healthy foods (Hayes & Carbone, 2015). This is seen as an environmental injustice and shows environmental justice can be applied to inequitable distribution of unhealthy food sources across classes and ethnicities. Food Justice actually historically also derives its goals and focus from past environmental justice movements.
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