Since 1995, the month of February is officially recognized as Black History month (also referred to as African American History Month) by the Canadian House of Commons.

To celebrate and honor Black History Month I wanted to share the efforts of LaDonna Redmond who not only plays a vital part in the formation of a food justice system but is also outspoken about modern day racism and historical narratives of people of color.

Her journey began when her son suffered from multiple food allergies, leading her to take a closer look into our modern-day food system. Realizing that not only was it incredibly difficult to access organically grown and pesticide-free food in the urban environment she found herself in, but also that the current food system in place was a reflection of modern-day racism.

Before I continue, I believe it is important to reflect upon the food we find on our plate every day. I – and I believe many others – find themselves disconnected from the process that went into producing what we consume. We can’t fathom how labour and resource intensive the production of our food actually is and how it impacts the environment. Not only the pesticides and fertilizers that go into the soil and our waterways, but also the manufacturing and transport of products weighs heavy on the global climate crisis.

Non-sustainable agriculture is endangering the biodiversity and is a large contributor to greenhouse gases which further global warming. Taking a step to actively work against these practices and systems in place means that we have to make ourselves aware of these truths. With every product we buy we are voting for the system we want to see in place. We need to be aware of our actions and make decisions according to our beliefs.

The second step to take can be: Supporting those who have devoted their life to a better food-future. LaDonna Redmond is one of them, and I personally believe that her approach and view on the current food system is most singular. She does not only talk about the environmental issue, but also about health and injustice. As an African American woman herself, she talks about colonialism and the impact of historical trauma in communities of color.

Nowadays, we often neglect the fact that the African slave import into the American continent provided the labour for the current food system. And while slavery is thankfully no longer a reality in North America, we have to confront the fact that modern food labour still mostly weighs on the shoulders of immigrants who are paid low wages and often suffer poor working conditions.

The food we eat, as insignificant and mundane as it might be in our day to-day life, is not only an environmental issue we need to confront, but also a racial one. LaDonna Redmond is working to establish a fair, just and healthy food system and I personally cannot wait to see where her activism will lead us. I hope I have sparked your interest and if you
want to learn more about LaDonna Redmond I highly recommend her TEDx Talk on Food Justice 2.0.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=ydZfSuz-Hu8

– Lea Schlauersbach (Intern)