Promoting Food Justice through Healthy Eating in an Urban Food Desert
Barrett P. Brenton, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology & Anthropology; Ozanam Scholar Students: Victoria Gander and Caitlin Conklin
This paper reviews preliminary results of an ongoing community-based research project with the emergency food and social service provider St. John’s Bread and Life and the clients they serve in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, NY. This community suffers from high levels of diet and health-related disparities. Therefore, a central objective of this work is to determine levels of access to sufficient healthy and nutritious foods among Bread & Life clients, and assessing their awareness of, and interest in healthy eating. An important outcome of this research is developing programs that will promote and improve access to nutritious foods and information on healthy eating while supporting individual and household food security. This includes targeting nutrition education and the integration of healthy food choices from additional sources (e.g., SNAP, CSA, NYC Green Carts and Farmer’s Markets). This ongoing project is part of the “St. John’s University Promoting Access to Healthy Eating and Nutritious Foods Program” whose primary goal is to support a sustainable and integral model of development that can best serve the health and nutritional needs of this community both effectively and with dignity. A key focus of this collaboration is to advocate for a food systems approach to community-engagement that integrates food justice and food sovereignty as frameworks for responding to dietary health risks in an urban food desert.