Black Food Matters

Racial Justice in the Wake of Food Justice

2020

Hanna Garth and Ashanté M. Reese, Editors

Black Food Matters

An in-depth look at Black food and the challenges it faces today

Black Food Matters analyzes how Blackness is contested through food, differing ideas of what makes our sustenance “healthy,” and Black individuals’ own beliefs about what their cuisine should be. This comprehensive look at Black food culture and the various forms of violence that threaten the future of this cuisine centers Blackness in a field that has too often framed Black issues through a white-centric lens, offering new ways to think about access, privilege, equity, and justice.

For Black Americans, the food system is broken. When it comes to nutrition, Black consumers experience an unjust and inequitable distribution of resources. Black Food Matters examines these issues through in-depth essays that analyze how Blackness is contested through food, differing ideas of what makes our sustenance “healthy,” and Black individuals’ own beliefs about what their cuisine should be.

Primarily written by nonwhite scholars, and framed through a focus on Black agency instead of deprivation, the essays here showcase Black communities fighting for the survival of their food culture. The book takes readers into the real world of Black sustenance, examining animal husbandry practices in South Carolina, the work done by the Black Panthers to ensure food equality, and Black women who are pioneering urban agriculture. These essays also explore individual and community values, the influence of history, and the ongoing struggle to meet needs and affirm Black life.

A comprehensive look at Black food culture and the various forms of violence that threaten the future of this cuisine, Black Food Matters centers Blackness in a field that has too often framed Black issues through a white-centric lens, offering new ways to think about access, privilege, equity, and justice.

Contributors: Adam Bledsoe, U of Minnesota; Billy Hall; Analena Hope Hassberg, California State Polytechnic U, Pomona; Yuson Jung, Wayne State U; Kimberly Kasper, Rhodes College; Tyler McCreary, Florida State U; Andrew Newman, Wayne State U; Gillian Richards-Greaves, Coastal Carolina U; Monica M. White, U of Wisconsin–Madison; Brian Williams, Mississippi State U; Judith Williams, Florida International U; Psyche Williams-Forson, U of Maryland, College Park; Willie J. Wright, Rutgers U.

Black Food Matters

Hanna Garth is assistant professor of anthropology at University of California, San Diego. She is author of Food in Cuba: The Pursuit of a Decent Meal.

Ashanté M. Reese is assistant professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is author of Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.
Black Food Matters

Contents

Black Food Matters: An Introduction

Ashanté M. Reese and Hanna Garth

1. In the Food Justice World but Not of It: Everyday Black Food Entrepreneurship

Ashanté M. Reese

2. The Intersection of Politics and Food Security in a South Carolina Town

Gillian Richards-Greaves

3. Nurturing the Revolution: The Black Panther Party and the Early Seeds of the Food Justice Movement

Analena Hope Hassberg

4. Blackness and “Justice” in the Los Angeles Food Justice Movement

Hanna Garth

5. Good Food in a Racist System: Competing Moral Economies in Detroit

Andrew Newman and Yuson Jung

6. Soul Food Gentrification: Food, Racial Heritage Tourism, and the Redevelopment of Black Space in Miami

Billy Hall

7. “Preserve and Add Flavor”: Barbecue as Resistance in Memphis

Kimberly Kasper

8. Sisters of the Soil: Urban Agriculture in Detroit

Monica M. White

9. Race, Land, and the Law: Black Farmers and the Limits of a Politics of Recognition

Willie J. Wright, Tyler McCreary, Brian Williams, and Adam Bledsoe

10. The Mango Gang and New World Cuisine: White Privilege in the Commodification of Latin-American and Afro-Caribbean Foods

Judith Williams

Afterword: Problematizing the Problem

Psyche Williams-Forson

Acknowledgments

Contributors

Index