Community Health Collection (Monteverde Institute)


Ella Burk



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Publication Date

April 2020



I am a student of sustainable agroecology and an upcoming sustainable urban farmer. I believe that we should all grow our own food in order to decentralize the industrial food system in America, to reclaim and redistribute American farmland to people of color, and to ensure food security across this country of food-apartheid. Food apartheid is another term for a food desert, which is a neighborhood that does not have access to grocers that sell affordable, fresh, and healthy produce/foods. The term “food apartheid” accounts for the institutionalized racial discrimination present in such neighborhoods, and clarifies that this landscape of food insecurity in human-made, not naturally occurring (Penniman). “More than 23.5 million Americans live more than a mile away from their nearest supermarket, and 2.3 million of them don’t have access to a car” (Doherty). Rather than forcing millions of Americans (predominantly those of color) to eat from local and limited corner stores, we should distribute and grow healthy food with equity, sustainability, and accessibility on the front of the mind. Furthermore, empowering people to grow their own food decentralizes food production, which allows consumers to understand and control the source of their food, as well as creating self-autonomous food security. In 1910, black people in America owned 14% of America’s farmland, but through the Black Codes, the 13th Amendment, redlining, and more institutionalized acts of racism, black farmers today own only 1.5% of America’s farmland (Penniman). I strive to work towards the grassroots reclamation of growing across the nation. I created an instructional manual, or “zine” (name for an informal, homemade mini magazine), displaying how to grow fresh produce at home. The zine, titled “Easy Home Growing,” is designed to support people with limited resources to grow food at home. This manual can be particularly important amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, which makes accessing grocery stores and earning enough money for food even more challenging for those already living in food apartheid. A neighborhood near me in food apartheid is West Oakland, California. I will distribute the zines through the neighborhood in hopes to empower my community to grow organic, fresh, and healthy produce at home.



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Home growing and food security in West Oakland, CA



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