To: Residents of CT
From: Aziz Muhammad, a Student of Common Ground High School
A question that was posed to me and fellow members of a farm crew I worked on followed as, “What is Food Justice?” First let’s define food. The definition according to Oxford’s dictionary website goes as follows, “food is any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.” Now let’s look at the definition of justice which according to dictionary.com is, “The quality of being just; equality, or moral righteousness.” In my eyes applying the definition of justice to food means that healthy food is equally distributed and accessible regardless of any social or economical constructs; In a more broad sense, basically anything thing that puts you at a disadvantage in society. This also means that people who are disabled or weak are able to access healthy food.
Put yourself in this situation: You’re 60 years old. You either don’t have family, or have very limited contact with them. With this follows your very limited and low income. You cannot drive and there are no grocery stores near you. However, there’s a farmers market that sets up near you which is also accompanied by a fast food restaurant. The fast food restaurant serves food that’s well within your budget yet is unhealthy, and at your age health is a top priority. The farmers market offers you top of the line food but is not quite fit for your budget, so you’re forced to go to the route of the restaurant. Surely a ‘Big Mac’ is incapable of providing you with the nutrition you need compared to fresh and local produce.
Where is your food justice? Cue the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. The SFMNP enables those who’re of age 60+ to receive checks in which they can spend at farmers markets in CT for fruits, vegetables, fresh cut herbs, and honey. Each eligible applicant receive six three-dollar checks AKA $18 per recipient for each market season. Although to some, $18 doesn’t seem like much, to someone who doesn’t have the access to healthy food because of their income, it can go a long way.
As of July 1st, due to lack of state budget, funding for SFMNP was eliminated. Surely after reading this, one would able to see why and how important it is for us as a state to get the funding back for our seniors. For the sake of their health and their justice, a group effort is required to fix this problem.
If interested in ways you can contribute to this cause, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.