In Queens, where I've lived all my life, I find a bodega (a corner shop) that's faster and easier to fill with processed foods than fresh produce in my neighborhood in Jackson Heights. a predominantly Latinx part of Queens. Why? For food deserts – what the CDC refers to as "areas lacking in affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up a wholesome and wholesome diet," are not uncommon in low-income color communities. A study from the year 2014 dealing with the intersection of racial segregation and poverty concluded that "districts with greater poverty and a large minority population have less access to supermarkets". Last March even a report called Jackson Heights as one of three Queens "food swamps" (their term for "neighborhoods where fast food and junk food outlets are healthy alternatives"). From home, I see two bodegas, a KFC and a popeye's, but no plant-based options, or even a menu with a plethora of whole and minimally processed foods.
Apart from the food swamps and deserts, there is the way animal husbandry in the factory contributes to a dynamic that harms communities, especially color communities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the US, more than 60% is black or Latinx employed in the animal slaughtering and processing industry, and 38% are immigrants. The disease and injury rates in the meat packing industry are two and a half times higher than the national average, and will be a serious workplace injury three times more common in the meat packing industry than in the US Total Sectors, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Authority. The CDC reported on the various health risks of working in a factory or even living near factories. Injury rates and disease rates for workers in chicken and beef processing are higher than for other types of manufacturing, according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). Some research indicates that meat packaging is physically dangerous. In 2009, a statistical analysis in the Journal Organization & Environment found that abbey districts have four times the national average of violent arrest, with significantly higher rates of alcoholism, domestic violence, and children Abuse and suicide. The study hypothesized that "the work of killing animals in an industrial process can have social and psychological consequences for the workers." It is important to note that the study found a correlation and no cause.
Veganism is important to me because I believe that black and brown people deserve to have food that does us good both physically and mentally. It's not that veganism is naturally more nutritious or healthier than not being a vegan. (After all, you can eat high-processed foods and avoid vegetables in just about any diet!) Which is better for you if you have access to fresh produce and minimally processed foods and can incorporate them into your diet. This means we need more fresh produce and minimally processed foods at affordable prices. We deserve access to foods that improve and not harm our health. And we deserve access to jobs that pay a living wage and do not jeopardize us physically and mentally.
That's why I founded Veggie Mijas a national collective of women and non-binary people Femmes of Color. It was formed out of the "bonnet": for the community, made within the community. The issues I've just described are central to Veggie Mijas and those we believe are ignored (or ignored) by mainstream white veganism.
Mainstream Veganism – How Mainstream Wellness and Nutrition – does not often do so through abuse that brown and black people and immigrants undergo in the capitalist cycle. That's why we, Veggie Mijas, believe in reshaping the way veganism is spoken by including analyzes of food swamps and deserts, the suffering of animals and humans, and the health of black and brown people. These are all aspects of food justice and the reasons why organizations such as the La Raza for Liberation and Food Empowerment project are trying to make veganism intersect with it, to see how the food industry affects black and brown communities.
A bit of sister / sibling, community gardening, recipes and resources for food accessibility and food education Veggie Mijas has to offer can make a big contribution to food justice for brown and black communities. Decolonizing your eating habits to avoid the damage to animals and humans caused by factory farming begins with eating more plant foods, finding more information about your roots, finding your coworkers, and asking family members accessibility.
There are so many reasons why people become vegan with color. Here are some amazing Veggie Mijas / Mijxs who tell us what their vegan lifestyle means to them.
. 1 Ashlee Dume 23, Harlem, New York
"I identify as a vegan African American woman with Latinx heritage. I became vegan because I wanted a healthier lifestyle, but research has shown me that veganism is also about animals and protects our environment. Being a vegan POC is important to me because I know that my community has health differences when it comes to preventable diseases like heart disease and diabetes. I want to show the colored people that veganism is accessible to them and that vegan food can be delicious! "
. 2 Ysanet Batista 28, South Bronx, New York
"Eating and preparing plant foods is the way I honor my body, my health and my black and brown ancestors It is important to understand that blacks and indigenous people are dying from so-called lifestyle disorders that can be addressed, at least in part, with better access to healthier foods (as well as affordable healthcare and employment). ] food corporations My goal in promoting a plant-based lifestyle is to raise awareness of the food system and understand that we can feed and sustain our bodies with ancient and culturally relevant plant-based foods and spices. "