Toward a more equitable food system
The above-mentioned proposals are simply a few of many possible strategies that would support existing and future solutions to the challenges of the current food system. By engaging in these issues, the BGC would be launching a new model for development that could be scaled up and adapted around the world. Food justice is an intersectional issue that cuts across health, economy, politics, and race. Examining the food system and understanding the structures that give shape to the growing inequality in the Bay Area, nation, and world helps bring about solutions that are urgently needed to imagine alternatives to ensure equity and sustainability. The planned international partnerships with universities from around the globe could also be of great benefit to such food initiatives; partner organizations would be able to contribute their solutions and practices that have worked in other neighborhoods, cities, and regions.
The food-related health challenges in Richmond are ones that many societies around the world are facing. In fact, statistics show that these food-related health challenges are growing at alarming rates.50 Richmond’s food system could benefit greatly from targeted policies and strategies that aim to do the following:
- Alleviate the health impact of unhealthy foods;
- Ensure food security with access to healthy, affordable and sustainably sourced foods;
- Provide resources to raise awareness about food-related health issues to transform what and how people eat; and
- Assess the relationship between other opportunity structures, including housing, transportation, and schools, and access to healthy food.
The potential for meaningful impact vis-a-vis community-oriented, practice-based research is tremendous, and a more formalized process—a steering committee or policy council—for collaboration among relevant stakeholders could streamline the process to advance these strategies. The urgency of existing challenges demands innovative thinking in partnership with local stakeholders; the opportunities for the Berkeley Global and the Global Food Initiative to engage in these kinds of partnerships and research could not come at a better time.
- 50. “Unhealthy diets greater threat to health than tobacco; UN expert calls for global regulation,” United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, May 19, 2014, accessed August 11, 2015.