The WANDA (Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture) organization hosted a Juneteenth Sisterhood Supper honoring and celebrating the contributions of Black women in the fight for food equity. The virtual event on June 19 consisted of a panel of leading women in the community.
“Food for me is life’s freedom. So, for me it’s like what we nourish ourselves with, whether it be physically, mentally, spiritually, economically we have to have an economy of those systems that allow us to see the investments that are going to ultimately grow the community,” said Mary Blackford, owner of Market 7.
Dominique Hazzard, a historian and researcher for the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, emphasized the importance of physical and economic access to food options in the community. Within wards 7 and 8, grocery stores are not easily accessible and having access to various food options that are also nutritious is not common.
The women discussed the importance of self-care and giving back to themselves and how that contributes to their journey with their activity with food. Many women credited their mothers for being their “sheroes” and the pioneers for their relationship with food equity.
“I think a part of freedom is actually being economically and financially free. … When we look at everything, quite frankly economics is sitting in the middle. That links to education and links to health,” said Kim R. Ford, president and CEO of Martha’s Table.
Among many topics discussed during the event, the panelists addressed the roots of food inequity in the country and stated that reparations for the Black community need to be part of the conversation.
“Reparations has to be part of the conversation about food justice because this country’s food system was built on a system of slavery of Black people. In order to create freedom for us and create a more free food system,we must take steps to repair the harm that was done,” Hazzard said.
WANDA continues to create conversations on the impact Black women have had within the food movement and actively advocates for nutrition and access to wholesome food options in the community.