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Day 2: Food Apartheid - Why Language Matters





Today's Challenge


    • Read this article to understand the difference between food swamps, deserts, and mirages, why they are misleading and harmful terms, and why food apartheid is more accurate.
    • Read this article to learn why using the language ‘food apartheid’ is important and what it means from leaders of the food justice movement.
    • Read this article to understand why using terms like ‘food desert’ and ‘food swamps’ are inaccurate and harmful and what food justice activists are doing to combat the injustices in our food system.


Listen to the episode Food Apartheid: And Why We Don’t Call it a Food Desert from the podcast Point of Origin to hear Karen Washington, the woman who coined the term ‘food apartheid’, James Beard Foundation Leadership Award winner, and food sovereignty leader, explain the term in greater detail and the implications that using less accurate terms have on BIPOC communities.


Listen to sociologist and ethnographer Priya Fielding-Singh PhD speak about her book How the Other Half Eats: The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America to get a better understanding as to why food deserts are not the driver of food injustice and inequality, but instead, race and class.


  • What do you think of when you hear the words ‘desert’ and ‘swamp”? Why do you think this is harmful language to use?
  • How often do you consider the implications of racial and food inequities in your work, in your studies, as a person who eats, or as a voter?
  • What might be possible strategies to narrow the inequities of our food system?

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