Food Security: A Community Affair

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AMY GOODMAN: We are on the road in Detroit. Demolition crews here are planning to tear down 10,000 residential buildings over the next four years that the city has deemed dangerous. But as old structures are coming down, the city is redefining itself in other ways. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of the city¹s lots are vacant. There¹s a growing urban agriculture movement that community groups are using to reclaim Detroit. Several farms currently exist within the city, and there are hundreds more community, school and family gardens.
MALIK YAKINI: Detroit has been designated as a food desert by Mari Gallagher, who came here and did research in 2007. And she defined a food desert as a place where residents have to travel twice as far to get to a major grocer as they do to get to what she calls a fringe food location, and what we call in Detroit a party store. So we have this real serious problem in Detroit with the lack of access to fresh and healthy produce, which has tremendous health implications. So we have lots of problems in Detroit with obesity, both childhood and adult obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases which are controllable by diet. . .
. . . What I hope to see is a ramped-up or an increased urban agriculture movement in the city of Detroit. I hope to see more understanding of the value of this movement by the political leadership within the city. But most importantly, we think, is not so much even the political leadership, but what¹s most important is the people being mobilized and the people¹s consciousness being raised, so that they see this as being a way to work on their own behalf. Once people are mobilized and see that they can begin to work for their own benefit, then that¹s what holds politicians accountable. If people aren¹t mobilized and able to speak on their own behalf and act on their own behalf, then politicians come in and do whatever they want to do. So what¹s most important always is the people being conscious and mobilized, and that¹s what‹that¹s what really helps to shape reality.
- Billy
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