our food justice story...

I grew up in the '70s when healthy fresh food was the norm and affordable and accessible. My mother made everything from scratch, and fortunately for my waistline, she was a horrific baker, which meant we always had "home-cooked" whole meals, and sugary treats were few and far between.

I have fond memories of those rare trips to the bakery where I could choose an oversized pastry or donut. I remember savoring the treat because it might be a while before the next visit. My mother revealed quite casually in my late twenties that our bakery dates were so infrequent because, while she prioritized healthy eating, we couldn't afford it. 

After 9-11, like most of my fellow New Yorker who suffered, among other traumas, a season of unemployment, I struggled to make ends meet. My food budget shrunk. Even in the culinary metropolis, access to affordable and healthy fresh food was often a challenge. 

Despite Whole Foods on every other select block and the news overload of healthy eating regimes from vegan to Keto, most folks, particularly those in disenfranchised communities, are still nutrition ignorant and poor. Even more so with the pandemic, be it corner stores that won't stock fruits and veggies or school curriculums that skip essential food science programs, a healthy meal is yet to be determined and then found.

I'm diligent about my daughter's healthy and balanced eating. As well as cultivating her understanding that too many children do not enjoy that fundamental right. 

I have worked in food justice advocacy for decades-volunteer cooking for MANNA, serving at soup kitchens, board membership on city food policy advisory councils, working with urban farms, and capacity building in food desserts. Different stages of my life have presented new experiences, perspectives, positions of influence, and approaches to activism. This is where I am now.

Lisa + Mila

What's your food justice story?