This week I was listening to a podcast, which discussed a term I was familiar with which I was telling someone about, which exists in our communities in the UK and the USA. This is known as food deserts, in regeneration. Local authorities in the UK work towards creating a equivalent form of a food quarter if there is not enough food shops in that area, which is why some popular supermarkets exist in a particular area.
It works like this, if there was a local area with say a couple of food/general grocery shops, but no frozen food shops within a 2 mile radius. This would be deemed as a food desert as there would be a limited frozen food facilities available to that community, to access.
In the black community, in the UK it could be deemed there is a lack of food shops available, catering to our cultural needs. This can be refuted by critics, who will say such services are available. Though a common school of thought is a localised food system, contributes towards the sustainability and greater cohesion with the community, which occurs when’s culture sells it’s own foods. Rather than another culture selling groceries in the black community. These outside cultures based on evidence do not have any wider interest in creating community cohesion, other than to encourage black people to spend money in their shops.
There should be in the US and UK more of an initiative for us to own our own stores, but also to get involved in growing our own vegetables and grain. I grew up with my parents using their knowledge of growing food from the West Indies, and most likely from our African descendants. This would be in the form of allotments and (currently), in the back garden. In fact my mothers garden resembles a fruit and vegetable shop at various times in the season.
Foods, which can be grown in the garden include (but not an exhaustive list):
- Pumpkin (though there’s science to planting at the right time, to ensure they grow before the frost in October kills them off)
There are many black stores (in the UK) which sell African and Caribbean food, but we have a food desert in respects of our black shops on the whole not selling a wider range of fruits, vegetables and staple foods such as milk and bread. Selling these it’s would support the argument of more black people buying food from our own, and create a stronger local black economy, as everyone needs to eat.
Another strategy, which is used (by local authorities) in the UK is a ethnic food quarter. This involves a creation of food quarter, where the local authority lease and sells buildings for commercial use at lower rates and prices to encourage, food shops and restaurants. Whilst there is a consensus not to rely on public resources, this may facilitate development of a black economy in the UK to start with, I.e a platform towards greater self sustainability, which can only aid our ultimate goal.