Fighting for Healthy Food in New York – English Long

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– [Harlan] I was diagnosed
in 2002 with diabetes. It was on the onset, so at the time the doctor informed me that, “Well, a lot of people get diagnosed “but they don’t all
follow the dietary rules.” It’s hard to find healthy
food options in the bodegas. Sandwiches, that’s the main focus. But there’s also canned goods, but they’re not necessarily low in sodium or offer a healthy
vegetarian aspect to it. And then they’re not placed in
prominent parts of the store. So essentially by the time
you get past the first steps, you’ve selected a bag of
chips, a soda or a beer, and a sandwich. And you’re out. I started with the Jamaica
Healthy Food Choices. I was interested in seeing
what actually food choices that I made, because I do have diabetes. Because we talk to bodegas’ owners. Some will making immediate changes, like they’ll take the bananas, instead of putting it in
the rear of the store, they’ll put it on the counter. Which is significant for someone who has to make that choice. – [Keith] If the only
thing that’s around you is unhealthy food, and you can’t afford to go outside of your neighborhood or you don’t have transportation, you eat what’s there. And that’s why people
have become unhealthy in certain areas. If you walk into a store
and you see that the tomatoes are moldy or the
lettuce is soggy and wilted, you’re just not going to
buy your produce there. When we looked at
Bed-Stuy, we realized that Bed-Stuy wasn’t a food desert. There were restaurants,
there were grocery stores, there were bodegas. But most of them just had very low amounts of fruits and vegetables, and
the quality just wasn’t there. So our work starts with
our produce manager who goes to the grocery
stores or the bodegas and get them to agree to let him come in and transform their produce department. We chose Bedford-Stuyvesant as our healthy neighborhood for Brooklyn, because there’s still
large pockets of poverty. More than a quarter of
the people in Bed-Stuy have a prevalence for diabetes, one-third of the people
there are still obese. And then 90% of the people
in Bedford-Stuyvesant recorded not eating enough
fruits and vegetables during their day. One thing we’d really like to see is just the Bed-Stuy community coming together to really support community farming. But community farmers
are also being threatened by development projects as well. (speaks in Spanish) – [Dara] We have unfortunately very high poverty rates in central Brooklyn too, and some of our communities
are up to 30% poverty rates. You have to look at our landscape, our environmental landscape,
and see what is available to us what is saturating our community. We’re saturated with junk food, we’re saturated with fried food. And getting locally sourced, or at least really good-quality produce everywhere, like if we can just make the comparisons, right, it’s not a comparison. It’s a grave injustice. When I think about inequities, why certain communities have
access to good-quality food, this is not just food, right. This is access to
resources, access to life, access to being self-determining. Communities of color are
literally being red-lined and being disenfranchised
in so many different ways. Be it through gardens, through
land, through resources. They’re also red-lined
and actively targeted by the wrong types of places. We do have a lot of
really great initiatives that are really working
on changing that, too. We have a long history
of people who grow food, who know what agriculture is, who know what good food is, right. We actually have a long
history of co-operatives in this community, too, of people pooling their resources together
to solve problems, where the market has missed us. Healthy food access, to me, means the reclaiming of power in communities. And that’s what food security,
that’s what food justice, that’s what food sovereignty is about, is the reclaiming of power in communities who need and deserve it most.

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