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The Mundane Way: Roundtable to Discuss Food Justice in Chattanooga

Diverse group discussing food.

The Mundane Way: Roundtable to Discuss Food Justice in Chattanooga

Community Leaders to Address Issues of Food Deserts and Food Justice

Chattanooga, a city in the Tennessee Valley, is home to a thriving local food scene. The community has seen a rise in backyard gardening, farm-to-table restaurants, and an evident love for homegrown tomatoes. In fact, a Gallup poll reported six years past that nearly three-quarters of Americans are trying to actively include locally grown foods in their diets. Despite these advancements, the benefits of the local food era do not reach everyone in Chattanooga. To remedy this, Joel Tippens, head of City Farms Grower Coalition, plans to host an important public forum.

Urban Agriculture Roundtable at Crabtree Farms

On March 22, Tippens will host the Urban Agriculture Roundtable at Crabtree Farms in Chattanooga. The aim of the gathering is to discuss and develop strategies to promote food justice within the city. As defined by the website FoodPrint, food justice employs a holistic and structural view of the food system. It sees access to nutritious food as a basic human right and highlights the systemic barriers which prevent many from enjoying that right.

Food Deserts in Chattanooga

Despite the popularity of locally grown food, Chattanooga still houses many ‘food deserts’. These are areas where residents find it difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. This is often due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other healthy food providers. Nonprofit organizations such as Fair Share Urban Growers have been combating these food deserts by cultivating community gardens in areas of need. These gardens, like the East Main Street Community Garden, offer fresh produce to local residents who may not otherwise have access to such nutrition.

Food Justice: A Movement for Change

The goal of the roundtable discussion is to raise awareness within the community about the ongoing issue of food justice in Chattanooga. The heads of the City Farms Grower Coalition aim to engage growers, policymakers, community leaders, and residents to champion the cause of food justice. Following the FoodPrint’s definition, they will be discussing potential strategies to overcome the structural barriers that prevent equitable access to nutritious, locally grown food.

More than Just a Conversation

While discussions about food justice are valuable, tangible solutions are the goal. Organizers hope that the roundtable will be a stepping stone onto future projects and plans that will turn the talks into actionable programs. With the City Farms Grower Coalition at the helm, the expectation is that the community will eventually see less of the food deserts and more of Chattanooga’s residents reaping the benefits of the local food era.

Joining the Movement

Food justice is an ongoing endeavor that requires the concerted efforts of the entire community. Those passionate about the cause can participate by attending the Urban Agriculture Roundtable on March 22 at Crabtree Farms or by contributing to organizations like Fair Share Urban Growers. One can also lend a hand by simply supporting local farms and choosing locally grown items in their daily diet.

Chattanooga’s vibrant local food culture positions it perfectly to tackle food justice head-on. With the combined efforts of individuals like Joel Tippens and the larger community, food justice can potentially become more than a concept, but a reality for all residents.

Author: HERE News

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