What Can We Do... Resources to Fight for Equity in Food and Justice

What Can We Do…

We have been moved by the collective moment of observance to reflect on our country’s painful history of violence, racism, segregation and policies leading to civil and economic inequities and violence. In an effort to create dialogue and give voice to those who have been leading the charge for change, working diligently and, too often without amplification, below we feature national and local organizations that support equity in our food systems and honor contributions by African Americans to our food culture. You can support these causes by reading into their history, donating to their programs or spreading the word about their missions.


The L.A. Times released writer Kat Hong’s list of the L.A. area’s black-owned restaurants. Order for pickup or delivery directly from the restaurants if you can rather than from meal delivery services that can cut significantly into profits and return often. You’ll be supporting small, independent business owners and smaller restaurant groups and ensure profits are recirculated back into their respective neighborhoods.


America’s food history has a sordid past that leans heavily on the seeds, skills and technology brought to this continent by forced migration. We can trace varieties of rice and coffee, bananas and livestock and milling and irrigation techniques in America’s largest slave trading sea ports to specific areas in Africa, helping us understand, for one, the importance of the ties between New Orleans’s Jambalaya and the Jollof rice of Ghana and Nigeria. Here’s our list of books that highlight the importance of African American contributions to our foodways and how slavery and segregation shaped our current food systems.

The Cooking Gene @thecookinggene
Author: Michael W. Twisty

The Travel Notes of A Geechee Girl

Author: Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor 

(and for more context, watch Julie Dash’s sublime film Daughters of the Dust)

The Jemima Code

Author: Toni Tipton-Martin @tonitiptonmartin

Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora

Author: Edna L. Fields-Black

The Taste of Country Cooking

Author: Edna Lewis

Soul Food: The Surprise Story of An American Cuisine

Author: Adrian Miller @soulfoodscholar


The fact that we live in a society that purports equality doesn’t mean that it is equitable. Policies such as redlining and redistricting have led to an uneven distribution and retention of wealth and resources in our country, leading to a wholly unequal access to equitable education, food and economic growth in communities of color. The following Los Angeles-based organizations work hard to fill the gaps. Take a moment to get to know the people running these groups and thank them. 

Social Justice Learning Institute Focused in South L.A. and dedicated to improving the health and well being of youth in communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training and community mobilizations. Follow on Insgtagram: @sjli_ca

The Village Marketplace: A market in South L.A. run by Community Services Unlimited and Hank’s Mini Market are leaders in the fight towards equitable distribution of healthy food in South L.A. Follow on instagram: @csuinc & @hanksminimarket

SEE-LA, or Sustainable Enterprises Los Angeles, operates several Los Angeles area farmer’s markets. Their more successful markets, such as the Hollywood one, funds the overhead of smaller markets in underserved neighborhoods. Follow on Instagram: @seelaorg

The Collective Identity is a mentorship program for young black women ages 13-25, including aspiring chefs. Follow on Instagram: @thecollectiveidentity

L.A. Food Policy Council: works diligently to create more pathways for access to healthy food by leveraging the buying power of groups of large governmental organizations like LAUSD to change their purchasing to support local farmers and producers, among many other things. Follow on Instagram: @lagoodfood