Virginia Tech workshop addresses racial inequities in food systems head-on

Two groups come together to show how to dismantle inequities related in race

A Virginia Tech workshop is putting the spotlight on racial inequities in our food systems, from who is growing your food to how to access it.

The Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation and R.E.A.L. (Racial Equity in Agriculture Lab) are hosting “Building Racial Equity in the Food System: From Individual Anti-Racism to Dismantling Institutional Systems” Wednesday, March 31.

There is already a waitlist to attend the event and be a part of the conversation.

It’s a two-part training, the first part will focus on defining racism and how it shows up in food systems and the second half is all about the role people play in knocking those racial inequities down.

Duron Chavis of R.E.A.L. said before addressing what’s going on in food industries, everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to what racism is and how its impact can be linked to other national issues. Chavis said it was exposed in 2020 during the pandemic and is now coming to a head in 2021 as we come out of the pandemic.

“Our discourse around racism usually lives in an individual act, somebody called you an explicative or someone was denied a job, but when we start to pull back the layer and understand that there are systems that we live within that are grounded in racist policies and discriminative policies that are producing poor public health outcomes,” Chavis said.

An example Chavis likes to use is the million dollars distributed during the pandemic to farmers in the U.S.

“How can we as a society say that we have an equitable food system when these black farmers were recipients of less than 1% of the money to support them during this time of crisis,” said Chavis.


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