If you need a little inspiration today, let’s talk about a food justice campaigner in Detroit named Malik Yakitini. He is founder of the Detroit Black Food Security Network (DBCFSN), which operates a D-Town Farm, a 7-acre plot, and is getting set to launch a Coop-Grocery store this year. Since 2016, Malik has been working towards food justice in this African American community.
Malik says that food justice has four aspects. First, that all people in the community having access to high-quality food regardless of how much money they make. The second is that the workers within the food production system be paid fair wages, unlike current conditions where farm workers receive some of the lowest wages in the country. Third, community members should see the economic benefits of the food stores in their communities. Currently in his neighborhood, folks from outside the community run the store and money is striped from the community. Finally, the food grown should be sustainably produced, meaning it should not harm the land or air or animals that are on it.
There are a variety of challenges for the African American community accessing food in Malik’s neighborhood. For instance, there is poor public transportation and 40% of people don’t have cars. The easily accessible food tends to be highly processed and of poor quality. He suggests that food is a human right and that everyone, regardless of race, religion, or gender should have access to good quality food. He continues working toward the goal of food justice.
“We currently occupy seven acres where we grow more than 30 different fruits and vegetables, practice season extension with three hoop houses, do large-scale composting, keep bees, have a rainwater retention pond and a solar energy station. We give farm tours to community, church and school groups.” DBCFSN is working to launch in 2022, the Detroit People’s Food Coop, which will be organized as a worker-owned cooperative grocery store.