CSI Releases Two Reports Showing How The U.S. Food System Fails Communities, Particularly Communities of Color


Media Contact: Dennis Chin
Phone: 212-248-2785 x1450; Email: dchin@thecsi.org

Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) Releases Two Groundbreaking Reports Showing How The U.S. Food System Fails Communities, Particularly Communities of Color

New York, NY — The Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) released today two reports, Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System and Shining a Light in Dark Places: Raising Up the Work of Southern Women of Color in the Food System. These reports show how policies created our food system; how the system fails communities, particularly communities of color, leaving too many hungry, sick, and underpaid; and the interventions needed to change the food  system so that everyone – from children to farmers to laborers – can live healthy lives.

The first report, Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System, tells the stories of two children, Brenna and Johnny, to show how key policies have shaped opportunities for children, farmers, and laborers in our food system.

Key policies discussed include:

  • Housing and school policies that impact children’s opportunities to access healthy foods, especially urban children of color;
  • Land policies and institutional discrimination that have led to historically high rates of land loss for farmers, particularly Blacks and Native Americans, and people living in rural areas;
  • Farm Bill policies and vertical integration in the food industry that favor the production and distribution of unhealthy foods over healthy foods;
  • Social Security and wage policies that have set back advancement for laborers across the food chain, especially women, immigrants, and people of color.

The report also identifies potential policy solutions and strategic opportunities to create a better food system for everyone, including communities of color:

  • Forging partnerships across urban and rural communities to build power for more transformative change, such as leveraging government and institutional food purchasing practices to support the production and distribution of healthy foods;
  • Supporting indigenous and community leadership through small business financing and community capacity building;
  • Advocating for labor rights and a more balanced ownership of the food system so that those that grow and serve our food can benefit from the system;
  • Investing in immediate solutions in our communities, schools, and farms, i.e. improving land-use ordinances, implementing the Affordable Care Act’s community benefit requirement, shifting investments from unhealthy foods to local farmers producing healthy foods.  

Our second report, by CSI Food Equity Fellow Shorlette Ammons, digs deeper into the policy solutions and strategic opportunities to address our failing food system by weaving her personal story, U.S. history, and the wisdom and insight from women of color food workers and activists.

Interviewees include:

  • Former Congresswoman Eva Clayton, who brings a needed perspective based on her global anti-hunger work and passion for rural communities; 
  • Tavia Benjamin and Hermelinda Cortes, young community organizers who both offer millennial insight on the intersection of issues that lead to economic and health disparity;
  • Daa’iyah Salaam, Deputy Director of the Southwest Georgia Project, and Greta Gladney, Founder, President and Executive Director of the Renaissance Project, who both offer a grassroots perspective that provides a direct link between what is happening on the ground and the policies that are needed to impact change.

“These reports show clearly that the food system is set up to take advantage of communities. Learning how the food system works and listening to communities most impacted by the injustices in our food system are the first steps to creating a food system that works for everyone.” says Glenn Harris, President of the Center for Social Inclusion.

“This work is critical to shifting our food system into one that works for all people. We are fortunate in this country to have a legacy that was shaped by people of color, particularly women in our food system, from farm workers to food service providers to labor activists, who worked and sacrificed to create more inclusive solutions to our broken system.  I am honored to be a product of that legacy,” says Shorlette Ammons, CSI Food Equity Fellow

Download Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System


Download Shining a Light in Dark Places: A Policy Brief:


For media inquiries, please contact Dennis Chin at dchin@thecsi.org or 212-248-2785 x1450

About the Center for Social Inclusion:
The Center for Social Inclusion works to unite public policy research and grassroots advocacy to transform structural inequity and exclusion into structural fairness and inclusion. CSI works with community groups and national organizations to develop policy ideas, foster effective leadership, and develop communications tools for an opportunity-rich world in which we all will thrive. Visit www.centerforsocialinclusion.org.


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