Food Justice = Economic Justice

“Food is the first economy of any society.”
— Malik Yakini, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

Our food system touches every aspect of our economy — and our relationship to food is intimately connected to our economic experience. A sustainable community food system is about more that getting healthy food to the right places. If you can’t afford that food, or if your job and your home don’t allow you the time and space to prepare that food, an abundance of grocery stores won’t translate into food security for you and your family. And if that newly-built grocery store is accompanied by higher neighborhood rents, you may not be in the place to access that food for very long.

The link between food and economics means that food justice has to be linked to economic justice. That’s why workforce development and entrepreneurship are as central to our work as farmers markets and urban agriculture — successful community businesses and jobs with family-supporting wages address many of the root causes of hunger and food insecurity. Better still, when those businesses and jobs are in community-based food production, processing and distribution, they are part of making healthy food available in every neighborhood, for every resident.

Good Food Has Many Faces

A healthy, equitable food system starts with growing good food, but it doesn’t end there. Each stage between the farm and our fork, from processing to preparation to distribution and sale, is part of ensuring that our food system is just and sustainable.

Dreaming Out Loud takes an integrated approach to the food system in our programming. Our Urban Agriculture program not only includes food production, but also building supportive infrastructure to facilitate aggregation, processing and distribution of locally-grown agricultural products. Our Community Markets not only provide healthy food access for consumers, but also provide marketing and distribution opportunities for food entrepreneurs from our communities. Our Micro-Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programs give community members the knowledge, skills and confidence to create their own food-related businesses, whether in value-added processing, local food distribution and sale, or their own urban growing. Our Workforce Development program introduces program participants to a healthy food culture while also giving them transferable employment skills and fair wages. And our Advocacy and Public Policy initiative advocates for public policies that create food justice for all communities.

Dreaming Out Loud also engages in programs and partnerships that link local food producers, processors, distributors and consumers to one another. The result: more than just food access, we are building a strong, resilient, and productive food system that improves health and generates economic opportunities in every aspect of its operation.