Let’s start our discussion about food justice for your children and grandchildren by watching a video I made in February, 2019. In this YouTube I describe an experiment we did at our Farm Project where we grew healthier vegetables using the mash from making RnA ReSet Drops.
Here are the concepts I want to emphasize from the video:
- Insects, worms, bacteria, and weeds are only programmed to “attack” weak, dying, or dead lifeforms.
- Humans, animals, and plants are surrounded by invaders and only succumb when they are in a weakened state.
- RnA ReSet Drops mash, which actually is the leftover material from making RnA ReSet Drops, infused the radishes with life and energy and made them incompatible with the organisms looking to cull out weak plants.
So, doesn’t it just make sense to provide the highest quality nutrients you can — through food and supplementation (when needed) — to your children and teach them to care for the next generation in the same way? Creating appropriate possibilities for the entire community is at the heart of the Food Justice movement. When you feed your children/grandchildren healthy, fresh food, they are more alert, have better attention spans, and experience increased wellness.
What Is Food Justice?
I like Just Food’s definition of Food Justice because it is consistent with how I participate in growing food for my own community:
Food Justice is communities exercising their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food. Healthy food is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally-appropriate, and grown locally with care for the well-being of the land, workers, and animals.
It takes some of the charge off the problems of providing healthy food and replaces it with a real sense of what people in a community can do together.
I wouldn’t serve you well, however, if I didn’t discuss why providing healthy food for a community is a justice issue. Let me give you a prime example. I lived in New York doing AIDS/Chronic Fatigue research. My standard for healthy food is non-GMO, organic, wild, grass-fed, free range, pesticide free, etc. Because of my economic ability, I fairly easily provided healthy food for me and mine. But what if that wasn’t the case?
I certainly was aware of various communities in New York City who didn’t have fresh, let alone what I felt is “healthy” food available. People who live and work in these areas pop into the local store and pick up processed, packaged, canned, and frozen food because that is what is available. So, people purchase what they can, go home, and make the best meals possible with these ingredients. But, there’s not enough nutrition in the food to create healthy bodies. As a result of the small amount of absorbable nutrients in the food, their children don’t do as well in school because they can’t pay attention. Additionally, these are often the children who get sick every time a “bug” moves through their school. So, not having healthy food can literally decrease a child’s abilities and opportunities.
Striving for better food (and, therefore, education) for children sometimes just starts with a group of parents going to a PTA or school board meeting asking for nutritional support for their children. I am sure you have heard of the introduction of free or low cost school breakfasts and lunches for kids who live in economically depressed circumstances or where healthy food is not available. But, the provision of food by the local board of education or the state hasn’t always produced better results. Early on many of these meals were made from processed or government surplus food and still had no fresh fruit, vegetables, or meat.
This is where the Food Justice movement is making a difference. Communities interested in bringing healthy food to all their constituents have connected end users, food producers, delivery systems, farmers markets, CSAs, and locally owned stores. In this way, they have created community-driven healthy food production and delivery that is appropriate for everyone involved and sustainable. For example, Just Food, a 501(c)(3) in New York City works with food products within a 250 mile radius of New York City to bring fresh, healthy food into areas of the city that previously had not been serviced.
Example of Food Justice in Action
I would like to share a rather wonderful story a friend told me about her experience working with a Food Justice advocate in Philadelphia in 2011. Philadelphia had been trying to deal with the issue of hungry, under-achieving children in their school system. So, they did begin a food program where the children were fed free meals, made with processed, packaged, canned, and frozen food almost exclusively. While the children weren’t hungry per se, they still felt tired all the time and had challenges paying attention to their lessons.
One of the local Food Justice advocates found out about the situation and offered to put together a program where high quality fresh food would be grown locally (wherever possible), distributed to the schools with recipes and cooking tips, and inventoried and costed out. Then, the State School Board could compare the packaged food program to the fresh food program with respect to effectiveness for the children and cost to the State.
The even more miraculous piece to this program is that the Food Justice advocate partnered with other programs within the community. Women who just got out of prison and were required to live at local halfway houses were taught how to start community gardens on the halfway house property. Food Justice groups arranged to have equipment, seeds, support, and supervision for these community gardeners. The halfway houses were able to keep for their use a percentage of the organically grown fresh produce and the rest went to the schools.
At the end of one year of running the project, children were less tired and more attentive as well as satisfied, the women in halfway houses were fed and learned new skills, and the fresh food was much more economical than the packaged food. So, this feeding project was given a long-term grant!
As promised, I will answer one question for you, and then if you wish to find out more on the topic of Food Justice, then please feel free to read on.
Here’s a question that I get from parents who are first exposed to my work, “What should my children eat?” This is what I suggest:
- Make their food fun. Having a tray of apple slices and raw veggies with peanut butter as a dip for lunch is so appealing for children. Think of ways you can help them enjoy eating healthy food.
- Eliminate sugar, refined carbs, junk food, and processed food from their diet, if they still eat any of these items. (When I had my practice in Canada, I would let children have Saturday as the day they could eat all the junk food, sugar, and processed food they wanted. After a couple of weeks of eating healthy 6 days a week and gorging 1 day a week, most children voluntarily gave up the binge day because they felt awful when they binged.)
- Your children’s diet should predominately be vegetables, with a predominance of non-starchy veggies. Organically grown vegetables are best because you can be sure that the veggies are grown from non-GMO seeds without harmful chemicals.
- Your child can eat high quality protein (organic, grass-fed, free range) such as eggs, lamb, chicken, wild caught salmon, canned tongol tuna, nut butters, nuts, seeds.
- I like to cap eating fruit at 2 servings a day.
- With respect to dairy, I like fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir) best. I personally also eat low lactose or lactose free cheese (Brick cheese, Cheddar, Colby, Dry-Curd cottage cheese, Gruyere, Havarti, Manchego, Provolone, and Swiss.) Again, I feel children can eat dairy in moderation. If you are concerned about their calcium, just remember that leafy green vegetables have a high amount of calcium in them.
Where Can I Get Healthy Food?
Here are some resources to look for where you can purchase healthy food and support your local Food Justice system by buying and learning to process local, organic, seasonal food. If you can’t find these resources, please feel free to read the section, “For Advanced Readers.”
CSAs. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Just Food’s description of a CSA is on point:
It is a volunteer-led, membership driven food access model that directly connects a regional farmer to a group of individuals who want to buy locally grown, high quality, fresh produce. Some farmers also offer fruit, dairy, eggs, meat, and other local products. A member purchases a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer before the start of the season. Every week or every other week (from June until November), your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location in your neighborhood.
If you want to find a local CSA in your area, click here for resources listed with Local Harvest.
Farm Shares. This is a food delivery system where a portion of a farm’s output is available for sale by pre-paying for your allotment. You then share in the joys and sorrows of the farm and receive produce and possibly other food products in batches regularly throughout the growing season.
Community-Run Farmers Markets. This food delivery system brings together regional rural and urban growers and community residents who decide how to best meet the food needs of their community. In this way, the fresh food sold at the community-run farmers market exactly matches the food community members are looking for.
Food Cooperative. A food cooperative or food co-op is a food distribution outlet organized as a cooperative, rather than a private or public company. Food cooperatives are usually consumer cooperatives, where the decisions regarding the production and distribution of its food are chosen by its members. Many food co-ops are member-owned stores where anyone can shop, but members get discounts, perks, etc.
Farmers Markets. This a direct delivery service from an individual farmer to the public. In a farmers market, usually a group of farmers sell their products once or twice a week at a designated public place like a park or parking lot. Shopping at a farmers market is a great way to meet local farmers and get fresh, flavorful produce.
For Advanced Readers
I Can’t Find These Resources. What Can I Do?
Community Gardens. You can meet with like-minded parents and grandparents in your community and investigate creating community gardens. For example, urban communities often find patches of land to host community gardens and invite participants to help plant, harvest, and enjoy the produce. In turn, participants and their families incorporate the necessary fruits and vegetables they need to stay healthy into their diets. Local colleges and universities often are a great resource for communities who want to start a community garden, especially if they have an agricultural or forestry program.
Grow Your Own Food. If you have some space in your yard that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight a day, you might consider growing some of your own food. There is a plethora of resources on the Internet on how to start your garden. But here are some tips I think will help you:
- Use Non-GMO, possibly even Heirloom, Seeds. The Seed Savers Exchange is a good resource to start your research.
- Remineralize Your Soil with Rock Dust. Here is a link to Remineralize the Earth, one of my go-to resources.
- Use RnA ReSet Drops to Improve Your Soil. Over the years, many customers have said that when they get down to the bottom of their Drops bottles and don’t want to waste one precious drop of RnA ReSet Drops, they will fill the bottle with pure water and shake the bottle. They use this solution as a soil additive and found that the health and yield of their plants increase. I have even had reports from customers who have used RnA ReSet Drops in a gallon of water to water their plants. So, I highly recommend you keep a garden diary and experiment with and without the RnA ReSet Drops and see if they make a difference to the quality, health, and quantity of veggies and fruit your garden produces.
NOTE: Using RnA ReSet Drops in this way actually moves their nutrients throughout the plants. So, this actually extends the outreach of your bottle of Drops.
- Compost Your Vegetable and Fruit Scraps. Again, there are plenty of articles on the Internet about composting – everything from what you can do in a small apartment to having a huge pile of compost somewhere on your property. But the idea is to continue to work with your soil so that there are more nutrients available.
I Don’t Have a Yard. Now What?
If you have access on your balcony or deck to 6 hours of sunlight, you can grow some of your vegetables/fruit in containers. Follow the same tips I gave you earlier for soil amendments and seeds. But start with a high quality organic soil to begin, with some compost from a local source. Lettuces, greens, kale, chard, radishes, green onions, peas, squash, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and herbs all can be grown in containers.
The one tip I have for container gardeners is that their containers will need more water and possibly some cover part of the day during the very hot weather. Since the size of the root system is governed by the container, the veggies and herbs will need a bit more supervision. The good thing, however, is that there usually is less weeding!
No one wants their children or grandchildren to be hungry or functionally malnourished. So, in these times of rapid change, depending on someone else to supply your family with fresh, healthy food could be taking a risk with their health. It only makes good sense to participate in supplying this food to your family and your community. Additionally, as you learn and grow in this experience, you can bring Food Justice to other members of your community.
Dr. Carolyn Dean