Black Food Geographies

Black Food Geographies by Ashante M. Rice dives deep into the historical and current ways that residents of Deanwood relate to food. She discovers and discusses these relationships through interviews, surveys, and by visiting various locations around the neighborhood. She begins the book with a discussion of language, and how important it is to describe the food availability in Deanwood in a way that points to the systemic ways that anti-black racism enforces what Reese describes as supermarket redlining. Reese also highlights conversations about self-reliance and how those can relate to food access in black communities like Deanwood.

In chapter one, Reese looks back at the history of food access in Deanwood over the last three centuries. She focuses on the transition from self-sufficiency to grocery and corner stores and how race shaped that development, particularly what stores opened where. In the second chapter, Reese continues this line of thinking into the present with several interviews concerning the selection of food available in their area, mostly concerning the local Safeway. Some of the people she interviewed talked about the lengths they go to avoid it, and others talked about how essential it is to them. Next, Reese introduces one of the stars of the story, Mr. Jones, and engages with how different community members value black-owned businesses and a moral economy, especially in a historical sense. The community garden discussed in the next chapter plays a similar role as a symbol of community responsibility and improvement for the future. Taken as a whole, Reese’s research paints a picture of a resilient community, as well as the ways that food access has been systematically limited by anti-black racism.

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