February 13, 2022 Blog Post

“Black Food Geographies” by Ashante M. Reese was quite the informative and eye opening discussion on the nature of a predominantly African America community, in this case Deanwood and its relation to the ever changing landscape of food. I found the history of Deanwood most notably its early beginnings to be the most interesting parts for me in the early chapters of the book. The fact that the town was able to have these small scale farms that helped produce cheap and readily available food for the families that lived there as well as the deeply rooted social aspect of bargaining was something I was quite interested in since nowadays the concept of bargaining with your produce sellers is a rare thing. The formation of independent entrepreneurs such as the “hucksters” was fascinating because of how this further increased the communities social ties with their produce sellers, a trait that was inherited by the smaller Jewish owned stores, in both good and bad aspects. The books discussion of how migration out of these neighborhoods as well as the introduction of crack into these sectors was not all that surprising to learn about, however that did not take away from how crippling the drug trade was to the social mobility and sense of worth a resident can have towards their neighborhood. The unequal representation of “quality foods” for Deanwood and the neighboring Ward 8 in regards to how they can procure groceries in the modern era of super markets was quite eye opening to me. This was most apparent after looking at the charts presented on pages 48-49 on the text, in which district maps showed the percentage of African Americans present in a given area, as well as the number of supermarket grocery stores present in these areas. This data coupled with accounts of disdain for the local “Un-Safeway” as the residents called it were both informative as well as entertaining to read about all their complaints with this small chain market. The desire for these families to have access to readily available fruits and vegetables for their children’s own health was quite the emotional point for me since many of the residents of these areas suffer from health problems such as obesity, overweight, or Diabetes in which I also suffer from. The discussion of community especially in these African American communities as well as how they developed alongside the rampant anti-black politics of the 2000s, (1900-2000) and how the self-reliant nature of these communities developed in order to provide for the needs of not only themselves but there neighbors was quite informative, especially in the accounts of one Cliff Haynes.

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