Pandemic Prompts More Black Americans to Take Up Urban Gardening to End “Food Apartheid”

News November 22, 2021 Home & Garden
Pandemic Prompts More Black Americans to Take Up Urban Gardening to End “Food Apartheid”

From Mother Jones | Food by Karen Robinson-Jacobs

This story is part of “Barren Mile: COVID-19 and the fight against food apartheid,” the result of a Report for America initiative that brought together four Black-owned newsrooms—New York Amsterdam News, the Atlanta Voice, St. Louis American and Black Voice News in California — to look at how COVID-19 impacted food insecurity in their communities.

Before coronavirus shutdowns gave Mike Daniels an unexpected furlough, he hadn’t thought much about urban gardening, though he’d heard as a youngster about his great grandmother tilling the soil. Yet weeks into the pandemic, the former bowling alley attendant turned his Lawton, Oklahoma, backyard into a “mini-food forest,” feeding family and friends with zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

More recently, he conscripted a vacant third-acre lot owned by a friend near an area defined by the US Agriculture Department as having low access to healthy food. Daniels, who is African American, said he plans to convert the plot into a community garden by next spring to fill what he sees as a “void.” “I feel like it’s necessary,” he added, excitement evident in his voice. “My plans are pretty much to feed the community.”

Photo by Getty Images

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