The Color of Food - a report from the Applied Research Center


I've attached .pdf file of an amazing report from the Applied Research Center called "The Color of Food." It is an analysis of food systems and social justice via race and racism in the U.S.  I think the info is important reading (cultural, historical, systematic) regarding all of the work that frames the basis for an increased development for an astute curriculum and perspectives on our many ways of being with ourselves as Fellows and as humans -  all over the world.


More info on ARC at

Applied Research Center


I really welcome your thoughts, go deep, and share.


Stay Lifted,



The Color of Food.pdf

Views: 33

Tags: applied, ashara, center, color, ekundayo, food, justice, of, race, racism, More…research, security, social, the

Comment by Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish on June 20, 2011 at 4:24pm
Oh my G*ddess! These people did their homework! Thank goodness for the illustrated graphs. In earnest, it doesn't seem too different than any of the dispaities in the rest of our systems. The same people are consistently shortchanged. Hopefully, this information does empower people within this movement to call some of it out with resaerch backing. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Michael Donahue on June 22, 2011 at 12:19am

Recent articles and research similar to this recently published around "service industries. I suspect most, if not all of us, if posed the question, who has most of the management jobs, picks crops, moves the food, etc. etc. we could have guessed with some certainty close to the results re: color of skin.  The figure that stood out for me was that white crop pickers make more then others, by almost 4 grand! I would have liked them to drill down on that one to get at the source of that.


I think it is important to keep in mind the researchers 3 key observations, and the resulting ideas they propose. I appreciate "dignity" as that is a conversational activity, and less technical AND what really stuck out and thought provoking for me is highlighted below,  as that portends a rise in food prices and/or reduction in labor force, as well as the likely resulting blame game, which will only serve to polarize people more.


This report establishes that racial disparity in wages and representation can be found in most occupations
along the food chain. This is baseline data, which should be tracked both backwards and forwards,
seeing if there are trends in the composition of the food workforce over time. This will be particularly
important when key legislation is implemented that impacts the flow of labor into and out of the food industry. A pattern of stringent anti-immigration laws —such as the one recently enacted in Arizona—will hinder recent
and undocumented immigrants as well as people of color perceived to be undocumented immigrants from
seeking work in many parts of the country, unless more can be done to articulate and advocate for a
functioning, sane and humane immigration system that respects the human dignity of workers,
including those whose labor is so critical to the food we consume on a daily basis.


Comment by Michael Donahue on June 22, 2011 at 9:07am

I was also thinking how this related to the Food fellows from Kenya/ Uganda.  How much of the system post colonialism has shifted, if any? Lands were given to certain tribes, not of that traditional area, so what is going on, now, 50 years later?  This  past activity was the source of much of the violence in Kenya in 2008.

The roads in Kakamega were paid and built by a developer from Israel, in the 60's, to help move the sugar cane and not much done on them since!  Can we imagine tribalism in Kenya and Uganda would produce similar statistical results? The concept of Umbutu has certainly created a "caste" system and we learned from Esta, that certain members of a tribe are "born to farm" by virtue of family role inside the tribe. We also learned that "share cropping" an unfamiliar term for the Africans is a common practice to this day and in the case of certain areas of Uganda, actually designed as "food security." 


My sense is that the conversation for producing food, delivering food, sharing food and serving food is a conversation that requires a shifting the conversation or the locus of the conversation and an alignment, by a community to speak a particular story or sing a certain song.  

Comment by Michael Donahue on June 22, 2011 at 9:10am
Below is a thoughtful blog from another site.  This, too, is an issue that the Fellows could begin to consider. We can find it all over.

Working Lands Conflict

Since Paul Collier began to work on the economic correlates of conflict a lot of attention has been focused on extractive industries.  A fair amount of attention has been focused on mining and its relationship to violent conflict.  Conflict diamonds, conflict focusing on the mining and trade in minerals such as tantalum in the DRC, and the impact of large mining projects such as the Panguna mine in Bougainville.  I think there’s a good case to be made that mining done irresponsibly or badly may end up generating some pretty negative outcomes.

What does not get as much attention, however, is the broader question of conflict and working lands.  What are working lands?  Quite simply land which is used to generate a livelihood is working land.  Farms, orchards, pasture, and yes mines, these are all working lands.  Working lands conflict includes any social or violent conflict that involves working lands.  Conflicts can focus on land tenure, land use, and environmental concerns to name the core issues.  Increasingly, working lands conflict is becoming an area of concern.

Economic growth fuels working lands conflicts.  As investors, from near and afar, seek to utilize the earth’s resources they come into conflict with the local populations.  Those who wish to change the way land is used find themselves clashing with local people.  Extensive oil palm plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Columbia displace local populations, change (often for the negative) food production, and create disputes over land title.  In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that agriculture has a more extensive impact on land that mining and manufacturing.

In my previous post I quoted Paul Gilding, “the earth is full”.  A full earth will generate conflict as people vie to use resources.   It will become increasingly clear that we need peace workers to help pave the way forward, preventing the outbreak of violent conflict, and effectively managing and transforming conflict into the future.  The focus has to be broader than extractive industries.


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