Ten years ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was the city's Lower Ninth Ward that was hit the hardest. Nine years later, while New Orleans on the whole has returned to pre-Katrina numbers of super markets, the Ninth was with without a grocery store and many other local businesses. Burnell Cotlon put his life savings into the shell of a building and opened Makin' Groceries. Along with Cotlon's grocery store, there's also a barbershop and a sweets shop — but there's plenty of work still to be done. And Burnell isn't resting.
"To me this intersection [between food justice, fat-positive politics, and LGBTQ politics] seems clear as I live in a community where food is not easily accessible and I’m a fat dyke… We can simply look at the numbers and see that folks in poverty and are classified as food-insecure often have greater percentages of fat folks in their numbers. Often we get a lot of crossover between folks belonging to the LGBTQ communities and low-income folks. I’ve been doing food work with street-based queer youth for almost five years now. But beyond just the numbers we share this similar struggle, this fight for what’s just. We are all part of groups that are marginalized by society and many of us are doing work in many of these spaces."
The food desert has been a regular topic here on MetaFilter, posts about which often highlight a particular narrative about the effects of meager food choices for poorer urban communities, negatively affecting health and choice among low income people. Though not always. Some new studies indicate the situation in the US might be more like the latter, not quite as dire as is usually asserted. [more inside]