Creating Culturally Sensitive Food Policy

A Dialogue to create
Culturally Sensitive Food Policy
Mid-South Network
Southwest Rural Policy Network
What is
Culturally Sensitive Food Policy?
Food Policy that recognizes and is conscious of
the role culture-of-origin plays with regard to
the foods we eat, where our food comes from,
how we harvest it, the manner in which we
prepare our foods and certain traditions
around the way in which we share and
consume our cultural foods.
of this project
Recognizing that although the project partners
come from several different cultures and
different regions throughout the US, our
communities suffer disproportionately from
obesity and diabetes, ‘dia-besity’.
Members of Mid-south and Southwest Rural
Policy Network joined to conduct a crossregion, multi-culture, intergenerational
dialogue via SKYPE.
Purpose of our Dialogue
• Engage in a rich conversation sharing our farming and
food stories, sharing our culture, and sharing our foodbased traditions
• Determine the positive and negative impacts of food
policy on healthy food choices from a cultural
• Explore the impact food policy has via discussion of the
history and traditions of our food
• Teach community members how to become advocates
for culturally sensitive food policy
• Test an online technology for future use in community
dialoging and community organizing
Where are we from?
What cultural perspective do
we represent?
Our Dialogue brings together great diversity in culture and in location.
Participants in this project will come from:
• Ajo, Arizona ~ The Sonoran Desert region
Represented will be members of the Native America Tohono
O’odham Nation and the Mexican culture
• Nogales, Arizona ~ A U.S. – Mexico border community
Represented will be the Mexican culture
• Gallup, New Mexico ~ A U.S. – Navaho Nation border community
Represented will be members of the Native America Navajo Nation
• The Mississippi Delta communities of Greenville and Indianola
Represented will be the African America culture
What are our common issues?
Food Deserts
Major health disparities
Access to healthy food choices
Inconsistency in local food chains
Lack of education about “healthy” food
A generational change in food traditions
Food Deserts
Definition: A food desert is a
district with little or no access to
large grocery stores that offer
fresh and affordable foods
needed to maintain a healthy
diet.[1] Instead of such stores,
these districts often contain
many fast food restaurants and
convenience stores.
With the exception of Nogales, AZ
with serves as a port of entry for
fruits and vegetables coming into
the US from Mexico, participants in
this project live in food deserts.
Farmers’ Markets
A remedy for food deserts
A time-honored way to shop
for fresh food
Farmers’ Markets
 Accept SNAP benefits
 Are the source for fresh,
local-grown and produced
fruits, vegetables, meats,
cheeses, breads, jams, and
other food-based products
and crafts
 Are the source and keepers
of land-based knowledge,
tradition and culture
Major and Common Health Disparities
Found cross-region in our various communities
Heart Disease
Mental Health
Infant Mortality
Limited access to
healthy food choices
while unhealthy food options abound
Inconsistency in the food
offered by
local food chains
Local supermarkets provide better quality foods in the higher
economic areas of the same community. Food offered in lower
income communities are of the “pick 5” variety.
Signature Pick 5
The Signature Foods group of companies started with a simple vision: to make
QUALITY food AFFORDABLE for the American Consumer.
The company states:
From our humble beginnings in 2004 to being listed by "Inc." Magazine as
the #2 fastest growing Food Company in America our principles have
remained the same. Bring the best to your table for less!
With Signature Pick 5, you can choose from over 50 items selected with
you in mind.
We work hard to find the best value in Quality meats and vegetables and
package them in our very own USDA and FDA approved facility to bring the
highest quality food for the lowest possible cost straight to your Grocer's
QUESTION: Does the consumer have the health education needed to know
how to mix and match the foods, nutritionally?
Lack of education about
“healthy” food choices
SNAP recipients control the funds yet many are
not tuned-in to making healthy food choices
with the funds they receive.
Such education is not provided…
Education on Healthy Food Choices
A generational change in
food traditions…
Changes in the concept of where our
food comes from…
Changes in how our food is prepared
A new definition of our
Traditional foods
What next?
This project is just the beginning!
Project Partners will continue our work on this effort. Ideas discussed include:
•Creating a recipe book to collect and document our traditional food dishes
•Creating radio PSA’s to outreach and education on the issue of culture-based food policy
•Creating a YouTube channel where video collected during the Dialogue will be posted
•Seeking out and collaborating with allies including the ‘Get Moving’ campaign
•Creating a list of resources
•Distributing far and wide, the advocacy toolkit to be created from this project
The SWRPN website will be the online place where this project and all documents
created will reside
We will seek additional funding to continue our work
A Dialogue to create
Culturally Sensitive Food Policy
Scheduled for June
For additional information contact:
Angelic Mister at: [email protected] or
Mikki Anaya at: [email protected]

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