On March 17, Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, delivered a talk entitled Dismantling Racism in the Food System at Hostos Community College.

Students, faculty, staff, and other community members gathered to hear Holt-Giménez, who provided timely, relevant and illuminating information about how food systems are built on racism, colonialism, and exploitation. According to Holt-Giménez, these structures are the root of several serious problems, including the lack of access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food; low wages in the food sector; and public health disparities related to diet. Holt-Giménez said it is people of color in low-income communities throughout the world often experience the brunt of these systems.

Holt-Giménez captivated the audience, framing his talk in terms of various forms of racism and anti-racist work. He discussed how racism plays out in the food system through practices such as residential and supermarket “redlining,” which have effectively undermined the ability of some low-income communities of color to access healthy food for decades. Holt-Giménez also made clear to the audience that movements to address racism in the food system are omnipresent.

He also offered insight about how to advocate for and implement change. He argued that initiatives to dismantle racism—which, he argued, lies at the heart of many food system injustices—would not only provide nourishment for the body, but freedom for the soul.

This talk was the first in a series of Spring 2015 Food Studies events at Hostos Community College. The next event, a screening of the critically acclaimed film, Food Chains, will take place on April 14.

Hostos Community College will launch its Associate in Science degree program in Food Studies during the 2015/16 academic year. The program is grounded in principles of social justice and is designed to give students the knowledge and skills to transfer to four-year degree programs, obtain jobs in the “good food jobs” sector, and lead change in their communities. Students can enroll in the first course, Introduction to Food Studies, in Fall 2015.

For information about the degree program, courses, and upcoming events contact: foodstudies@hostos.cuny.edu

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.