Photo: Jonathon Fong
Nutrition in popular media is often framed in one of two ways: as a public health crisis, or as a dizzying array of new diet fads. Harder still, it seems, is hearing about successful ways to return health back to the people. Perhaps just as hard is seeing that work made into something celebratory and colorful as all the foodie-focused media out there.
This is why I believe cultural work is essential. We need public policy advocates, economic revitalization, caring health providers and work all levels working to renew healthy food. And we also need to be touched at the level of the heart, mind, and gut if we hope for any of this to survive.
There are many definitions to "decolonize" - let alone for decolonizing food. For me, broadly, it means unearthing the histories of assimilation, resistance, and adaptation that we hold. It means that even though we cannot "go back" to whatever ways we imagine things were before colonization, we can still restore a healthy relationship with food and place, wherever we are now. And perhaps, more than anything, it means moving beyond even individualized health (and individual ingredients) - although there is something powerful in that. It circles back always to something bigger and ultimately, collective. And did I mention, delicious?
This fall has witnessed a rise of many beautiful spaces in the Bay Area that weave together the act of sharing food together with history, labor, agriculture, culture, and celebration. And it felt right to have this happen during a time when so many cultures honor the harvest and ancestors. Below is a partial list - I encourage readers to add more! I am thankful to this big, vibrant circle of storytellers, cooks, farmers, teachers, parents, artists, activists and beyond for making this real and sharing its many manifestations.