Terre Haute NAACP dives into food justice issue, local groups discuss solutions

March's topic of food justice fell right in line with Vigo County's recent unhealthy ranking.

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 10:46 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 11:57 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Vigo County's title of "unhealthy" comes as no surprise to some.

"Parts of the city seem to be a food island," said Dorothy Drummond, resident.

News 10 recently reported on Vigo County's health ranking. The county ranked among the higher end of unhealthiest counties in Indiana.

For Drummond, places like Terre Haute lack access to affordable, healthy food.

"If people want to shop, where do they go?" Drummond said, "There's no place or not necessarily even bus coverage, this is a problem."

Others also recognized that problem at Monday night's meeting for the Greater Terre Haute NAACP Branch.

Every month, the NAACP highlights an issue impacting the community. March's topic of food justice fell right in line with Vigo County's recent unhealthy ranking. Food justice is the right of everyone, and communities everywhere, to healthy food, which includes access and eating healthy food along with the ability to grow and sell it.

"We have so much food production near where we are," said Executive Board Member Jeanne Rewa, "but the food that we produce near here doesn't necessarily feed local communities."

As part of Monday's meeting, the NAACP brought in several local groups that address food justice in different capacities.

Presenters included community garden projects like ReThink Inc.'s HOPE Garden, as well as local growers, The White Violet Center for Eco-Justice at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, The United Way Mobile Market, Terre Foods Co-Op, Bread for the World, The Institute for Community Sustainability at ISU and The Farmers Market.

Drummond is also part of Bread for the World, an advocacy group that communicates with congress on behalf of the hungry.

"They write letters," she said, "One of the most important things you can do as a citizen is write a letter. That has a bigger impression on congress than any other, other than coming directly and speaking to the congressmen."

While bringing the groups together is a step in reaching a solution, Rewa hopes it will also reach local families who otherwise may have not heard of the mentioned projects before.

"Having food justice in your community is really a complicated issue, there's a lot of different angles to it," Rewa said, "and there already are a lot of really great projects happening in the Wabash Valley that address different aspects of food justice. We're here to help people learn about food justice in our community as well as how to understand this challenging issue a little bit more."

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