This week on Rootstock Radio, co-host Anne O’Connor speaks with Malik Yakini. Malik is founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, an organization that operates a seven-acre urban farm and is spearheading the opening of a co-op grocery store in Detroit’s North End. He views the good food revolution as one piece of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality in agriculture, and beyond.
“We started the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network so that Detroit’s African American population could participate more fully in the good food revolution,” says Malik. His organization encourages this participation at many levels, such as cultivation and harvest, youth education, and community seminars. “Access to food is part of the equation,” adds Malik, “but also people have to have a more robust understanding of the importance of eating whole foods, and the importance of participating in and shaping the food system.”
In speaking of his background in activism, Malik notes that there is often a great deal of division within activist communities. Today much of his energy is focused on the good food revolution because, he says, “food tends to cut through all of those things. Regardless of your race, regardless of your religion, regardless of philosophy, regardless of your gender or your sexual orientation, everyone eats and everyone wants access to good food.” In this way, Malik and his team at the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network see food as a “great equalizer.” And not only that, but as they witness the cooperation and community fostered in their school and community gardens they see ample reason for hope in the city of Detroit.