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We are living in an epidemic of chronic disease that is destroying our health, our communities, and our economy. The common denominator between all of these things is food, or more specifically, our food system. The way our food is grown, transported, processed, and consumed is making us sick and driving health disparities related to income and race, especially among marginalized groups.
In today’s episode, I talk with Dr. Marcia Chatelain, Dr. Rupa Marya, Raj Patel, and Karen Washington about creating a society that cultivates health, how our existing social structures predispose us to illness, and how we can make great changes to our food system through grassroots efforts.
Dr. Marcia Chatelain is a professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University. The author of South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration, she teaches about women’s and girls’ history, as well as black capitalism. Her latest book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, examines the intricate relationship among African American politicians, civil rights organizations, communities, and the fast food industry.
Dr. Rupa Marya is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where she practices and teaches Internal Medicine. Her research examines the health impacts of social systems, from agriculture to policing. She is a cofounder of the Do No Harm Coalition, a collective of health workers committed to addressing disease through structural change.
Raj Patel is a research professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, a professor in the university’s department of nutrition, and a research associate at Rhodes University, South Africa. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved, the New York Times bestselling The Value of Nothing, and coauthor of A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things.
Karen Washington is a farmer, activist, and food advocate. She is the co-owner and farmer at Rise & Root Farm in Chester, New York. Karen cofounded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization supporting growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012, Ebony magazine voted her one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 Karen was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award.
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