Beyond Halal – Race & the Organic Food Movement

It has been pleasing to see Muslims as of late challenging previously held notions of what food represents to Muslims: the “Beyond Halal” movement if you will. And while I have been an advocate of this myself, there are other aspects of the organic food movement that leave me troubled. From urban agriculture to farmer’s markets, food seems to be on everyone’s minds these days and yet the spectre of race and racism still manages to rear its (nearly invisible) head when it comes to these food movements. NPR featured a piece on the alleged land-grab by a white landowner (John Hantz of  Hantz Farms)  in Detroit, Michigan, who is buying up vacant lots, much to the chagrin of some local black food security advocates. I say all of these because like most important issues in American, Muslims are more often then not irrelevant, due to their agnosticism (what Dr. Sherman Jackson calls racial agnosia) when it comes to race. Ironically, because of Muslim Americans inability to deal with, address and come to grips with the reality of race (which is different than advocating for a racially-hierarchical society), Muslim Americans continue to be cut adrift socially, when in fact, it is one of the primary tools by which they could become anchored and relevant.

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Beyond Halal – Whiteness and Alternative Food

Some thoughts on a new book I’m reading entitled, Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability from MIT Press. The volume is edited by Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman. I have enjoyed it thus far as it articulates some concerns I’ve had from the slow food and alternative food movements: they are universalisms of white proclivities in regards to food and health.

Extra Links

Tapped – examines the role of the bottled water industry and its’ effects on our health.

Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability – edited by Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman.

Short video by Breeze Harper on a similar tip.

Cultivating Food Justice is part of the Summer Reading List 2012.