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The Legacy of Black Farmers and whole foods in Indiana

May 3, 2023
NEWS + STORIES
The issue of food deserts and the availability of fresh and healthy food has disproportionately impacted black communities. However, there is a growing movement to address this issue by supporting black farmers and promoting healthier eating habits. In this article, we will explore the importance of whole foods, the impact of processed foods on our health, the issue of food deserts in Indianapolis, and the legacy of black farmers in Indiana. We will also discuss the benefits of supporting local farmers and how we can make a difference in our communities by making more informed food choices.

Processed Foods vs Whole Foods: What You Need to Know

Processed Foods: The Unhealthy Option

According to the Laborers Health & Safety Fund of North America, processed foods are any food that’s altered during preparation to make it more convenient, shelf-stable, or flavorful. Heavily processed foods are considered ultra-processed and are chemically altered with artificial flavors, additives, and other ingredients. These foods often include unhealthy levels of added sugar, sodium, and fat, leading to serious health issues such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The side effects of processed foods have negatively and disproportionately impacted predominately black communities.

Whole Foods: The Healthier Option

Whole foods are minimally processed and have no additives such as preservatives or artificial ingredients added to them. They are higher in nutrients, such as fiber, minerals, and vitamins, than processed foods. When whole foods make up the majority of a diet, heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes are lowered. Whole foods allow nutrients to act together like they were meant to.

Food Deserts in Indianapolis

Indianapolis is one of the worst American cities in terms of food deserts. Food deserts refer to areas in the community where access to fresh and nutritious foods such as produce is significantly limited due to decreased access to affordable grocery stores. More than 33% of an urban population must live more than one mile from a grocery store, and in a rural space, more than 33% of the population must live more than ten miles to be considered a food desert. 208,000 Indianapolis residents live in a food desert, and 10,500 live without access to a car or bus to reach grocery stores. Food deserts are an increasing issue in Indianapolis because without access to fresh, nutritious food, people’s diets are being negatively impacted, and therefore, their health is too.

The Legacy of Black Farmers in Indiana

Legacy Taste of the Garden, created by Greer Farms, is a family farm operation that was created to pass on the generational knowledge of Sustainable and Entrepreneurial living. Their goal is to close the gap between local producers and the local consumer, which will support the community's economic vitality. In April of this year, Legacy Taste of the Garden brought its message of healthier eating and agricultural growth in the black community to the Avondale Meadows YMCA. The presentation included the history of African American farming in Indiana, growth of the agricultural industry in urban communities, barriers to agricultural success, produce market locations, and available grants and resources to become an urban farmer.

The Benefits of Supporting Local Farmers

Purchasing produce, meat, and dairy from local farmers' markets or farm stores support the people who grow food in our community. It is a great way to get fresh, locally sourced food and support the local economy. Check out Visit Indy to find a farmer’s market location and times near you. While there may be drawbacks to eating whole foods, such as increased cost and preparation time, in the long run, they are more likely to aid in better long-term health and wellness.

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