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Food Justice

Food Insecurity in Memphis

In 2019, the Feeding America Map the Meal Gap study showed that 140,940 residents of Shelby County, including Memphis, were food insecure in the year prior. That means close to 15 percent of people faced “lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.” In later reports, the hunger relief organization estimated that the pandemic increased food insecurity in Memphis so that today, at least one in five people don’t have enough food to stay healthy. 

Persons with disabilities, Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians are among the most food insecure and experience hunger at rates almost 50 percent greater than White households; in fact, African-American households face hunger at two times the rate of white, non-Hispanic households.  Food insecurity is linked to a range of adverse health outcomes, such as malnutrition and failure to thrive in babies; poor physical and mental health; challenges to cognitive development and school performance; and increased risk of chronic, noncommunicable diseases in adulthood. 

Journey to Food Justice

BCCM is committed to developing solutions to food insecurity that addresses the access disparities and adverse outcomes facing Black Memphains and other marginalized groups. Our efforts would directly or indirectly impact 423,000 Memphians, particularly those living in the disinvested areas of North and South Memphis and those living at or below the poverty level. 

We seek to partner with and support initiatives that help households to exercise their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy, fresh, nutritious, affordable, and culturally appropriate food. These efforts would also address disparities in food access, specifically for communities of color and low-income communities, by examining the structural roots of our food system. That means we will wrestle with intertwined questions of land ownership, agricultural practices, distribution of technology and resources, workers’ rights, the historical injustices communities of color have faced, and environmental justice.

Improving access to food can have wide-ranging positive impacts, including economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction. Our focus on locally grown and distributed food will build the local economy as money circulates to farmers and businesses in the area and help build relationships among people, making our community a more robust and healthier place to live.

Join Us

The Black Clergy Collaborative of Memphis (BCCM) comprises members who work together to address systemic issues affecting Black communities in the United States. To become a member of the Black Clergy Collaborative, please fill out the form below. A member of our team will contact you within seven business days to discuss your committee interests and answer any questions you may have.