The Food For Black Thought initiative is bringing awareness to the Black experience with food and the food industry in Austin. Beginning as a 2-day community symposium in September, Dr. Kevin Thomas and Naya Jones, both of UT Austin, expanded the conversation.
“We are interested in capturing the food experiences of folks who may be underrepresented in current food policy discussion locally and beyond,” explained Naya Jones, co-creator of FFBT, PhD student in Geography at UT, and community-based scholar and youth organizer for the East Austin Food Project.
The symposium took place at UT Austin’s Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and the George Washington Carver Museum and included interactive workshops, documentary screenings, and discussions with local entrepreneurs and food experts.
According to Jones, approximately 300 people attended the event, which effectively started dialogue around Black experiences.
“We now have a growing Food For Black Thought community on Facebook and via on-going events here in Austin,” said Kevin Thomas, co-creator of FFBT, Assistant Professor for Advertising at UT, and co-founder of the Black Media Council in Austin. “We are creating a community survey project to understand the diverse food experiences among Black/African American communities, Latina residents, LGBTQ populations, students, and the elderly.”
The FFBT initiative seeks to become a “freedom school” and treat community members as experts of their own experiences.
“We host screenings, discussions, book groups, and classroom presentations to inspire conversation among people of color and their allies in Austin,” said Thomas. “Our dialogues focus on food access, alternatives, health, the local food system, Black history of food and agriculture, marketing, zoning, race/racism, and more.”
To promote access to food, Thomas and Jones are thinking of mobile food trucks, gardens, and food training as concrete projects to initiate in Austin.
To schedule an event, join their street team, or learn more about the FFBT initiative, visit their Facebook page.
By: Dagny Asase