At The Change Food Fest last month, over 25 speakers discussed various aspects of the food system. Devita Davison, who heads the Detroit FoodLab discussed the issue of race in the food system through an example of hot chicken. Hot chicken is a dish that has been popular in the southern black community for a long time, though did not become really popular until a well-funded chef claimed it as his own in a dish he created in his restaurant.

Devita’s uses this example to question how equitable the food system is — not just in regards to access to food but also to access to businesses and resources to start businesses. She is not pointing a finger or accusing anyone — but she is bringing to light something that needs to be talked about.

How come minority businesses in underserved areas are not given the chances that other businesses are? How can this be changed? And can we consider ourselves or the food movement to be sustainable when certain types of people are left out or left behind?

I don’t think so. And I think it’s time we worked on more equity for women and underserved populations.

Diane Hatz is the founder & executive director of Change Food. Change Food is a nonprofit whose mission is to connect and transform the food we eat, the people who produce it, and the world in which it is grown. To learn more, visit or follow us on Medium at @ChangeFood

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