Pleasant Hope Baptist in Baltimore, the church where “righteous discontent” inspired the Black Church Food Security Network, is garnering more attention for how the network connects churches that grow their own food and brings fresh produce from black farmers to black communities. “The goal is to provide alternatives to the less nutritious and more expensive foods often sold at convenience stores in neighborhoods that don’t have groceries nearby,” reports Religion News Service.
Derek Hicks, an expert on religion, food and black culture in Winston-Salem, N.C., said [Rev. Heber Brown III’s] work is a revitalization of a tradition where African-American churches have long supplied food to their communities. While Hicks refers to the so-called food deserts where he lives, he notes that Brown prefers the term “food apartheid,” a condition of insecurity that the Baltimore pastor is seeking to improve.
What makes Heber’s model through the Black Church Food Security Network powerful is that it’s really centered on enfranchisement of the church and of the community,” said Hicks, an associate professor of religion and culture at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. “And investment of the church and the people in that community to ensure the viability of the community in various ways, both by way of nutrition and by way, ultimately, of financial viability.
Read more of RNS’s coverage of Black churches in the U.S. working to make fresh food more accessible to the community.