Sharat Somashekara grew up sprouting beans, pickling lemons, and making chutneys as part of his family’s healthy Indian food traditions. As he grew older, he noticed many Americans didn’t eat as well as his family, and realized that many people eat poorly because they lack access to healthy, fresh, affordable food.
Today Somashekara works with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, a community gardening initiative that specializes in sustainable food practices. He and his partner Lisa Mosca implemented City Harvest, a program that feeds 1,000 families a week from local gardening projects, and the Roots to Re-entry program, which places ex-offenders in landscaping jobs.
“We have to reorient people’s understanding of food production and agriculture—show them that it doesn’t have to be brutal work that ruins your body,” says Somashekara.“It can be fun, empowering, and educational.”
- In Michigan, food stamps are worth double at farmers markets, which means more healthy food for low-income shoppers and more customers for local farmers.
Three provisions in the bill would make it more difficult to regulate the safety of genetically modified crops. Consumers fight back with a flurry of organizing.
The story of this seemingly ordinary chain of grocery stores suggests that collaboration with the community may be the key to success for businesses in struggling neighborhoods.