Reframing Food Hubs

Reframing Food Hubs: Food Hubs, Racial Equity, and Self-Determination in the South

By Dara Cooper

It is impossible to consider racial equity without understanding the dynamic and complicated history of a U.S. agricultural system birthed from the exploitation, domination, and destruction of entire populations.

Food systems work is about much more than food; it is deeply connected to the myriad of ways communities of color experience injustice. Racist policies and practices, both past and present, have made it impossible to achieve equity in our food system without addressing race specifically and directly.

In a food system and economy that exploits and fails people of color, food hubs and co-ops are one way that farmers of color are countering barriers to entry while transforming the food system to center racial equity, self-determination, and dignity.

Drawing from formal interviews with more than 25 farmers and leaders of food hubs and co-ops, visits with over 50 leaders in food systems work, and numerous conferences and conventions across the South, Reframing Food Hubs:

  • Provides a critical analysis on the intersection of racial justice and food systems.
  • Elevates the voices, concerns, histories, and work of communities of color leading food hub work.
  • Outlines major challenges and barriers associated with developing and maintaining food hubs within a racial equity framework.

Reframing Food Hubs: Food Hubs, Racial Equity, and Self-Determination in the South is presented in three parts:

  • Part One - History of Food Hubs examines the dynamic and complicated history of the U.S. agricultural system while highlighting the inequities that continue to be replicated today in a model described as modern-day sharecropping.
  • Part Two - Changing the Game: New and Developing Good Hubs shares lessons from Black-led food hubs, sheds, and co-ops that have led incredible work in the South by bringing food to their communities and attempting to change the food system as we know it.
  • Part Three - Summary of Recommendations outlines five key, race-explicit recommendations for dismantling structural inequity and creating racially equitable food outcomes for all.

To learn more, follow #ReframingFoodHubs on social media.


Based in Atlanta, GA, Dara Cooper is a national organizer with the National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA), an alliance of Black led organizations working towards national Black food sovereignty and land justice.


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