CITRUS                                              A bountiful fruit in our desert land; giving 
health and beauty inside and out. Harvested from
backyards all over Tucson. 
Pomegranates; Fruit of fertility and the sensual life
Rainbow radishes, harvested from the model's own garden and swelling with richness, color and flavor. 
Olives, desert fruit of peace, giving us the oil of life. Picked locally at our favorite park. 
Spicy Chilies from a local farm

The concept of food justice is different for everyone. It can encompass many topics, including access to food, opportunity to grow and gather it, education about wildcrafting, and a return to local and heirloom foods. 

But one aspect of food justice that is rarely discussed is body positivity and acceptance. We need to stop shaming people’s bodies and policing their choices. 

Thin does not always equal healthy. Fat does not always equal unhealthy. Society demonizes people who are fat, but beautiful and healthy comes in all shapes, sizes, cultures and ages. Body positivism is about loving and accepting our bodies at any size or phase of our lives. 

How does this relate to Food Justice?

Society and the media perpetuate the notion that food is a constant threat to women’s bodies. Diet food culture has turned into a multimillion dollar business. Eating disorders are on the rise, especially among young people. We’re teaching young people to have unhealthy relationships with food and wage war with their bodies. 

Food justice activists often use obesity as an example to talk about the structural inequality that leads to a lack of nutritional food available in poor areas. The oversimplified idea that healthy food=thin and unhealthy food=fat Is an easy trope to fall back on, but it is harmful and alienating to use this thoughtless justification for fat phobia. 

An example of this practice is the heinous Georgia Children’s Health Alliance 
50 million dollar anti-childhood obesity campaign. In 2011, they displayed a poster demonizing and shaming fat children, encouraging viewers to form negative stereotypes about them.

This group also felt it necessary to shame the shape and size of African American Women by slapping a warning label on them too.

In 2009, PETA mounted a billboard fat shaming campaign stating;  
 “Save the Whales…Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian” 

Even more memorable than PETA's mean spirited ad was a response from a Florida woman Christie Couch. Her poster read "I'm vegan and I'm still a whale".
We need to see more people connecting food justice and body positivism. When food justice centers around using good nutrition to become thin, it alienates people through sizeism.  
Food justice activists often perpetuate a notion of “good” food, ignoring the foods of some cultures as well as shaming people’s choices. Campaigns based on negativity and shaming groups of people are not effective or helpful. 

There is no one perfect weight for every person in our world. Just as we need a diverse and colorful diet, so too do we need a diverse and colorful blend of sizes and shapes for human beings. Making fresh, healthy, organic, foods available for all is an admirable goal in food justice. Singling out people of certain sizes, shaming them 
and making assumptions about poor eating habits is not. 

When it comes to combating hunger or access to food, there seems to be an easy consensus. Food justice encompasses ensuring fresh food to everyone, empowering people with local gardens and co-ops, eliminating animal cruelty, and eradicating food disparities. 

But that agreement is not evident when it comes to the idea that thin=healthy as an ultimate goal. Regardless of the choices people make, there needs to be a place at the table for everyone. 

*Some of the above opinions are inspired by blogger "The Opinoness of the World"

A PLACE AT THE TABLE  a photo project by Rachel Slick. 

Do you feel that your size or shape affects how people perceive the food choices that you make? Do people assume that you are unhealthy because they do not think you are thin enough, too thin, or your culture has perceived unhealthy recipes? Have you felt excluded in the food justice movement because of your age, culture, or look? 

Would you like to challenge those assumptions by participating in an empowering and positive photography series? Regardless of the choices people make, there needs to be a place at the Food Justice table for everyone. 

Photographer Rachel Slick of Milagro Photos seeks women and children of many shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicity surrounded by the beautiful, healthy and life giving food they enjoy eating. Cultural food traditions are explored, showing that heirloom recipes as well as heirloom tomatoes have a strong place In many lives. 

Dramatically lit, with beautiful locally harvested food, robust color, and human beings of all shapes, sizes and ages, this series strongly emphasizes that food justice does not include shaming people for their size and shape, and that although it is true that you are what you eat, the resulting beautiful bodies come in a rainbow of sizes and shapes.

 Eggplants, straight from the garden