Posts tagged with "civil eats"

A Florida Immigration Law Is Turning Farm Towns Into ‘Ghost Towns’

Florida is one of a growing number of states threatening to use E-Verify as a way to intimidate and control farmworkers. As farmers face worker shortages and farm communities lose residents, are GOP lawmakers shooting themselves in the foot?



Moncho had just started building a life in Florida when SB 1718’, a broad law targeting both undocumented immigrants and the people in their lives, passed through the state legislature last May. In the weeks that followed, his home stopped feeling like home. He began seeing more cops and state troopers in his town, a predominantly immigrant community. He feared it would only get worse and figured it was safest to leave before the law went into effect in July. “It was a quick decision. Once I learned about the law, I talked it over with my wife and we said, ‘OK, let’s get out of here,’” said Moncho, who is using a nickname. He has lived in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, moving between states as a farmworker and construction worker, without getting the chance to fully make any of them his home.

In June 2023, just weeks after the bill’s passage, Moncho and his wife packed up what they could fit into their car and drove—through the wildfire smoke that was blanketing the East Coast at the time—to Vermont to seek work in the dairy industry and build a new life for themselves, again.

They are just two of the many undocumented immigrants who have left Florida in the aftermath of the bill’s passage. In the last nine months, as workers have fled, “help wanted” signs have reportedly popped up across the state. Crops have been left to rot in fields. Entire communities emptied out and turned into “ghost towns.”

“Once the law passed, there were empty houses,” said Moncho. “You went down the street, and it was, ‘For Rent. For Rent. For Rent,’ everywhere.”

The law targets supporters of undocumented immigrants by making it a felony, under the charge of human smuggling, to knowingly transport undocumented people across state lines. Beyond that, it requires medical providers to inquire about a patient’s immigration status (although patients need not respond).

And the most potentially sweeping provision aims to crack down on the hiring of undocumented workers by mandating the use of E-Verify, a web-based federal system that allows employers to confirm or deny workers’ legal status. This applies to workplaces with 25 or more employees and extends the use of E-Verify to many Florida farms that were previously exempt.

Proposed by Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis as an answer to “Biden’s border crisis,” the law reflects a larger Republican strategy for the upcoming election: “The GOP’s goal is to turn the 2024 election into a referendum on the Biden administration’s handling of immigration, framed by the notion of a crisis that has spilled beyond the southern border and into cities across the country,” wrote immigration reporter Gaby Del Valle in a recent op-ed.

It’s a strategy currently on display in Congress as House Republicans appear poised to sabotage an immigration deal—even though it would crack down on the southern border—that is backed by President Biden.

But some farmers and advocates speculate that Florida’s law may be largely intended as a political spectacle that will stir chaos but ultimately lack enforcement—and began as an effort to boost DeSantis’s short-lived bid for president—while still allowing Florida industries to rely on undocumented laborers in the end.

“It’s not clear whether it’s a way for DeSantis to boost his image as somebody ‘tough on immigration’ versus a law that will have real penalties and consequences,” Deirdre Nero, a Florida-based immigrant rights advocate and lawyer, told Civil Eats. “We’ll see when they start imposing penalties if the proof is in the pudding.”

Regardless, Florida farmers, farmworkers, and lawmakers will continue to deal with the consequences of the law in the coming months and the potential for another exodus if E-Verify is enforced. As Florida looks to fill worker shortages, the law poses big questions about the future of farm labor in the U.S. as similar policies could expand elsewhere.

As the presidential election season kicks into gear, Donald Trump and other GOP candidates are promising sweeping crackdowns on undocumented workers and expanded federal mandates of the use of E-Verify. But Florida, often a bellwether of the GOP’s future, shows that even a political tool can have real consequences.


Chilling Effect

SB 1718 has already disrupted the lives and livelihood of undocumented immigrants and their communities. “It’s a political stunt gone too far,” read a letter sent in October by a group of Democratic members of Congress, led by U.S. Representative Darren Soto from Florida. The letter calls upon Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the law, which they say is “causing immense harm to families and could jeopardize Florida’s economy.”

Agriculture is one of Florida’s major industries, and along with construction and tourism, it plays a significant role in employing the state’s estimated 772,000 undocumented immigrants. Nearly half of Florida’s farmworkers are undocumented, according to the Florida Policy Institute.

After many farmworkers began to flee, some Republican lawmakers briefly realized they may have bit the hand that, quite literally, feeds them. Last June, Representative Rick Roth, a vegetable farmer and Republican who voted for the law, pleaded with constituents to convince workers to stay. “This is more of a political bill than it is policy,” he told an audience of South Florida pastors at the time, implying that it wouldn’t be enforced with any real consequences.

So far, there have been a few arrests under the law’s human smuggling provision, which is being challenged as unconstitutional in a lawsuit. But the E-Verify mandate isn’t set to begin enforcing penalties until July.

Now, nine months after the law’s passage, some farmers are struggling to find workers to harvest crops, while farmworkers live and work with heightened uncertainty that ultimately impacts their health and safety.

Jeannie Economos coordinates a pesticide safety and environmental health program for the Farmworker Association of Florida, a group that represents more than 10,000 workers. She told Civil Eats that she typically fields complaints from them about “wages, pesticides, harassment, and other conditions in the workplace.”

But since SB 1718 passed, those complaints have slowed to a trickle, despite last summer’s record-breaking heat. A similar silence fell over the community under the Trump administration, she said, when farm workers feared speaking out.

The E-Verify Mandate

Still largely voluntary on a federal level, the E-Verify system emerged from the Immigration Act of 1990, a major overhaul of the U.S. immigration system. This established a commission that recommended a national registry for checking immigration status and employment eligibility. After a series of pilots, the program became available in 2003 to employers in all states as a voluntary database. Since then, a growing number of states have mandated its use, but industry pushback often narrows the scope of these mandates.


Previous attempts to strictly enforce E-Verify have unraveled in Florida. In 2020, when DeSantis pushed for a law mandating use of the database in the hiring process, it was strongly opposed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, for instance, until it was amended to exclude farmworkers.

The version of the bill that passed also created loopholes for private employers, prompting some to call it “E-Verify Light” and “Fake E-Verify.” Prior to that, two other efforts to require use of the database failed to pass. The reason is clear: The current E-Verify mandate could hurt Florida’s economy to a tune of $12 billion in just one year.

“[Florida’s E-Verify mandate] has always been defeated, and it’s not defeated by the immigrants that would be impacted,” said Paul Chavez, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, representing a legal challenge to the law. “It has been defeated by the business community, including from lobbyists for farmers, tourism, and construction.”

“I can’t say for sure, but my understanding is that there will definitely be advocacy from the business community to try to poke holes in the E-Verify law, or even get it repealed,” added Chavez, who expects to see efforts to do so in the current legislative session.

Greg Schell, a lawyer who represents migrant farmworkers in Florida, thinks there is good reason to believe the E-Verify mandate will lack enforcement. “There are no regulations to guide employers,” he said. “It certainly would be plausible for an employer to claim that the returning worker is ‘grandfathered in’ and does not need to be the subject of an E-Verify inquiry.”

In other states, E-Verify mandates have often spared the agriculture industry and other industries dependent on undocumented workers, either by the law’s design or its lax enforcement. For instance, North Carolina passed a law mandating E-Verify in 2011, but carved out an exemption for “temporary seasonal workers for fewer than 90 days,” which would allow farms to continue employing, with less risk, undocumented people for seasonal work.

In 2013, this exemption was expanded to employees of less than nine months. Since then, North Carolina lawmakers have introduced several bills to carve out an even larger exemption for all farmworkers.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who served as South Carolina’s governor between 2011 and 2017, has called for a national E-Verify mandate in her campaign. She often cites the law that she helped pass in 2011 as an example. “What we did in South Carolina with E-Verify was you had to verify that that person was in this country legally or else you could not hire them,” Haley said, in an interview with Breitbart. “That’s what we put in place in South Carolina and, more importantly, we enforced it.”

However, like in other states, South Carolina’s law doesn’t require E-Verify for every employee, exempting a number of essential jobs, including farmworkers and domestic laborers. “The S.C. Farm Bureau convinced lawmakers that the E-Verify requirement could scare off migrant workers needed to harvest crops,” The State reported in 2017. A representative from South Carolina’s Department of Labor confirmed that this exemption remains in effect today.

In fact, no state has been able to enforce E-Verify across every industry, without it backfiring. Take Georgia. In 2011, when the state attempted to enforce E-Verify for nearly all employers, it triggered a mass exodus of farmworkers and an estimated $140 million loss in agricultural revenue.

The expansion of E-Verify mandates is often framed, including by former Governor Haley, as a way to protect the jobs of U.S. citizens. Yet when this policy has prompted an exodus of undocumented farmworkers, U.S. citizens haven’t exactly jumped at the opportunity to work on farms. In fact, when E-Verify mandates are strictly enforced in agriculture, they have been found to lead to worker shortages, loss in farm revenue, and shrinking farm production.

“E-Verify is a way of sharing immigration status with the government that has no positive value for either the undocumented worker or the employer,” said Mary Jo Dudley, the director of the Cornell Farmworker Program. The consequences are most dire, of course, for the farmworkers who would face criminal penalties and a heightened threat of deportation.

“[For] farmworkers, E-Verify is a pathway to share information with the government that you’re deportable,” said Dudley. “Because once you register that you don’t have a social security number with the government, you become immediately deportable.”

Questions About the Future of Farm Labor

Despite the rippling economic consequences, the promised expansion of E-Verify mandates has become increasingly central to the GOP platform. Currently, Republican lawmakers in Iowa and West Virginia are pushing for state mandates, while DeSantis, Haley, and Chris Christie campaigned for a federal mandate. E-Verify is also part of the conservative playbook, Project 2025, which plans to “permanently authorize and make mandatory E-Verify” on a federal level if a Republican wins the 2024 presidential election.

As Congress tensely debated the latest border security bill, which was released by the Senate in early February, Republicans have repeatedly insisted on even more stringent proposals. In a recent letter, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, pointed to the Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2), a Republican-sponsored bill that passed in the House last year—which would federally mandate E-Verify, among other sweeping measures—as reflecting his core legislative demands.

But in recent years, even major bipartisan efforts to reform immigration for farmworkers, namely the multiple versions of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, have also included E-Verify mandates. First introduced in 2019, the legislation creates a path to citizenship for undocumented farmworkers, while streamlining the hiring of foreign agricultural workers with a temporary H-2A visa. Re-introduced and abandoned last year, the bill is a political compromise that has deeply divided farmworkers and their advocates, and one of the major sticking points is E-Verify.

“There are basic things that we cannot negotiate away, and E-Verify is one of them,” said Edgar Franks, the political director at Familias Unidas por la Justicia, an independent farmworker union in Washington state representing Indigenous farmworkers. “[The Farm Workforce Modernization Act] is sold as immigration reform . . . but it would implement the E-Verify system for the first time across a whole industry in the United States.”

Even in Washington, where E-Verify is voluntary, Franks has observed farmers threaten to use it when engaging with the union. “We’ve seen E-Verify weaponized, especially when immigrant workers are trying to organize themselves into unions, or to get some kind of justice in their workplace,” said Franks. As he sees it, “the main intention [behind E-Verify] is always having this hanging over people’s heads—or raids or deportations—to make sure that the workforce is controllable.”

This perspective was echoed in a letter to the House Agriculture Committee’s newly formed Labor Workforce Working Group last September by a group of farmworker advocates, including the Farmworker Association of Florida and the Agricultural Justice Project, which raised concerns about the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and its E-Verify mandate.

“Do not implement mandatory E-Verify for farms, since it serves as a control and scare tactic in an immigration and trade policy system that strategically created a large population of undocumented immigrant workers to ensure an exploitable labor pool,” reads the letter. “Agriculture risks losing some of its most highly skilled workers.”

Mandatory E-Verify could also create a more exploited workforce by helping funnel more farmworkers into the H-2A guestworker program. The federal program, which recruits farmworkers from other countries, has ballooned by more than 7 times between 2005 and 2022. It represents one of the only pathways to legally enter the U.S. with a high acceptance rate. Yet the program is rife with exploitation and abuse, often perpetuated by its structure: Farmworkers live in employer-supplied congregate housing, often in unfamiliar rural areas, and are not allowed to switch employers.

“The vulnerability of H-2A workers makes them an attractive workforce for growers,” reads the letter from the group of farmworker advocates. “They are tied to the grower or contractor who recruits them and can be legally fired for not meeting exhausting production quotas, or for raising issues about workplace conditions.”

In fact, the American Farm Bureau, the largest lobbyist group representing growers, has stated that they would support E-Verify mandates under one condition: a “workable guest worker program” so that farmers could more readily hire H-2A workers and curb the anticipated labor shortage. So, by making a pathway to citizenship conditional upon both an E-Verify mandate and streamlining the H-2A program, The Farm Workforce Modernization Act strikes a compromise that appeals to farmers. As Edgar Franks put it, “It’s basically a gift to the agricultural industry.”

As the state with the most H-2A workers, Florida has played a major role in driving the rapid expansion of this program, and it’s likely that it could rely on this program even more to address labor shortages. As of September, Florida’s farms recruited over 86,000 H-2A farmworkers in 2023, already surpassing the amount recruited in 2022. For comparison, California, the second biggest H-2A state, recruited nearly 46,000 workers during that time.

In recent years, Florida’s labor-intensive citrus industry has moved to nearly exclusively hiring H-2A workers, representing 95 percent of the workforce in 2022, according to the Florida Citrus Manual. If E-Verify is enforced, it’s possible other agricultural industries in Florida may follow suit.

Meanwhile, undocumented farmworkers in other parts of the country have felt the chilling effect of Florida’s law. In New York, a farmworker who asked to remain anonymous and a leader with Alianza Agricola, a group of undocumented dairy workers organizing for their rights, observed an influx of farmworkers coming from Florida to New York late last spring. He welcomed a couple families from Florida to their meetings, helping them feel at home. But witnessing this also made him worry about what could happen if a E-Verify mandate ever came to New York.

“Those of us who are farmworkers in the dairy industry are concerned about this too,” he said. “It puts the status of many workers in the food chain at risk and [people] who have been working here for 10, 15, or even 20 years—like me.”

Federally Funded Farming Program is Helping California Farmworkers Become Farm Owners

Editor’s Note: Here’s another important story from Civil Eats highlighting a roadmap for manifestation of the American dream. Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas, California is led by development director Chris Brown. He says although the federally funded farming program “welcomes anyone,” the organization “focus and greatest impact has been with immigrant farmworkers, mostly from Mexico and Central America.”

Application for the Farmer Education Course.

California’s farmworkers face untold barriers accessing the land, capital, and training needed to strike out on their own. For 20 years, ALBA has been slowly changing the landscape for this important group of aspiring growers.


JANUARY 18, 2024

Herlinda Huipe and her husband Carmelo Rojas operate Tierra HR Organic Farm on California’s Central Coast. It’s small, so they both still work part time on larger farms, primarily picking strawberries. But the couple has recently hit a milestone: During their busiest harvest days, they’ve had to hire people to help with their celery crop.

“They are people who are really fast at cutting it,” Rojas said, “and we pay them as contractors.”

The catalyst that led Huipe and Rojas to segue from farmworkers to farm owners is the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas, California, which for more than two decades has offered classes, on-farm training, land, equipment, and business support to aspiring organic vegetable farmers. ALBA has received over $15 million in support from federal grants, local and national foundations, and individual donors in the last 20 years, and more than 220 businesses have launched with the organization’s support since 2001.

In an impact report published last fall, ALBA development director Chris Brown found that more than 10 new farms get started each year and four to six expand beyond ALBA’s land.

Brown also learned that among the 121 alumni farmers who responded to a survey, 77 are still operating a farm business. Meanwhile, others are working in farm-support roles, as intermediaries between farm owners and product buyers and as administrators or business support staff for other farms. Recently, Brown said, he spoke with one alum who told him “she is helping farmers with marketing because, she said, ‘she’s not as good of a grower.’”

ALBA welcomes anyone, Brown said, but in this region known for growing heavily labor-dependent strawberries and leafy greens, the organization’s focus and greatest impact has been with immigrant farmworkers, mostly from Mexico and Central America. “They want to get away from that lifestyle and farm on their own,” he said.

Huipe and Rojas had the dream but until a friend told them about ALBA, they had no idea how they would even begin the transition. “We are really so grateful to ALBA, and all the people there.” Rojas said recently in Spanish. “They are friendly and always help us.”

Read the full article and more about the road to organic farming by Amy Mayer HERE.

Op-Ed: Solutions to Address Food Insecurity Facing Black Seniors

Food insecurity for Black elders is an escalating crisis with untold costs to individuals and society at large. It’s time to demand a more dignified path for this often invisible group.

I met Henrietta, a retired Washington, D.C. resident in her 60s in a meeting of the Client Leadership Council at the Capital Area Food Bank. I was there doing research for the University of the District of Columbia and I was struck by her continued advocacy around ensuring her neighbors have access to adequate and nutritious food and the infrastructure they need to create a resilient community.

Henrietta (not her real name) has a bright presence and speaks often of “opportunity,” even though she, her family, and her community are living through some of the darkest times in terms of not having the resources they needs from day to day.

She is diabetic and has been advised by her doctor to seek out vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole grains—but given her limited income, she struggles to afford those foods. Instead, she has resorted to buying Nestlé Boost, a drink designed to help her control her glucose intake. She buys a case every month and relies on it to fill the nutrition gaps in her diet. “A lot of stuff that I need to eat, like vegetables and stuff, I don’t get it. So, at night, when I get ready to go to bed, to keep my sugar from dropping too low, I drink a Boost,” Henrietta told me.

“It really makes me feel bad because I’m used to buying what I need,” she added. Now, when she goes to the store, the prices of gas and food are so high that she finds herself putting back a number of basic items—Spam, bread, eggs, milk­—because they’re just not in her budget. Grocery prices have gone up and Henrietta only receives a limited amount of federal support; even with the increased support during the pandemic, she continued to face challenges accessing a balanced diet.

“A lot of time when I didn’t have any meat, I would get me a couple of eggs, and eat them [instead], but now they’re almost always what I put down,” she said.

Henrietta is just one of many Black seniors in urban areas facing similar struggles. In the kaleidoscope of modern America, where supermarkets overflow with abundance and food trends flash across social media, a disquieting truth lingers in the shadows: An alarming number of seniors can’t secure sufficient and nutritious meals.

The latest State of Senior Hunger report from the nonprofit Feeding America revealed that 5.5 million seniors (60 and up) and 3.8 million older adults (50-59) experienced food insecurity in 2021. At that time, Black seniors and older adults were 3.8 times and 2.5 times more likely to experience food insecurity compared to their white counterparts, respectively.

This isn’t just about hunger; it’s a systemic problem rooted in socioeconomic disparities, geographic limitations, and ingrained barriers. The pervasive nature of food insecurity among Black seniors demands our attention and collective action, as it underscores the depth of inequality embedded within urban landscapes. Many Black seniors find themselves trapped in food deserts with limited transportation options.

Predominantly Black neighborhoods have fewer supermarkets, leading to restricted options for fresh and nutritious foods. The consequence is a reliance on convenience stores and fast-food outlets, perpetuating a cycle of poor nutrition and health disparities. Socioeconomic factors compound the problem. Limited financial resources mean that Black seniors are often forced to choose between paying for life-saving medications and nutritious meals.

And while many of these seniors and older adults may not be visible to people outside their communities, it’s our responsibility to change the structure that allows these patterns to continue. Often, it’s easy to overlook the disparities that exist in our backyard. Here in Washington, D.C., I’ve heard from a number of seniors who don’t have cars and must travel outside Wards 7 and 8 to get decent groceries. If they don’t have friends and family members close by to assist them, getting enough healthy food can feel nearly impossible.

It’s time to break the chains of food insecurity and demand a more dignified path toward support for Black seniors. In the wake of a fast-moving world, we must take a step back to unpack the current crises to create impactful opportunities for change and other critical developments.

Larger Implications of Food Insecurity for Black Seniors

The impact of food insecurity on the health and well-being of Black seniors is profound. Inadequate nutrition is intrinsically linked to an increased susceptibility to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Black older adults experience those illnesses—and the lower life expectancies that go along with them—at a significantly higher rate than their white counterparts.

According to the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging website, the most frequent causes of death for older Black women are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. The vicious cycle of poor health further exacerbates these women’s struggles, creating a scenario where the most vulnerable continue to experience a web of preventable health issues. Uncertainty about where the next meal will come from also has an emotional and mental toll that we cannot underestimate for seniors, often leading to anxiety and depression.

The repercussions of this crisis extend beyond individuals to permeate the fabric of society. Reduced productivity and elevated healthcare costs become the collateral damage of a population struggling to meet basic nutritional needs. The impact is not only felt in the health of our citizens but also in the economic burden borne by taxpayers. When diet-related illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity escalate, people often end up in emergency rooms and hospitals.

According to recent studies, the economic cost of treating these illnesses amounts to billions of dollars annually, placing a significant strain on public healthcare systems and taxpayer funds. Addressing the nutritional well-being of our population is not just a matter of individual health; it is a fiscal imperative for the sustainability of our healthcare infrastructure and the economic prosperity of our nation. Lawmakers must recognize the interconnectedness of these issues and respond strategically.

A Path Forward: Solutions and Initiatives

Now is the time to confront and dismantle the barriers that perpetuate food insecurity among Black seniors. We need to advocate for a shift in perspective—from viewing Black seniors as victims of circumstance to recognizing their resilience and agency and naming the racist, capitalist system that has long extracted their labor without meeting their needs. It underscores the urgency not only to address immediate food insecurity but also to rectify the systemic injustices that perpetuate inequities among Black seniors.

There are some successful community-driven programs doing this work. For example, the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research has created the Healthier Black Elders Center, which is ensuring Black seniors in the region are getting fed and working to reduce health disparities through research and education. There is a low representation of older African American adults in research and the program also aims to increase their participation.

As the echoes of the pandemic linger, the disparities among different populations of seniors are still present, exacerbated by the fact that pandemic-era assistance in now the rearview mirror. Along with rising inflation, the loss of those supports has intensified the economic challenges faced by seniors, particularly those in the Black community.

Notable organizations such as the National Council on Aging, AARP, Justice in Aging, Senior Medicare Patrol, and the Long-Term Care Community Coalition are advocating for policies that support seniors each and every day. They’re calling on lawmakers to recognize the silent struggle of Black seniors and actively engage in solutions.

If we want to ensure that Black seniors have access to the nutritious food they need, the following key actions are critical:

Increase Improvements to Quality Healthcare and Intervention Initiatives

Access to affordable long-term care services is crucial for improving health outcomes and addressing food access challenges among Black seniors. These services, empower Black seniors to maintain independence and give them control over their meals. Critical initiatives such as Food is Medicine programs and produce prescription programs are targeted strategies designed to connect healthcare institutions at the national level that will wider efforts to improve health through food. They have also been shown to improve participants’ quality of life, reduce work in hospitals, and cut healthcare costs, according to experts studying Food is Medicine efforts.

Expand SNAP and Other Federal Nutrition Programs

This would help reach the millions of older adults eligible for SNAP but not enrolled while also helping current recipients maximize the monthly assistance they receive from the program. Only three out of five older adults who are qualified end up enrolling in the SNAP program. Many others receive only the minimum benefit of $23 a month. Recently, the end of the public health emergency triggered a sharp decrease in SNAP support for millions of people. Many saw the assistance they receive drop by $250 per month. Policymakers should focus on the long-overdue adjustment in benefits to increase the minimum monthly amount for older adults on fixed incomes. This would also help alleviate financial burdens related to both healthcare and medical expenses.

Dial in Support for Nutritious Foods

In addition, federal programs should shift the focus from just ensuring food access to ensuring equitable access to nutrient-rich foods. Such an approach could have a profound impact on promoting healthy aging and reducing the prevalence of chronic diseases among Black seniors. In the long run, we need to take the new USDA-defined concept of Nutrition Security much further.

I was raised in a family of resilient Black seniors; in my formative years I witnessed their indomitable spirit amidst profound struggles. Their daily battles with food insecurity—and the moments of quiet dignity—were embedded into the fabric of my childhood, a poignant reminder of the harsh realities faced by many in our community.

These experiences have etched in my heart the imperative to delve deeper into the intricate challenges that contribute to food insecurity among Black seniors. It goes beyond statistics; it’s about the lived experiences of those who many of us hold dear. Let us use our collective empathy and determination to propel us toward meaningful, sustainable solutions.

As a food justice advocate, I want to see today’s Black seniors break the chains of food insecurity—not just for themselves but for every grandparent, aunt, and uncle who has weathered the storm before them. The time for comprehensive, systemic change is now.

Mya Price

Mya Price is a Washington, D.C.-based researcher focusing on racial equity and food justice. Her research has identified socioeconomic determinants contributing to the Black–white                                                        food insecurity gap at state and county levels, and her qualitative studies shed light on the disparities older black adults face in accessing food resources in U.S. metropolitan areas.