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Project February 9, 2021

Food Revolution in New York's Latino Community

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After suffering from the first symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, Anna Rodriguez decided to leave behind fast food and begin a plant-based diet. Image by Muriel Alarcón Luco. United States, 2020.
After suffering from the first symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, Anna Rodriguez decided to leave behind fast food and begin a plant-based diet. Image by Muriel Alarcón Luco. United States, 2020.

The Latino community in New York City has been hit hard by COVID-19. This is likely due to social determinants: Nearly half live in poverty and they suffer greater rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and low immunity. Experts believe that these preexisting conditions are a result of chronic poor nutrition. Researchers point out that many live in “food deserts,” neighborhoods where it is harder to find affordable and healthy food.

But today, we are beginning to see a food revolution in New York's Latino neighborhoods: Community leaders are showing how food choices are vital to health. While educating the community on the health benefits of whole food and plant-based eating, they are organizing weekly events in the virtual space: recipe workshops, food demonstrations, and talks with physicians, nurses, and dietitians, which increasingly are given bilingually. They are working on changing food deserts into healthy food oases in pandemic times. Latino communities are responding—seeing the food they eat as preventive medicine.

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