Food apartheid is an emerging term that more effectively describes the deliberate, historical racialization of our food system through destructive policies that have stripped black communities of their own self-determination and have catered to wealthy, white Americans who essentially own and operate our current food system. 

Food apartheid differs from the term “food deserts” in that it looks critically at the intentional causes of inequity in our food system, such as racist and classist policies (like redlining) and low black land ownership due to slavery, that have produced worse health outcomes associated with poor food quality due to low food access. 

A “food desert”, while not technically wrong in its definition of what a food scarce area is, does not ask the question of why it is that way, and who created this system, and those two things are crucial to bring to the forefront solutions that address the root cause of low food access. And “food desert” often implies a natural cause, as opposed to the deliberate actions taken by decision makers that have racially divided society into two tiers of food access.


Food insecurity is a problem affecting millions of people all over America, including Connecticut. It is a subtle and often overlooked problem that has very real consequences on both the physical and mental well-being of those who cannot access affordable fresh food and disproportionately affects poor communities of color.

“Urban residents are also less likely to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, according to the survey. Statewide, about 72% said they had excellent or good access to produce, while the rates were only 56% in New Haven and 51% in Hartford and Bridgeport.”


As if it wasn’t bad enough that there are pockets of Connecticut that do not have reliable access to fresh and healthy food, there is also a tremendous amount of food waste happening in the Nutmeg State. A government study found that more than half a million tons of food each year is wasted in Connecticut. What this means is that there is not a problem of food scarcity, but rather there is a problem of food distribution.