Discussion Series

The ongoing police and racism-fueled violence in the U.S., including the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others, has painfully underscored the need for proactive anti-racist work and centering racial equity in all policies, including food policy.

The DC Food Policy Council, in its role as a convener, invites those who are engaged in the DC food system (as a professional, student, or resident) to this 8-week conversation to reflect, learn, and hold ourselves accountable.

Sessions 1-3 focused on personal racial identities, privilege, and how these interact with food system work. The FSNE Racial Equity Challenge is helpful (but not required) to start exploring these themes on your own. Please review these shared agreements for creating a space for brave and safe conversations.

Sessions 4-8 occur monthly and focus on discussions with experts.

Session 4, Friday August 7: The History of DC’s Grocery Gap (recording available here). The lack of healthy food options in District neighborhoods with predominantly Black residents is not naturally occurring, but rather the result of decades of racist federal and local policies and business practices. Join us for a discussion about how race and racism contributed to DC’s grocery gap, and how this informs policy strategies today.


  • Dominique Hazzard, Historian and Ph.D. student at Johns Hopkins University
  • Beverley Wheeler, Executive Director of DC Hunger Solutions and FPC Food Access & Equity Working Group Co-Chair
  • Andre Towner, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington and FPC Food Access & Equity Working Group Co-Chair

Session 5, Friday, September 11, 2020: Land Access and the Racial Wealth Gap (recording available here): The racial wealth gap, a result of centuries of racist policies that have kept Black Americans from owning land and property, has direct implications on who controls food production today. A 2018 study found that under 3% of farms in the Washington region are owned by people of color. Join us for a discussion about how race and racism contribute to unequal land ownership and wealth, and how this informs policy strategies today.


  • Christopher Bradshaw, Executive Director of Dreaming Out Loud and FPC Urban Agriculture Working Group Co-Chair
  • Kate Lee, Director, Office of Urban Agriculture Director at the DC Department of Energy and the Environment, and FPC Urban Agriculture Working Group Co-Chair

Session 6, Friday, October 2nd: How Racism and White Supremacy Influence Nutrition Education (recording available here): From the nutrition standards set by the federal government to the images all around us glorifying certain body types, the lessons we often learn about nutrition are closely tied to the racism and white supremacist thinking that pervade our society. Join this session to learn how to receive nutrition/health messaging with a critical eye and advocate for more inclusive, science-based policies.


Session 7, Friday, November 13, 2020: Racial Injustice and Workers in the Food Supply Chain (recording available here): Food production and its movement from farm to store to table in our food system is a long journey involving many people. Most often they are persons of color working with few protections and low wages. Join us for a discussion about the history of racism in the food supply chain, farm labor and workers’ rights, and opportunities for combating these injustices through procurement practices.


  • Jose Oliva, Campaigns Director at Health, Environment, Agriculture, and Labor (HEAL)
  • Christina Spach, National Organizer at Food Chain Workers Alliance
  • Michael Carter Jr., Owner/Operator of Carter Farms

Session 8, Friday, December 11 at 10 am: Racism in Lending Practices & Supporting Business Owners of Color (recording available here): The COVID-19 public health emergency has devastated local food businesses and has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown small business owners in the District. While the public health emergency is a recent challenge, the racial discrimination that business owners of color face in accessing capital and leveraging financial institutions is longstanding and intertwined with a history of racist planning and lending policies. Join us for a discussion about the impact of racism in starting and operating Black- and Brown-owned businesses, how historically racist lending and capital policies  manifest in the District today, and how we can work to promote equitable opportunities for DC food businesses as part of an economic recovery. 


  • Daniel Friedman, Loan Operations Manager, Latino Economic Development Center
  • Furard Tate, Co-Founder of DMV Black Restaurant Week and Owner of Inspire DMV Hospitality


  • Emi Reyes, Chief of Operations, Risk, & Investments, Latino Economic Development Center and Co-Chair of the Food Policy Council’s Entrepreneurship and Food Jobs Working Group
  • Ronnie Webb, President & Founder of the Green Scheme and Co-Chair of the Food Policy Council’s Entrepreneurship and Food Jobs Working Group

More Resources on Racism, Racial Equity, and the Food System: