Nutrition Advocate Speaks to “Food Equity” in America

“Healthy, affordable food is a basic human right. But for many communities, healthy food isn’t affordable or even available.”

Nutrition advocate Sheelah Muhammad will be speaking at Prescott College Saturday August 13, 2011 at the Crossroads Community Room on the topic of “Food Equity: Healthy Affordable Food  For All.” The event is free and open to the public.

“Healthy, affordable food is a basic human right. But for many communities, healthy food isn’t affordable or even available,” says Muhammad, co-founder of Food Desert Action and co-creator of the Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market, an affordably-priced produce market on wheels that operates in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago.

Muhammad explains that residents in low-income areas are forced to rely on fast-food restaurants, corner stores, liquor stores, and bodegas where you find processed, nutrient-poor foods high in sugars, fats, and calories. If fruits and vegetables are available, they are usually too expensive and of very poor quality. As a result, some of the highest rates of diet-related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are prevalent in these communities. 

Sheelah will discuss what her organization is doing to increase access to affordable, healthy food options in Chicago’s low-income, historically excluded and marginalized communities. She will also share her perspectives on the importance of developing real, systemic change.

About Sheelah Muhammad

Prior to launching Fresh Moves Muhammad was program officer at Oprah’s Angel Network where she led the Healthy Communities Program area with initiatives linking community health, education, youth development, poverty alleviation, and housing. She developed and advanced the charity’s research agenda on social determinants of health. Her years of experience in community engagement have shaped her belief that where you live determines how you live (including how you eat).

Sheelah is Board Treasurer of Healthy Schools Campaign and a guest lecturer at Northwestern University School of Education & Social Policy. Sheelah holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.