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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Paris

Food Justice: Accessing Healthy, Culturally Appropriate Food with "Shopping Style" Food Pantries

More than 11% of people in the US are food insecure (about 36 million people), and that number has only increased in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experiencing food insecurity firsthand, I've realized that this is a major barrier to health for many people.

Feeding my family foods that align with my nutritional philosophies and dietary goals is one of the hardest challenges of being food insecure. In fact, recently it became impossible until I began utilizing local food pantries.

Organizations that offer “shopping style” food pantries empower low-income families and individuals to choose foods that meet their unique nutritional needs while also allowing greater access to culturally appropriate foods. The items you see pictured in this post were all obtained from local free food pantries.

I feel fortunate living in Portland because much of our population is generally health-conscious, and that is reflected in the many health food stores around the city. Food banks receive food donations from these stores, as well as donations from individuals that shop there. This explains why my local food pantries often have such a large variety of natural and organic foods, for which I am so grateful.

Check out some of the food I was able to choose for my family this week

(* = organic):

chicken stock*, coconut milk*, garbanzo beans*, half & half*, heavy cream*, pu-erh tea*, chicken breast*, yogurt*, kefir*, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and wild caught baby clams, apples*, lemons*, bananas*, potatoes*, *carrots, oranges, basil, cherries, salad greens, chopped veggie mix,

If you are food secure, please consider donating to your local food bank.

Special shout out to my neighborhood organization, Lift UP, whose mission is to "reduce hunger and improve the lives of low-income residents of Northwest and Downtown Portland." Their vision is "a Portland where everyone has access to healthy food and opportunities to connect with others.” ❤️🙏

Resources in Oregon:

Portland State University students: PSU Food Pantry

National Resource:

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