Project Food Injustice
America is known for many things, such as entertainment, military power, diversity, and opportunities for civilians, but one thing they’re not known for is food nutrition. The United States ranks at the bottom of many food categories as they are known for the worst obesity rate and high population rate with food-related diseases.
Ashely Jackson, daughter of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are doing their best to provide healthier food options to Americans and have also looked to have fewer food desserts in America.
“I was raised vegetarian from birth as my mom was vegetarian for 12 years before me, so it was very natural for me not to eat meat or seafood,” Jackson said as she talked about her journey in becoming a vegetarian and then transitioning into becoming a vegan later on in life. “Once I caught Covid in 2020, I removed dairy products and gluten-filled products from my diet and fully transitioned into becoming a vegan, which helped me get over my sickness faster.”
Jackson is an actress, screenwriter, and producer. She is known for starring in the Netflix film “BEATS” as Niyah alongside Anthony Anderson, Uzo Aduba, and Khalil Everage. Her most recent feature film debut, a Sony Pictures/MACRO Entertainment collaboration, “BLAST BEAT,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She is also the daughter of civil activist leader Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Jackson is a Valley native, and she details her upbringing of being surrounded by places that offer healthy food options and understanding how privileged she was for that lifestyle after visiting her family in South L.A.
“I always knew about food deserts because I visited my family in South L.A. I noticed that there weren't any grocery stores for miles at a time and no vegan or vegetarian food options, which limited what I could eat when I visited my grandmother,” Jackson said as she compared the fast options in the valley to South L.A. “I had a general understanding of disparity and food injustices at a young age because of my upbringing, and noticing that in my neighborhood there were three salad bars around the corner from me while in South Los Angeles there are all types of fast food restaurants, but you couldn't find a salad bar nowhere.”
As Jackson grew older, she started to become more active in fighting against food injustices, and this year, she partnered with PETA to create the Food Justice Project. “There are 6,500 food deserts in this country alone, which makes it hard for families to have the proper options for a healthy diet, and that's not including families that live in poverty. I wanted to address the idea of pushing people who normally wouldn't have access to better food options, and PETA was more than happy to support.” The project focuses on pressuring the government to incentivize grocery stores in food deserts to work more with farmers to bring healthier food options into stores without making them overpriced.