Charlotte Keniston is a graduate student in Imaging and Digital Arts (IMDA).
Having recently returned from two years in the Peace Corps in rural Guatemala, I arrived in Baltimore to begin graduate school with a keen awareness of the gross amount of food wasted by Americans daily. I moved into a neighborhood in Southwest Baltimore that is labeled a “food desert,” an area in the industrialized world where healthy food options are hard to come by. My neighbors, many of whom do not have cars, ride multiple crowded city buses with children in tow simply to procure food. Prohibited by the difficulty and distance, many simply eat what is available at corner stores in the neighborhood, little more than processed foods and soda.
As an artist I chose to respond to this problem in a way that I felt was both tangible and meaningful—by hosting community meals. The food served at these community meals is prepared simply, with ingredients that other people have discarded. The meals are advertised around the neighborhood a few days ahead of time and when the hour comes, all are welcome to sit at the table and partake. The placement of the table is strategic, in front of a community garden, or abandoned (city-owned) space that could feasibly support a locally owned grocery store or co-operative. The goal is not to feed the world or to change public policy, but to invite people affected by food injustice to eat together and envision change.
Contact the author, Charlotte Keniston, at email@example.com.