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Price-Pottenger Celebrates Black History Month
February is Black History Month and time to highlight and honor the rich cultural food and health traditions of the Black community.
Historically, Black healers have utilized natural health practices to maintain community well-being, including the use of herbs, mindfulness, and other holistic approaches that recognize the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. (Some of these were studied by Dr. Weston A. Price and captured in his travelogue while visiting ancestral communities worldwide in the 1930s.)
However, many of these traditions have been lost over generations due to migration, modern food systems, suppression, oppression, and trauma. Today, many Black communities in the U.S. face significant disparities in access to healthy and culturally appropriate food options, which contributes to health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease that disproportionately affect them.
Fortunately, Black food culture today is experiencing renewed respect in the culinary world and reminds us of the beauty and importance of food in cultural empowerment and community identity. By utilizing traditional ingredients and techniques, Black chefs have been able to preserve and celebrate their ancestral heritage and create nourishing meals that promote health and well-being.
One individual I’d like to celebrate who is making a significant impact in fighting nutritional injustice is Tavel Bristol-Joseph, co-owner and executive pastry chef at Austin restaurants Emmer & Rye, Hestia, Kalimotxo, Henbit, Canje, Ladino, and TLV. In addition to his restaurant leadership, Bristol-Joseph founded the “Cooking for a Cause” scholarship program at Austin Community College to help Black students attend culinary school.
(Photo credit: Canje)
At Price-Pottenger, we recognize the importance of preserving and promoting traditional food practices as a means of cultural empowerment, maintaining community identity, and promoting health and well-being. Our new vision and mission, which will guide us in the years to come, includes increasing access to healthy and culturally appropriate food options, as well as educating communities on the benefits of these practices and related natural health remedies.
As we celebrate Chef Bristol-Joseph and other Black culinary leaders during Black History Month, it is important that we also acknowledge the larger context of systemic racism and oppression that has historically prevented Black individuals from accessing the same opportunities and resources as others. The Black community has long faced significant challenges in the fields of medicine and food, including disparities in healthcare access, lack of representation in leadership positions, and limited access to healthy and culturally relevant food options.
Therefore, let us also commit to supporting and uplifting Black innovators and leaders by advocating for policies that address health and food inequities, supporting Black-owned businesses, and elevating the voices and experiences of Black individuals in these fields.
In health and solidarity,
Steven J. Schindler,