Recipes for resistance

Practical applications of restorative food justice in New Haven, Connecticut


  • Cara Maria Santino Syracuse University



Food Justice, Restorative Justice, Food Insecurity, Racial Inequity, Incarceration, Cultural Sustainability, Livable Wage


In the United States, many people of color recently released from prison are likely to be food insecure. The intersections between race, food security, and release from prison are starting to be recognized. However, food justice should be informed by the perspectives and work being done by returning citizens and people of color. With the help of EMERGE CT, a transitional employment social enterprise for returning citizens in New Haven, Connecticut, I collected food access survey data and narratives of crewmembers at EMERGE to explore these issues. I merged restorative justice and food justice frame­works into one framework to develop an initiative that focuses on the availability of healthy, sustainable, and culturally appropriate food for returning citizens and addresses the social trauma that is perpetuated through both the food and prison systems. Further, I write about the importance of compensating food system leaders of color. I provide insight on the challenges in planning such a program. I discuss why we need to amplify the voices of returning citizens in food justice work. Lastly, I consider how these collaborative, cross-movement coalitions develop creative ways to re-envision equity.


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Author Biography

Cara Maria Santino, Syracuse University

MS; Department of Nutrition and Food Studies

Food as a Tool for Social Change sponsored by Falk College, Syracuse University



How to Cite

Santino, C. (2021). Recipes for resistance: Practical applications of restorative food justice in New Haven, Connecticut. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(4), 43–46.



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