Fostering food equity in an immigrant neighborhood of New York City during COVID-19
Food equity includes the right to food that is culturally appropriate. Immigrant neighborhoods can be sites of contestation over who participates in the production, distribution, and consumption of food. Manhattan’s Chinatown is a good example of a neighborhood where food is central to its commerce, cultural heritage, and reputation as a tourist destination. The coronavirus’ origin in China caused immediate material impact on Chinese restaurants and food purveyors in New York City as well as in other cities with major populations of Chinese people. Chinatown suffered disproportionate closures of its grocery stores, restaurants, and produce vendors due to COVID-19 as compared to other neighborhoods in NYC. The grassroots response to this crisis is a reminder that people have the power to use food to assert the society that they desire, to shape a highly contested urban space, and to claim their right to the city.
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