The Power of Prevention in Food Sovereignty

The rapid assimilation process for refugees is a testament to their resilience and a risk factor for unhealthy dietary habits. Health disparities particularly have acute impacts on refugees, affecting mental health, physical wellbeing and quality of life. Food sovereignty is often taken from refugee communities as they are displaced from their country of origin to transitional camps to their country of resettlement. In considering preventative public health interventions that assist refugees in maintaining their overall wellbeing, foodways[1] play a major role in how a person’s health adapts as their lives transition and assimilate to a completely foreign environment. Nutrition education has immense potential to assist refugees in preventing chronic, diet-related diseases while continuing healthy, traditional foodways. April will use her Blueprint for Social Change to employ nutrition education as a preventative public health intervention, contribute to the mission of Transplanting Traditions Community Farm (TTCF), and initiate collaboration among existing organizations and ongoing efforts to improve health equity among the refugee communities of Orange County, North Carolina. She realizes she will merely play the role of an intermediate in implementing these collaborative relationships and hopes that her nutrition education materials will assist refugees in gaining food sovereignty and control of their health.

[1] The term foodways refer a term defined by Dr. Marcie Ferris Cohen from the UNC Department of American Studies, “the cultural actions, activities, and interactions that surround food, including not only what people eat, but when, where, why, how, and with whom.”