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The Intersection of Food Justice and Black History: Reconnecting with Food Traditions in Spring Hill, Volusia County, Florida

Authors: Catherine Day*, Stetson University
Topics: Food Systems, Ethnicity and Race, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: permaculture, race, urban agriculture, food justice, Florida
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Recent community engagement initiatives at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, have pushed to increase the availability of fresh food in the community known as Spring Hill, a mostly unincorporated area of greater DeLand. Students, staff, and faculty have worked alongside community members to provide labor and expertise in the development of a community garden for Spring Hill. Yet, the longer food history of Spring Hill is often underacknowledged. Spring Hill has been a predominantly African-American community since the post-Civil War period when freed slaves from area plantations settled here. Their food traditions, tied to other southern traditions influenced by food traditions transplanted from West Africa, are part of what this project seeks to place more centrally into the conversations about food justice in the Spring Hill community. Although access to food in the community has improved with the opening of a Walmart Neighborhood Market, adequate food access is still lacking. This study combines an examination of the current connections of Spring Hill residents to their food traditions and to outdoor spaces with an oral history of Spring Hill’s more recent food past and longer history. It seeks to inject a fuller account of Spring Hill’s past and present into current change-focused initiatives to more effectively acknowledges the rich autonomy and knowledge on which Spring Hill’s food story is built.

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