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Black Louisvillians share thoughts about food insecurity at downtown summit

Participants at the State of Black Food Summit sit at a table and work on computers.
Jacob Munoz
Participants at the State of Black Food Summit discussed ideas for addressing food insecurity and other related challenges within Louisville's Black community.

Many people in Louisville don’t have easy access to healthy and affordable food. A local nonprofit hosted an event for Black community members to share their perspectives.

The nonprofit Change Today, Change Tomorrow hosted its first State of Black Food Summit in downtown Louisville on Saturday.

The event centered Black voices and featured local leaders and residents. Through small-group discussions, attendees shared their thoughts on issues surrounding food insecurity and offered ideas for solutions.

Taylor Ryan, the nonprofit’s founder and executive director, said the meeting showed Black residents want to improve their future and get involved in their cities.

“There's a lot of information at the top that doesn't trickle down to the bottom. And so when you have opportunities and events like this, to engage Black people and meet the people where they're at, they will show up,” she said.

The Greater Louisville Project reported that around 100,000 residents experienced food insecurity in 2021.

People in the city’s majority-Black West End neighborhoods also have less access to groceries compared to areas like east Louisville, where new stores have opened recently.

CTCT paid attendees for their involvement in the all-day event, and offered meals and a childcare space. The summit had several sponsors, including Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Sustainability.

Ryan also said the event was an opportunity to build momentum for the organization. CTCT’s 2022 impact report estimated it helped more than 1,000 people get food and public health support each month.

“It's going to allow us to extend our impact and expand our network,” Ryan said, mentioning that the dozens of attendees could help the nonprofit with its work.

“That could be signing on to a letter. That could be calling their state senator,” she added.

Mark Robinson is a Louisville resident who grew up in the West End. He said the event was crucial for bringing Black community members together in a space to focus on solutions.

“We don't get many opportunities to come together and commune together, but also talk and develop strategies,” Robinson said.

He added that he believes food goes beyond nutrition, noting its cultural and spiritual value.

“You're not just feeding the body. You're feeding your spirit,” Robinson said. “And your spirit is what connects you to God, the Creator.”

Ryan said CTCT looks to be part of the Greater Louisville Food Council, which aims to improve the local food system. The group is collecting applications through Friday.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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