Fighting Food Insecurity

Fighting Food Insecurity with Eloisa Trinidad

Today, we invited Eloísa Trinidad to discuss her work fighting food insecurity.

Eloísa is an award-winning policy advocate, liberation activist, educator, and artist. Her path towards activism and Veganism started early in life. She was raised by centenarians who lived off the land, taught her to be self-sustainable, and passed down much ancestral knowledge to her. This shaped her views of justice and empathy for all Beings, protection of our sacred home–Earth, and the belief in the healing power of plants, sharing, and community. As an AfroIndigeous Latina woman, she approaches liberation praxis and Veganism with an anti-colonial framework to raise awareness of how Western colonization has affected and continues to affect the plight of human and beyond-human persons (animals). And how it has changed the food system and our relationship with each other and the natural world.

Through her role as Executive Director at Chilis on Wheels, Eloísa focuses on making Veganism accessible to communities in need through policy, education, mentorship, and direct food relief. She is currently working on legislation to make plant-based food and milk available to students across the country. In addition, she works with various coalitions and organizations as an advisor to develop community-informed strategies to transcend poverty, mitigate climate breakdown, and make food that grows from the ground accessible to everyone by advocating for policy change on a federal and local level. Within this, she has worked on food systems issues, including submitting recommendations on food policy from the US to the UN to amplify effective solutions to food insecurity and address the inequities in the contributing systems. In 2020, she started ongoing pandemic food relief efforts that continue to feed thousands of individuals, families, and students across NYC. In 2021, she created the Vegan Community Fridges Campaign and co-founded the first free vegan community fridge in New York, providing fresh produce, pantry items, and non-dairy alternatives to hundreds of food-insecure individuals and families daily.

Eloísa is also the founder and Executive Director at Vegan Activist Alliance (VAA), a systems change-focused, community-driven, anti-speciesist, anti-colonial organization founded on the belief that all Beings have a natural right to their autonomy and to live free from oppression regardless of species. VAA works to end the exploitation of beyond-human persons and seeks the protection of our home–Earth– through policy, institutional, and individual change. Beyond this, VAA empowers activists to find their voice in the fight for liberation through a collective liberation approach.

Previously, she worked at The Economist Feeding the Future campaign, which aims to get consumers thinking more about environmentally sustainable approaches to food production and consumption by educating them on plant-based foods, reduction of plastic use, and reduction of food waste. Eloísa sits on the Board of Directors at Plant Powered Metro NY, and is on the following Advisory Boards: Center For Science in the Public Interest, Agriculture Fairness Alliance, and The Vegan Museum. Her favorite food is fruit and her favorite time is always with her beyond-human relatives, trees, and water.

This is a quote that was in Eloisa’s Instagram today that just took our breath away.

“I believe in defending and protecting the water, the non-human relatives, the wild rice.”

What Was Your Diet Like Growing Up?

I grew up in the Dominican Republic, and I came here when I was almost 11 years old to a new life, a new language, a new family, a new country – everything. I grew up with my grandparents, who are much older – centenarians. We grew most of our own food. I was a child, but there was no distinction between the age groups. I was never excluded, and I think that had a huge impact in my life and how I interacted with others across various age groups.

I learned about the protection of our planet, of our soil, our water, and of ourselves, and really how to be self-sustainable. There are a lot of changes that have taken place; there are more fast food places, there is a lot more industrialization. I have seen a further disconnect from all that. At the same time, there’s this resurgence of really appreciating our background, whether that’s in our African ancestry, or our indigenous Arawak and Taino ancestry. Both of these things are going on at the same time. While there is so much commercialization and commodification, we do have that other side that’s fighting for the protection of our environment, of our land, of our beaches.

What Kind Of Changes Can People Make For Their Health?

We have to be able to give them a choice. People with dietary restrictions face higher levels of food insecurity, because of the fact that we have all these subsidies for animal-based industries. Plant-based and organic foods can be more expensive, but a lot of times people don’t want to eat just rice and beans all the time. They want a variety of fruits, vegetables, and greens. The organizations I work with are looking to not only provide that direct food relief, but really change the system, especially with school food.

Regardless of what political party you’re in, write to your representatives. Say, “I want you to work on this. I want you to make this accessible.” That’s really the biggest way that folks out there can support. These are not partisan issues – these are human issues. Food brings people together.

Enjoy our complete interview by CLICKING HERE!!

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