WANDA Amplifies the voices of Black women and girls in the food system
Updated: Jun 16, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC - What are the voices of food freedom? Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA), a DC-based nonprofit organization, amplifies the voices of Black women and girls leading in the food system in this premiere video release prior to its Sisterhood Supper: #Juneteenth Celebration kicking off WANDA Week.
Juneteenth represents not just emancipation of Black bodies and minds but also from colonized cuisines that have robbed our generational health. “From diabetes to heart disease, I have family members who have been victims of an unjust food system from lack of land to lack of nutrition education,” says Tambra Stevenson, founder/CEO of WANDA.
“For too long Black women and girls have been hidden figures in our food system. Yet they have used food as their superpower to nourish a nation and heal their homes," says Tambra Stevenson, CEO of WANDA. "We are not only amplifying their voices but fund the movement towards food freedom." Food sheroes - are not just professional women in food and nutrition but our mothers, aunties, and nanas - who are addressing hunger, nutrition, & health inequities while building upon a legacy of food freedom fighters on the frontline like Georgia Gilmore, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Harriet Tubman.
Last year WANDA established the WANDA Scholarship - an endowment with the support from donors like Whole 30 at Oklahoma State University's College of Agriculture and the Nutrition Sciences Department within the College of Education and Human Sciences to support women pursuing college majors in food, agriculture, nutrition, and dietetics.
Allies like Whole 30 have joined the movement for food freedom in supporting WANDA. More companies are recognizing the relationship between diversity and inclusion across all business lines represents diverse revenue.
"Whole30 is thrilled to be partnering with WANDA for another year, to celebrate diversity in health and nutrition and amplify the voices of Black women and girls in nutrition and dietetics. We share a common mission: empowering and educating people in reclaiming their health while honoring their ancestral and cultural practices. I'm proud to support WANDA's vision, and look forward to working together in advocacy to create real change,” Melissa Urban, Whole30 co-founder, and CEO.
We need more representation and leadership in the food system that reflects our communities. Black farmers are not alone in their struggle. Representing only 2.7% of the field, Black nutritionists and registered dietitians suffer from the same plight -- low representation, no loan repayment program, fractured career pipelines, lack of mentorship, pay gaps to few slots for dietetic internships. As the expression goes, if we are not at the table, we are on the menu.
That's why the work of WANDA is so critical to sound the alarm at a critical time with the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Dietetics that is underway. WANDA will be partnering with NAACP DC Branch to convene listening sessions, develop food and nutrition policy frameworks that address the challenges in communities impacted by food apartheid, and submit a report to the White House.
WANDA is grateful for the community-wide support for the Food Shero Freedom Fund which helps establish their next endowment at an HBCU. Share this video with your community and join in the conversation of inclusive representation in leading the food system by changing the narrative using #IamWANDA and #FundtheFightNow.
Founded on International Women’s Day in 2016, Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA) is on a mission to build a movement of 1 million women and girls of African descent to lead as food sheroes through education, advocacy, and innovation. Based in Washington, DC WANDA is a Black women-led social justice 501c3 nonprofit organization composed of women leaders, advocates and entrepreneurs working to strengthen our families, communities, and economies by transforming our food system. We transform our lives and our families through #foodfortheculture. Learn more at http://iamwanda.org.
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