Volunteers at the Dallas Farmers Market on Tuesday night arranged water bottles and snacks on spaced-out picnic tables in front of a stage. Salsa music bounced through the open-air pavilion of the Dallas Farmers Market. The scene was rather still at 7:30 p.m. and only one of the five candidates running to represent this district had shown up on time.
They were all supposed to be here for the event, titled A Food Justice Conversation: What Side of the Table Are You On?, but only Jennifer Cortez was present. Another 30 minutes went by while organizers texted and called the rest of the city council hopefuls for District 2: Jesse Moreno, Dr. Sana Syed, Raha Assadi, and Michael Fetzer.
“We have confirmed candidates when we texted, emailed, sent messages through social media,” said a frustrated Danaë Gutiérrez, founder of Harvest Project Food Rescue (HPFR), one of the orgs behind the event. “So my question, and what I see is, is that the way they’re going to treat our community, too, that they’re not gonna end up showing up to these things?”
The frustration was palpable, and it stems from a perspective that the city isn’t doing enough to meet the needs of residents who don’t have access to healthy food. HPFR has witnessed the consistent need for food in Dallas. The organization has, in the last year, provided over a million meals or vegetable boxes in Dallas by redirecting produce destined for the landfill—bruised bananas, bags of lettuce, overripe pineapple, onions, cucumbers, berries—and redistributing it to families in need. During the winter storms, when some food pantries weren’t able to open, they delivered water. As we reported back in February, small collectives like these make a big impact. Even GOODR, an Atlanta-based food recovery and distribution company has planned a pop-up grocery store at Fair Park this Saturday to help bridge the gap of food insecure families. These fast-moving initiatives are important because of how long it takes for things happen at City Hall. The City Council’s recent approval of $1.3 million for an El Rio Grande Latin Market to a part of Far East Dallas that desperately needs it was in the works since at least 2019.Read More