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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

From Sit-In To Drive-Thru–Marcia Chatelain On Fast Food In Black Communities

Dr. Marcia Chatelain decided it was important to write a book about fast food that’s not about food.
(Aaron Davidson/Getty Images North America)

If we have conversations about healthy foods, and they don’t involve conversations about capitalism, then I’m just not interested in them anymore. –Marcia Chatelain

For those involved in the good food, real food, or local food movements, it’s easy to write off fast food, either because it’s not good for you, not good for the environment or because the industry doesn’t pay its workers a living wage. Or, maybe it’s just not classy enough.

But through the second half of the twentieth century, African American communities and even civil rights organizations saw fast food franchising as a way to bring jobs and money into black communities.

It’s hard to imagine, today, that McDonald’s franchises could ever have been seen as an engine of black socialism, but Marcia Chatelain, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University, reminds us that African American communities continue to be constrained, and fast food has been one way to make things work.

Dr. Chatelain is currently finishing up a book about the relationship between African American communities and the fast food industry called From Sit-In to Drive-Thru: Black America in the Age of Fast Food.

Associate producer Alex Chambers recently spoke with her via Skype (see link to the transcript below).

We check in with Puerto Rican Farmers one year after Hurricane Maria, with Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock.

And we do some pickling with chef Daniel Orr.

Music on this episode:

Victory [instrumental] by Brandon Davis (Actual Figures/Electric Set)
Solitude [instrumental] by Brandon Davis (Actual Figures/Electric Set)

The Earth Eats’ theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey.

Stories On This Episode

Transcript Of Interview With Marcia Chatelain

"...even within a system that allows for some African Americans to become wildly wealthy, and to have a lot of influence and power, there are still these questions about equity and fairness even within the system because African Americans are ultimately constrained."

Pickled Peppers Give Off Heat Year Round

It's never too early to start preserving flavors of the season! Use your favorite peppers harvested fresh from the garden in this recipe.

Puerto Rico’s Farmers Rebound From Hurricane Maria, But Federal Funding Still Lacking

We check in with Puerto Rican Farmers one year after Hurricane Maria, with Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock.

Kayte Young

Kayte Young discovered her passion for growing, cooking, foraging and preserving fresh food when she moved to Bloomington in 2007. With a background in construction, architecture, nutrition education and writing, she brings curiosity and a love of storytelling to a show about all things edible. Kayte raises bees, a small family and a yard full of food in Bloomington’s McDoel Gardens neighborhood.

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