The "first food system" in the U.S., which calls for exclusive feeding of breast milk for an infant's first 6 months followed by the addition of nutritious foods, is fraught with injustices and social and environmental inequities that prevent many infants and caregivers from achieving these goals. A provocative new article that introduces the "first food justice movement" and proposes activism to advance food justice in theory and in practice is published in Environmental Justice.
In the article entitled "First Food Justice = Food Justice = Environmental Justice: A Call to Address Infant Feeding Disparities and the First Food System" Erica Morrell, PhD, Middlebury College, VT, discusses the many reasons why women may be unable to breastfeed their infants exclusively and why many infants may lack access to breast milk, including workplace policies, cultural factors, and laws against breastfeeding in public. Dr. Morrell also describes some of the first food justice movement's strategies and achievements.
"Dr. Morrell advances the concept of food justice in this watershed article," says Environmental Justice Editor-in-Chief Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, MSE, MPH, and a LEED AP, and Sustainability Director, Environmental Health Research Associates, LLC. "Breast milk is not only the first food biologically produced specifically for infants, it is also the basis for their future immune response. Its corruption from environmental contaminants is an environmental injustice that is clearly elucidated in this article."
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Erica Morrell, First Food Justice = Food Justice = Environmental Justice: A Call to Address Infant Feeding Disparities and the First Food System, Environmental Justice (2017). DOI: 10.1089/env.2017.0014