The Fifty One

The American Food System Is Failing Women


In the first season of our new podcast, The Fifty One, we’ll explore what food insecurity looks like for women across America, and what’s being done about it.



Americans today are both obese and starving. We’re spending more than ever on an ever-widening array of diets, and yet hunger and obesity are increasingly driven by a web of overlapping factors. According to the latest data, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in March 2018, some 40 percent of American adults are obese. Meanwhile, nearly 15 percent of Americans live in food-insecure households, unsure where their next meal will come from. We have a tendency in this country to attribute numbers like these to personal choice, but doing so ignores the complex drivers that range from the mechanization of the food system to institutional racism and sexism to the stigmatization of poverty. Every community in the country has a different relationship with food, money, and labor, as we found when we put a call out for local stories about food access. The result is the 7-episode first season of our new podcast, The Fifty One, which explores what national issues look like for women at the local level.

In this season we visit the ethnic markets of San Diego to explore how small bodegas and produce stands might be an important part of addressing food insecurity. We head out to the Navajo Nation with a Navajo reporter who traces the rise of the food sovereignty movement in her community and why it’s so important. We dig into the relationship between redlining and food access with a 5th-generation Birmingham, Alabama resident. We visit with Reverend Roslyn Bouier, who spends time each month planning meals for people who have had their water and electricity shut off in Detroit. We look at what happened in West Dayton, Ohio, when all the grocery stores shut down, and how food insecurity is intersecting with the opioid crisis. And, importantly, we explore solutions in each area, and close out the season looking at efforts that are working nationwide.

Reported feature stories complementing the season will be running here as well throughout September and October, including an explainer of the current food access landscape in the U.S., a dig into the history of our relationship with food vis a vis culture, and more.

The Fifty One is presented by DAME Magazine and produced and distributed by Critical Frequency. We have collaborated with Civil Eats on multiple episodes and stories in this season. Click here to subscribe to this season, and be sure to follow DAME on Twitter and Facebook for updates about upcoming episodes and editorial content.

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