The MediaLab Team Explores the Politics of Food in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Story by Daniel Familia
Photographed by Joshua Davis


PARK SLOPE, BROOKLYN — In the neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn there is an organic food shop called the Park Slope Food Co-op. This is a heaven for people who search for organic food.  From bright leafy greens to smelly cheese, they have it all.  It is a busy place: many people walk through of all shapes, colors and sizes.
To shop at the Park Slope Food Co-op you need to be a member. It’s a great way to bring fresh, organic, non-genetically engineered and locally-grown products to the community.  At a point when diabetes rates are high in communities of color, which are often disenfranchised, it is alternatives like this that introduce communities to healthier ways of living.
The problem is that Park Slope is not a disenfranchised community. It is actually one of Brooklyn’s wealthiest neighborhoods. According to the Points2Homes website, the average yearly household income in Park Slope is $90,450 as compared to $33,418 in West Farms, The Bronx, which is where I live.  What’s more, Park Slope residents spend 124% of the national average on food versus the 69% of the national average that West Farms residents, like me, spend.
I often wonder why it is that in my community there are three shops within a four block radius that have glazed donuts and high-sugar drinks.  There are no organic or fresh fruits and vegetables shops there.  No wonder diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity rates are higher in communities like mine. If there were more alternatives like the Park Slope Food Co-op in our disenfranchised communities, we might be more aware of healthy food alternatives.
We hope the Type Cast Response Project will help bring awareness to this issue, and I personally hope that more farmers’ markets will be introduced to my community.