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Jasmine Robinson is raising food equity and reducing waste!

Jasmine Robinson is a public health educator and the food equity coordinator for the city of Cincinnati's Health Department. I had the opportunity to sit down with her recently and ask about her work advocating for food security and educating people about how food waste is in opposition to that goal.

A photo of Jasmine Robinson

How does your work impact the goal of reducing food waste?

Before I got into this role, it was called "Healthy Eating." I worked to change the title of the program to "Food Equity," and once I did that it started shedding some light on the connection between reducing food waste and reducing food insecurity, and I'm like, huh.

If I do have a food distribution or I'm helping to coordinate it, one of my priority goals is to make sure that the food that we're giving away is food that is rescued. That way it kind of helps to close that cycle, keeping it from going into landfills and more into homes.

Can you share some of the most common misconceptions that you've heard about food access and food waste?

I would say a common misconception is that food access isn't an issue, because food is out there. It's not always as simple as food being out there, because people throw food away, food goes bad, food may not be in a place where people are comfortable with going, there's stigma behind it, so many other things. So again just offering that education.

What is your current vision for what you would like to achieve or create with your work overall?

The ultimate goal is of course, reducing food insecurity, as well as reducing food waste. Seeing if policies can be updated and changed to reflect the issues that are going on, but more so still working every day to reduce food waste and increase food security. So that more families are fed, landfills look a little better, and bias is addressed holistically.

Do you have advice for people who would like to serve as community advocates and educators?

Don't give up and don't be quiet. Look at what in the system can be disrupted and do it. You don't have to have a degree, there's not a lot of gray area when it comes to serving and helping people. Look at the next person that is just a human, a human being, and serve the best way you can.

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