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Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics

by Kathryn Colasanti; Sarah Rodman-Alvarez

May 1, 2019

The U.S. food system has created and been shaped by racial injustices since its inception. The ways in which racial injustice is made manifest through our food system are sometimes quite clear and other times murky at best. Data is a powerful tool that can either illuminate or obstruct the reality of injustice. Disaggregating data by race can shed light on systemic oppression.

This report identifies metrics related to racial equity in the food system that are either in use by organizations currently or have been recommended, whether in a publication or through an interview. By documenting the current landscape in this area, this report provides a foundation for the Michigan Good Food Charter Shared Measurement Advisory Committee to consider and select a set of metrics that can be used at state (Michigan) and local levels to track progress towards an equitable food system.

The metrics in this report can also provide a foundation for other interested organizations to track progress. To identify metrics presented in this spreadsheet, over 100 sources were scanned from reports and peer-reviewed literature touching on race or ethnicity and the food system. Duplicate metrics found in multiple sources were included only once. Personal communication (either interviews or emails) with about a dozen food system experts added several additional suggested metrics and insight on the structure of the list.