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Food for Thought: June 2023

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Pride Month  |  Staff Spotlight  |  Hana Studios  |  My Neighbor’s Table

Pride Month

June holds profound significance for many lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and Two Spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) people – it is a reminder of the role of joy and celebration in the ongoing struggle for liberation. We move forward only by remembering the past. States across the country are actively attempting to ban, censor, and litigate away queer and trans people. Now, more than ever, we must commit to disrupting the threats to queer community. 

The threats are not only political, but material: queer people are almost twice as likely to experience food insecurity compared to their cis and straight peers. Food insecurity extends beyond hunger: among the many marginalized communities faced with food insecurity, queer individuals face unique challenges such as: 

  • LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, particularly transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, face higher rates of unemployment and wage discrimination. These economic disparities significantly contribute to their vulnerability to food insecurity. 
  • Discrimination and stigma can lead to social exclusion, limited employment opportunities, and housing instability for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals. These factors exacerbate their susceptibility to food insecurity as they struggle to access stable income and secure affordable housing. 
  • Many individuals face familial rejection when living their authentic lives, which often results in homelessness or precarious housing situations. This lack of stable housing can disrupt access to nutritious meals, leading to increased food insecurity. 
  • In some instances, LGBTQIA2S+ people may worry about discrimination by religiously affiliated organizations that run food banks or other assistance programs – sometimes avoiding these programs all together.  

love is a right in white text above graphic of field with mountains and heart with NWH logo on bg of pink gradientNorthwest Harvest firmly upholds the belief that love, like food, is a fundamental human right. It is crucial we extend support to the LGBTQIA2S+ communities throughout the year (not just in June). Here are several solutions that can be implemented: 

  • Advocate for an increase in funding and resources for community centers that serve the LGBTQIA2S+ community – these centers can offer access to food pantries, employment assistance, and social services. 
  • VOTE! Implementing comprehensive anti-discrimination laws that protect individuals in employment, housing, and public services is crucial. 
  • Promoting awareness about food insecurity within the LGBTQIA2S+ communities and advocating for inclusive policies.  
  • Engage in volunteer opportunities at Pride and other community events. Consider donating to causes that resonate with your values and speak to the needs of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.  

During Pride Month, and always, we affirm our commitment to unapologetically advocating for meaningful and lasting change, working towards the goal of increasing the accessibility of fresh and nutritious food for everyone. 

Staff Spotlight: Joy Hollingsworth

headshot of staff member Joy Hollingsworth Joy Hollingsworth (she/her) serves as the Food Access Network Specialist for Western Washington. In her role, Joy works to connect Black, Indigenous, and people of color-run organizations to the resources they need to serve their communities. She plays a pivotal role in strengthening the infrastructure, operations, and programming models of these organizations, working tirelessly to create sustainable solutions.

“Working at Northwest Harvest has provided me with profound life lessons that extend beyond my professional endeavors,” says Joy. One project close to Joys heart is the growth and expansion of the Harvest Pantry at Northwest Harvest. This initiative serves as the welcoming front porch of Northwest Harvest for new organizations, offering weekly access to food and supplies from distribution centers across the state. Witnessing the positive impact of consistent access to resources and nourishment has been nothing short of amazing for Joy.  

Prior to joining the team, Joy worked with her family’s farm in Shelton, WA as an operator and policy analyst for the agricultural industry. She also plays piano, makes her own candles, loves cooking plant-based food, and enjoys falling down the occasional YouTube rabbit hole.  

Joy continues to make a lasting impact within the community with her compassion and creativity. Thanks for all you do, Joy! 

Hana Studios

Looking for a little inspiration to jumpstart your creative passions? Then you’ve come to the right place! When a drive for social change and an adorable radish with rosy cheeks met, they created something memorable – a message for food justice. 

Picture this, you’re back in high school, A.P. European history and it’s a beautiful day outside. The teacher is droning on about some man in a George Washington wig – you start to doodle. The lecture continues, something about muskets and calligraphy by candlelight. Before you know it, a whole portfolio of amazing sketches adorns pages of notes. 

Hana from Hana Studios poses with envelopes held up in a fan shape while standing next to a USPS mailboxThat’s where Hana Gutierrez comes in – talented, ambitious, thoughtful, and eager to make a difference by supporting mission driven organizations. “In 2020 when I was a freshman at the height of the pandemic, I wanted to find a way to interact with community and be hands on. I sat at home for a while and wanted to do some kind of service – if I could combine something I wanted to do with activism and advocacy and make a positive impact then it would be ideal.” Hana decided to make her art into something tangible. “I love stickers I want to make something easily shared and it would be a fantastic way to spread the message.” 

After chats with friends and a little online research, Hana Studios was formed. An online shop selling a variety of colorful, and message driven stickers transferred from the many artistic creations inspired in and out of class. From paper to digital to print – Hana gave meaning and expression to her creativity. After quite a successful run launching her sticker collections on Esty (which you can find at HanaStudioShop) and donating her profits to World Kitchen in support of Ukrainian refugees, Hana reached out to Northwest Harvest for a collaboration Now, Northwest Harvest is the proud recipient of a series of beautiful and informative stickers – just as Hana set out to do – making a positive impact through activism. 

“This experience has been really unique, I consider myself an adventurous person, I learned a lot and it’s better to try a new thing than not do it at all, I try to make content as much as I can.” Hana is no stranger to trying new things, picking up violin and piano of her own accord, and with college on the horizon pre-med is her next endeavor. 

Her advice to others, “not taking any action is a choice, any small action is action – I’ve been able to work with my community for positive change. If people can find a way to combine something they love doing with advocacy, that can be really powerful.”  

In the coming weeks if you find yourself around the Tacoma area check out Hana’s stickers at local small businesses. And, if by chance the sun is shining you might find Hana enjoying a few barbacoa tacos at the Ruston Waterfront Market too. Thank you, Hana, for your commitment and creativity to empower and inspire community in the movement to end hunger! 

My Neighbor’s Table: Adobo Chicken

My Neighbor’s Table features recipes from communities across Washington for you to make at home. Whether it’s trying a new ingredient or falling in love with the flavors of a new dish, we believe food brings people together.

recipe card for adobo chicken

Like many cultures based in warm climates, Filipinos developed various methods of preserving food. Adobo utilizes the acid in the vinegar and the high salt content of soy sauce to help preserve foods. The delicious flavor and preserving qualities helped to increase adobo’s popularity. Due to its versatility and a relatively easy cooking method, adobo remains an iconic Filipino dish.

RECIPE: Adobo Chicken