The issue of good (equal) food choices is similar to mankinds to the issues of a safe environment (without wars and conflicts). This assumption leads toward drawing up the significance of environmental justice (EJ) across the United States (Goldstein, 2003). In this respect, the example of the self-identified community of people living in Lawrence, Massachusetts, is applicable to be mentioned in this study.
The question is that there are concrete points on the unequal situation with the right nutrition and varied food choices that people in Lawrence have contrasted to what the rest of the state has. The activity of such an organization as Groundwork Lawrence is concerned with direct actions to improve the situation on the spot. Though the United States is experiencing hardships in terms of healthcare reform, the economical approach in the state of Massachusetts and across the country should have more ostensive outcomes. Hence, which are the changes that came out to be in Lawrence, MA?
Lawrence is a former industrial town. Its industrial character is reflected in the qualities of the environment in which people live (Groundwork, 2009). In this respect, it is vital to admit that the health prospects are debated across the community of people living in Lawrence. The issue of air pollution is in most points extremely hazardous for human beings living in the urban area (Day, 2007). The implications of such a polluted environment are outlined in asthma and many other respiratory diseases (Groundwork, 2009). Thus, the foundation Groundwork Lawrence took once responsibility to change the situation toward EJ perspectives. In turn, it drove health impact assessment (HIA) that has become incorporated within the Lawrence community (HIA, 2010).
First of all, it is appropriate to note that Lawrence is not unique in the trouble of low air quality that makes people suffer from different inflicted in this way diseases. Community involvement in the local struggle for a safer environment is fair for the people of Lawrence due to its urge for sustainability in this case (Agyeman, Bullard, & Evans, 2003). This fact irritates the public opinion on making more greenery possible in the area of the town.
As a post-industrial city, Lawrence needs the care of the American society and governmental funding. However, Groundwork did a miracle for this place in Massachusetts. The thing is that this organization (or better to say project) aims at involving all types of stakeholders in this pretty lucrative initiative. It has united city government, public investors, and business structures under the slogan “changing places and changing lives” (Groundwork, 2009, p. 1). All of the stakeholders were interested more in improving the environment of the city by investing their physical and financial efforts along with much time.
Struggling for ecological democracy at different locations, the United States is experiencing the new wave of the rise of public consciousness on the significance of EJ (Faber, 1998). One of the reported studies outlines that “estimates of 60-90% of all cancers have been attributed to environmental causes” (Bryant & Bryant, 1995, p. 45). Thus, taking into account the healthcare prospects of the whole American nation, the main trade-offs should be related to the government. The points on social and economic stratification of the population took place once in Lawrence. The reason is lower than average rates of living (Groundwork, 2009). Thereupon, modern attitudes and agendas should be constructed following the prior role of healthcare (not financial) perspective (Rhodes, 2005).
To increase the assortment of healthy food/, Groundwork (2009) initiated the project for Lawrence farmers. Respecting the farmer’s market the foundation suggested the “Spend $5, Get $5 Extra!” model for making this way of marketing healthy food popular with the community (Groundwork, 2009). The marking of the healthy choice is obvious. It is embodied in the SNAP/Food Stamp which has benefitted a 180% increase (Groundwork, 2009).
Hence, the marketing trick by Groundwork was more than just successful. It found appreciation among the population of the city. It also gave way to new portions of investment into the agricultural domain. One more initiative by Groundwork (2009) is the provision of another source of fresh food employing community gardens in Lawrence. Thus, the scientific practice being worked out in Groundwork took place in the community-based participatory incentives (Delemos, 2006). Based on volunteering youth and community, on the whole, the main idea of the project reached its destination through a system of financial donation, involvement of human resources, and immediately putting in action.
Such an approach that Groundwork proposed is effective in acknowledgment of such tries by further generations (Stein, 2004). Thus, the all-pervading engagement of the Lawrence community in the issue of their survival at large became possible due to the foundation of Groundwork and its far-reaching perspectives on sequential development and improvements in the target group of people.
The examples of park development, Spicket River Greenway development, Urban Forestry along with the food (farming) best choices made Lawrence the so-called demonstration of the supremacy of reason over mischief (Groundwork, 2009). The involvement of each inhabitant made it possible to decrease rates of vulnerability while decreasing rates of environmental advancements.
Agyeman, J., Bullard, R. D., & Evans, B. (2003). Just sustainabilities: development in an unequal world. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Bryant, B. I., & Bryant, B. (1995). Environmental justice: issues, policies, and solutions. Key West, FL : Island Press.
Day, R. (2007). Place and the experience of air quality. Health & Place , 13 (1), 249-260.
Delemos, J. L. (2006). Community-based participatory research: Changing scientific practice from research on communities to research with and for communities. Local Environment , 11 (3), 329 – 338.
Faber, D. J. (1998). The struggle for ecological democracy: environmental justice movements in the United States. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Goldstein, B. D. (2003). Ensuring environmental health in postindustrial cities: workshop summary. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Groundwork. (2009). About Groundwork Lawrence: Local impact. Visible results. Sustainable change. Web.
HIA. (2010). About Health Impact Assessment. Web.
Rhodes, E. L. (2005). Environmental justice in America: a new paradigm. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Stein, R. (2004). New perspectives on environmental justice: gender, sexuality, and activism. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.