GARLIC & GREENS: accessible soul food stories offers programs showcasing the intersections between food heritage, migration history, social justice, the arts, and disability studies. The current focus is an oral history archive about food heritage.
GARLIC & GREENS was first established as the educational component for edible gardens designed for people with disabilities at the north end of Chicago’s Washington Park. While working at this site, it became clear that adjusting a garden’s physical infrastructure is just the first step to becoming accessible. GARLIC & GREENS responded by making a multisensory audio book to connect vegetable gardening to cooking traditions.
First launched in an historically Black neighborhood, GARLIC & GREENS welcomes participation from everyone while focusing on stories about soul food traditions from those of African ancestry. During the Great Migrations, people searched for a respite from racism and more job opportunities in northern cities. This human movement was accompanied by the journey of southern American food traditions including soul food ingredients like okra, beans, yams, and various dark leafy greens among others.
GARLIC & GREENS is making a special effort to reach audiences with low or no vision because Black Americans are at a higher risk for sight loss from glaucoma, diabetes and hypertensive retinopathy. The good news is that these diseases can be prevented with a healthy diet and regular access to health care. GARLIC & GREENS will help participants make stronger connections between cultural heritage, culinary traditions, food access, and health and wellness.