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What does culturally appropriate food mean?

You might have noticed that certain emergency food aid programs run by large charities provide food aid lacking the flavors and colors that make food a communal and enriching experience.

This may be for a variety of reasons, including for example, the urgency of having to provide food for those in war stricken areas. Cabarete Sostenible, however, does this work differently.

Food is much more than sustenance, it is directly tied to our physical and mental wellbeing, it provides connection to ourselves and others, and its significance throughout history, the growth of human civilizations and the identity of every region of the world can’t be understated.

Cabarete Sostenible believes that food is culture and that it has the power to heal daily struggles as well as generational trauma and deficits. With this understanding we design and shape our Food Aid Program to be sensitive to the history, heritage and culture of the Dominican Republic.

In action, this means that our monthly food packages are filled with produce that our community knows, staples of Dominican gastronomy. Yes, food aid can and should be both nutritious and culturally relevant. We buy local and of course, at our Community Garden and Farm we focus on growing food that is native, ancestral and part of Dominican heritage. If and when we introduce new items, they must 1. Be easily accessible and 2. We provide the information to utilize this new ingredient.

Culturally appropriate food means that we respect and honor the dietary needs of those we serve as well as their preferences.

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