The series introduces us to positive approaches in feeding America
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
Writer, comedian, and activist Baratunde Thurston uses his podcast series How to Citizen with Baratunde to unpack social and political affairs still affecting American society. Thurston has relaxing yet informative talks with various guests to raise awareness for problems. For the health issue, we’re focusing on an episode from season one, “Feeding Ourselves Our Way (with Chef José Andrés).” The entry was recorded last year in August, but its health-related subjects remain pivotal today.
Thurston speaks with Liana Sanchez and Katelan Cunningham who volunteer their time at the Los Angeles (LA) Community Fridge and chef José Andrés’ efforts to feed people through his organization World Central Kitchen. Both causes have tackled America’s food crisis in different ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. The LA Fridge is essentially a public refrigerator that acts as a food bank by making sure communities can procure food and vital supplies.
What’s inspiring about Sanchez, Cunningham, and Andrés is how incredibly passionate they all are in making sure neighbourhoods always have access to food. All three are motivated by the fundamental fact that food must be preserved as a resource for not only survival but also for bringing everyone together. Their community-first mindset conveys how kindness, compassion, and selflessness are powerful forces to safeguard people’s health and social well-being.
Thurston further explores the philosophies behind the Fridge and Andrés. One surprising concept of the Fridge he uncovers is its identity as mutual aid rather than charity. As mutual aid, it cares more about feeding people via food donations and volunteerism rather than being a charity (which usually structures its efforts based on money). The Fridge’s admirable priorities remind us of the heartwarming corner of humanity that helps others for its own sake.
The podcast covers Andrés’s belief that eating food is a right everyone should have, especially children. His worldview as a chef even influences him to work with Kamala Harris on the Feed Act, a bipartisan bill that would help support restaurants during the pandemic. The common ground between a cook and a politician adds a humbling layer to this episode.
The episode also has interactive features that make the podcast a more accessible experience for listeners beyond the audio recording. Thurston includes a rough transcript of his conversations with guests, welcomes feedback, and offers the chance to connect with his platform’s social media. He even has a shortlist of queries you can answer called action questions which are related to the episode’s topics. These facets create an inclusive space that give his audience time to think about how the podcast can relate to their own lives.
Overall, Baratunde Thurston’s podcast episode “Feeding Ourselves Our Way (with Chef José Andrés)” from his series How to Citizen with Baratunde ensures listeners that there is indeed human goodness everywhere. His openness and generosity foreground relevant health themes discussed by his guests. Thurston proves to his listeners that, with heart and empathy you can bring joy and even inspire change in your own community.