The History of American Food Policy & Marginalized Communities

July 14, 2023 | Dr. Mark Mitchell


To understand the current food system in the United States, it is important to consider the history of food and agricultural policies, based on slavery and other racialized laws and policies, and the implications today on equity, health, and climate change. Dr. Mark Mitchell, the Co-founder and Director of the Climate and Health Equity Fellowship Program, will discuss this history and needed improvements to the U.S. Farm Bill, our pre-eminent food and nutrition legislation, to address these complex, interconnected issues.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell M.D., MPH, FACPM is an Associate Professor of Climate Change, Energy, & Environmental Health Equity at George Mason University, where he is the Founder and Director of the Climate and Health Equity Fellowship, a leadership development program for physicians of color to help diversify the climate and health movement to advance equitable climate solutions. He also co-chairs the National Medical Association’s Commission on Environmental Health and co-chairs the Governor’s Connecticut Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Council (CEEJAC). A preventive medicine physician trained in environmental health and health policy, Dr. Mitchell has spent over twenty years working in the public health sector, including as Director of the Hartford, Connecticut Health Department and Deputy Director of the Kansas City, Mo Health Department. He spent fifteen years working with environmental justice communities to prevent and reduce environmentally related disease as well as to change policies that are detrimental to environmental health. He is the Founder and Senior Policy Advisor of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.