Why John Legend and Misty Copeland Care About Access to Fresh Produce
R&B singer-songwriter John Legend and American Ballet Theatre sensation Misty Copeland are raising awareness about an issue close to home for both performers. Approximately 30 million people in the U.S. don’t have access to affordable, quality fruits and vegetables, and therefore can’t feed their families foods that will keep them healthy.
Copeland — who is recognized as the first African-American woman to be promoted to the highest-ranking position in her company’s 75-year existence — grew up in California without the proper means for fresh produce. Now that she lives comfortably in Manhattan, she’s made it her mission to give back to those in similar situations as her younger self.
“It’s so necessary to be your healthiest self and for your mind to be sharp and functioning in a way that a lot of children in underprivileged communities — they don’t have that opportunity or that option,” the 36-year-old ballerina told The Daily Meal. “It’s so important to be able to give back to communities like I grew up in. It’s crazy how many don’t have access to [fresh produce].”
Legend, who recently achieved EGOT status, has long been an activist of many hats. Food insecurity never truly plagued his family growing up, but he remembers others struggling around him, and that had an impact on him just the same.
“Studies show that parents — when they can afford it and when they have access to quality produce — they want that for their kids, but a lot of the time they just can’t access it either because of affordability issues or just [a] lack of quality groceries in their area,” the 39-year-old “All of Me” singer told The Daily Meal. “I grew up in a family where we had enough to eat pretty healthily, but we grew up in a neighborhood where there were plenty of people on food stamps, plenty of people that had a lot of food insecurity, and it was a very real thing to me because I saw it everywhere we were.”
Legend is concerned about economically and financially stable people who don’t live in underprivileged areas because they might be unaware of what’s going on in less fortunate surrounding neighborhoods.
“There are so many of our brothers and sisters living in communities that don’t have access to the things they need to be healthy and to live a life of sustenance that we kind of take for granted,” he said.
So what can you do to help low-income families gain access to fresh fruits and vegetables? The answer is simple: dance — the shopping cart dance, specifically. (Yes, the semi-embarrassing move your grandparents pulled back in the day.) Capture the gig on video, in a photo or Boomerang and upload it to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #FillYourCartForGood.
For every post now until November 4, Naked Juice will donate $100 to communities in need through nonprofit Wholesome Wave. But don’t stop there! Here are 60 more things you can do to fight hunger in America.