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Abstract

This paper investigates the connection between local food systems, health disparities, and social justice in the rural South. It begins with the relationship between food insecurity and health disparities that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority populations, and non-minority women and children. First, we discuss the concept of health disparities within the context of bioethics and public health ethics in order to explore the link between the food system and health as a social justice issue. Second, we define health disparities and discuss how they have historically plagued and disadvantaged racial minority populations. Third, we examine these disparities within the context of the structure of the food system and the related social justice issues. We conclude that food insecurity in the rural south is ethically unacceptable because it harms the disadvantaged populations living in these areas. It worsens their vulnerability, truncates their flourishing, and makes their optimal health a mirage.