Aileen Suzara Oral History Interview

Aileen Suzara’s Oral Interview



As a food justice advocate, the assumption is often made that the diet of a food justice advocate is one that is fresh, organic, and probably meatless. In a traditional Filipino diet, there is a lack of vegetation as it is often said, “Filipino food is allergic to vegetables.” Of course, growing up as a Filipino American, Aileen has been exposed to the food system we are all used to. As a food justice advocate, Aileen now makes the conscious decision to consume fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, with respect to her husband, who is vegan. One important thing we wanted to make an emphasis on was, even though Aileen is a food justice advocate, she even has her guilty pleasures. This resonates with us especially because she has these strong values against today’s agriculture and food system; and her guilty pleasures involving eating Popeye’s is a reminder that she is a regular person and not someone who has changed and looks down on others.


KEY WORDS (Our own definitions, then compared of similarities and differences with Aileen’s definitions of these terms in the interview.)

– Food Justice – The right to growing and eating good the how it was ‘supposed’ to be. No additives, etc.

– Colonialism – Political or cultural control of another and conforming their ways to the dominant culture.

– Filipino Food Movement – The reintroduction of classic, traditional Filipino dishes in a modern style suitable to the palates of Americans

– Ethnic Food Ways – Cultural, social, and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food

– Organic Agriculture – Farming that doesn’t consist of multiple pesticides, etc.

– “Authentic” Food – Food that clearly represents ethnicity and cultural background

– Food Relationship/Connection – Relationship individuals have with food, in correlation to farming and making meals

– Decolonization – Resort back to how crops are prepared in regards of agriculture, and cooking preparation

– Industrial Food System – How foods such as corn, being mass produced and sold to the public

– Food Culture – The way how food is prepared in different communities

– Food Appropriation – Colonizing foods to adjust to another cultures taste buds. i.e. Chinese food catering to Americans, and making dishes such as chop suey deemed as Chinese food, when it was American made.



(Cultivating Food Justice : Race, Class, and Sustainability)


(Aileen Suzara Is Flipping the Script About ‘Unhealthy’ Filipino Food)


(The Filipino Food Movement Questioned by the Oakland Community)


Pandika, Melissa. “Aileen Suzara Is Flipping the Script About ‘Unhealthy’ Filipino Food.” Bon Appetit, Bon Appétit, 8 Mar. 2018,

“The Filipino Food Movement Questioned by the Oakland Community.” Filipino Kitchen,