Brandi Chang, Patricia Graham, and August Jeffrey.
Defined by the American Nutrition Association food deserts are “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.” Food deserts are caused by many factors, they are typically in areas where people often do not own a car and they arise in communities of color combined with low income. Studies show that wealthy districts have 3 times as many supermarkets than poor districts, white neighborhoods contain an average of 4 times as many supermarkets when compared to black neighborhoods. Grocery stores in African-America communities are usually smaller and have less selection.
About 23.5 Million people live in food deserts, nearly half of them are also low-income. Due to limited options, many people living in food deserts have a hard time finding good that are culturally relevant and that meet their dietary restrictions, more often than not, people tend to get meals from fast food restaurants. Food deserts are not the only reason for the unhealthy eating habits of low-income neighborhoods. It also comes down to income and education and nutritional knowledge. When low-income people moved from neighborhoods with lower quality stores to neighborhoods with healthier options, their eating habits had almost no change.
Having people not be able to get the type of food they need is not fair to them, because there is nothing they can do to stop buying the packaged food that the small corner stores sell because that is all they have to choose from. The effect of these people buying the fast-food is that they become unhealthy, which is unfortunate. The relationship between food and social class here is that when these low income families live in these rural areas, in is a double negative because they only have the choice to buy unhealthy food which causes them to live even worse lives, this is a bad problem that America has that needs to be fixed.
USDA Food Desert Locator Map: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx
Top Worst Urban Food Deserts in the U.S.:
- New Orleans, LA – ” Researchers at the Congressional Hunger Center report that there are only 20 grocery stores in New Orleans, compared to 30 before Katrina, which means the average grocery store in New Orleans serves 16,000 people — twice the national average”
- Chicago, IL – ” In a typical Black neighborhood in Chicago, the nearest grocery store is roughly twice as distant as the nearest fast food restaurant.”
- Atlanta, GA – “When examined along racial lines, researchers found that there are four times as many supermarkets in predominantly white neighborhoods as in black neighborhoods.”
- Memphis, TN – ” The poll also ranked Memphis #1 for hunger in the country with a startling 26 percent of people in the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area saying they couldn’t afford to buy food for their families in the last 12 months.”
- Minneapolis, MN – “Researchers say food deserts, which covered about one-half of Minneapolis and nearly one-third of St. Paul as of 2006, are largely to blame.”
- San Francisco, CA – “In Hunters Point, some 40,000 residents travel miles to the nearest grocery store.”
- Detroit, MI – “Data from Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group, reports more than 550,000 Detroit residents live in areas defined as food deserts.”
- New York, NY – “A 2008 study conducted by the New York Department of City Planning estimates that as many as three million New Yorkers live in communities without enough access supermarkets.”
- Camden, NJ – “Camden, which consistently ranks among the poorest and most violent cities in the U.S., has just one major supermarket, a Pathmark near the city’s eastern border with Collingswood, and a smattering of other farmer’s markets, according to Phiilly.com Camden.”
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Gallagher, M. (2011). USDA Defines Food Deserts. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts
Grant, A. (2017, January 25). Food Desert Information – Learn About The Causes Of Food Deserts And Solutions. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/lifestyle/food-desert-information.htm
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