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Author: admin, 26.12.2013. Category: What Is Organic Food

Food deserts in America are typically in poor inner city areas with predominantly African American and Latino populations. Not only are food deserts an inconvenience to residents, but the inaccessibility of affordable, healthy foods, and the overconsumption of junk and fast food put residents at risk of serious diet-related health problems including nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. In Piety Hill of Detroit, where most residents are elderly and low-income people of color, a mobile produce truck named Peaches & Greens delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to residents throughout the city.
In West Oakland, People’s Grocery is stimulating food justice with community cooking classes, nutrition counseling, and affordable produce boxes. In Boston, The Food Project employs organic, community-driven agriculture to promote local health and sustainability. Access to healthy food is just one reason to build walkable places with a mix of uses and diverse transportation options. The most vulnerable members of our communities are the ones most hurt by transportation policies that keep a singular focus on automobile transportation and ignore those who need other ways to get around.
I bet a lot of people look at these maps and think ‘we need more cars so people can travel to food.
Would be really interesting to do an analysis of urban walkability (maybe via walkscore or something) and overlay on food desert maps.
I think it would also be interesting to investigate what factors, other than walkability, contribute to this distribution.
There are plenty of people living in rural (or sprawl) areas all over the West and Midwest that may even be 50+ miles from the nearest supermarket–but they have cars. There’s a huge food desert problem in poor inner cities in the US, even when the streets are relatively walkable. For about 50 years we’ve been building isolated housing developments and isolated shopping areas, connected by high speed roads. I suppose the first step is education, zoning reform, maybe incentives for walkable development.
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So, we identified a problem, created lots of maps, jumped to a single solution, funded it and then someone decided to test this now popular, well-accepted theory. Coleman, a senior citizen, says it would take her two bus rides to get to the next closet supermarket. Houston At-Large Council Member Stephen Costello became involved in food access issues when a 75-year-old woman approached him following a community meeting and said her low-income neighborhood had never had a grocery store. Some states have responded by creating incentives to develop more supermarkets in food deserts. Pennsylvania has been a leader in providing incentives for supermarkets to locate in food deserts. The state committed $30 million in seed money to the fund: private investors from The Reinvestment Fund, an organization investing in community revitalization in the mid-Atlantic region, provided an additional $145 million. Some contend if a community can support a supermarket, the free market will take care of it without government prompting. Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Financing Incentive program is widely viewed as a model that has influenced similar programs in Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York. Farm carts and small neighborhood grocery stores once brought produce into densely populated areas. The result is a growing number of food deserts, or low-income areas located more than a mile away from the nearest grocery store, leaving residents with little or no fresh and healthy food options. Several communities across the US are tackling this issue by creating mobile markets.
Mobile markets are typically renovated trucks or trailers that carry fresh and healthy foods into urban communities. The People’s Grocery created the first mobile market in 2003 when they couldn’t afford to purchase a stand-alone store to bring healthy food into West Oakland, CA. Their renovated-postal-truck solution attracted attention and the concept has since spread to cities across the US that struggle with how to bring affordable, healthy food to low-income residents. Chattanooga, TN had an immediate need to create a mobile market when, in early 2012, a grocery chain closed twelve stores in low-income areas of the city.
John Bilderback, program manager for Hamilton County’s Step1 initiative, made the case for the Chattanooga Mobile Market using Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, mapping data. Community Commons offers the following Food Desert Data Map that can be used to create GIS data for your community. USDA designated food deserts in Louisville, KY overlaid with poverty and free and reduced lunch eligibility data.
Fork in the Road Market held a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $12,000 to buy their first mobile market truck. Baton Rouge, LA received a $1 million dollar Blue Cross Blue Shield grant that will allow them to roll out their first Mobile Market in 2013.

Lima, Ohio will start a mobile market in 2013 with funding through a partnership with the Greater Lima United Way, the YMCA and the Apollo Career Center. Categories Food Tags access to fresh food access to healthy food chattanooga tennessee chicago illinois disease prevention Farm to Fork food access Food Desert health disparity Kansas City missouri local food Louisville Kentucky madison wisconsin Oakland California st louis missouri Posted on November 29, 2012 by Michelle Windmoeller. I’m glad you like the article and it would be fantastic to see a bicycle-powered mobile market! Oftentimes there’s nothing but a bountiful array of chips, candy and soda; but maybe you’ll find a sparse produce section with some drab, overpriced fruit of mysterious origins.
Instead, food deserts usually include copious fast food restaurants, convenience stores and liquor stores, all making high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sugar foods readily available. The USDA and Michelle Obama are paying special attention to boosting the food systems in these undeserved neighborhoods, and numerous grassroots, community-based projects are popping up all across the country to promote greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The organization is working to secure funding to erect the People’s Grocery Market to provide healthy options for a community in desperate need. The USDA considers households more than a mile from a supermarket and without access to a car to be in food deserts, often with only convenience-store junk food for nourishment.
The places on this map are where people have been stranded — how walkable can your neighborhood be if you can’t walk to buy fresh produce? That would be unfortunate, since a lot of the answer is in better placement of the food itself.
Even the poorest and least walkable counties in CA appear to outperform most of the country. But, with this kind of land use model, where do you put even improved versions of smaller stores? Cities might contain a relatively low percentage of residents living in food deserts, but there are still a large absolute number of city people without ready access to food. In every dense middle- or high-income area in Manhattan, you’ll find supermarkets spaced 5-10 blocks apart, in addition to grocery stores that, unlike in poorer neighborhoods, sell fresh produce.
Drivers (most of them in SUVs and trucks) don’t notice bikes, and cyclists often ignore traffic signals and stop signs. The theory was that the lack of fresh foods caused obesity and malnutrition in poor neighborhoods. The story of being overfed and undernourished is a complicated one and should concern us all.
Perhaps her neighborhood in Houston isn’t the image most people have of a cracked, crusted, sunbaked region.
They buy snacks and other processed foods from convenience stores, which fuels diabetes and obesity. Large supermarkets generally have lower prices than smaller markets and convenience stores. The state established the Fresh Food Financing Incentive program in 2004 to increase the number of grocery stores in underserved areas in the state. By the time the project spent the last of its funds in 2010, the Fresh Food Financing Incentive approved 93 projects providing 400,000 residents with better access to healthful food.
Dwight Evans has been one of his state’s leading proponents of the incentive program.
It’s a public-private partnership that awards grants and loans for predevelopment costs such as real estate acquisition, construction or rehabilitation and infrastructure to eligible supermarket operators to locate in needy areas. The New York initiative provided a grant to a couple to open a new 16,000 square foot grocery store with a produce section even larger than the previous supermarket. Department of Agriculture has determined that a significant number or share of residents is more than a half-mile or a mile from the nearest supermarket in urban areas or more than 10 miles from the nearest supermarket in rural areas. All rights reserved (About Us).The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Oregon Live LLC.
Now liquor and convenience stores are the norm, carrying little more than highly processed snack foods and sugary drinks.
A mobile market may visit a neighborhood once a week or a few times a month on a set schedule. Within six months, a coalition of organizations created Chattanooga Mobile Market to meet the needs of residents. Louis based Farm to Family Foods mobile market is a food distribution enterprise that was started to support independent family-run farms. ChangeLab Solutions offers an online webinar detailing ways communites can fund their own ventures.
By bringing affordable, healthy food to the people, mobile markets are one way communities are solving their food desert issues.

Imagine if this and fast food joints were your only options for buying food — no Whole Foods, no Trader Joe’s, no Safeways, not even Walmart. The USDA defines a food desert as a low-income area where residents in urban communities live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery, and residents in rural communities, 10 miles away from them. Grocery stores that may have existed before in these areas have either closed or relocated to more profitable neighborhoods in the suburbs; and food retailers avoid building new stores due to unattractive business prospects related to neighborhood zoning, low employment rates, low income levels, and high crime. You might be able to do something about access to parks in order to encourage more physical activity, but the policies that encourage supermarkets and farmers’ markets to set up in poor neighborhoods are completely orthogonal. There are no small grocery stores in most places, and fewer small packages that are easy to carry on a bike — everything is super-sized. A survey conducted by Healthy Living Matters, a Houston initiative fighting childhood obesity, found more than half the children living in Kashmere Gardens are overweight or obese. It partners with private organizations to provide one-time grants and loans for the startup of qualified food retail stores. He said helping to fund supermarkets is important not only for the food it puts on people’s tables, but also for the jobs it creates.
Many mobile markets accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, payments or have subsidies that make the food affordable to people with little or no income. It created a win-win situation by bringing local produce to those that had little access to it before.
The site also features a wealth of resources related to bringing healthy food into communities, including permit ordinances for produce carts and a tool-kit on Creating and Implementing Healthy General Plans. Other funding sources for mobile markets have included these ideas. So, residents of these marginalized communities must travel to other neighborhoods to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, but with limited income, no car, and inadequate public transit to complicate things all the more. Here, Slate shows the preponderance of those households in Appalachia and the Deep South, and on Indian reservations.
When I expanded the buffers to 2.5 miles (an easy quick drive) most of the area was then inside the buffers. Even if a small grocery was built, most people are motivated by grocery prices over any other factors, and would not shop there. It is exhausting to walk across the store, past a bunch of non-food items that you don’t want to buy, to find the items you are looking for (Loblaws in Canada is particularly bad for this). Disproportionately, people living in food deserts tend to be low income and racial or ethnic minorities. Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as an area with few or no grocery stores providing access to healthful food choices. This promotes healthy eating, which helps fight obesity, prevents many diseases and contributes to childhood health.
Those startup costs include land acquisition, equipment financing, capital grants for funding gaps, construction and workforce development. In Kansas City, beans&greens uses a mobile market to expand their dollar-matching program for those on food assistance. Those who are unable to access healthy foods, either physically or financially, turn to what’s within reach: packaged, processed, and all around terrible food.
I attribute this to typical suburban development of the post WW II era, with single use zoning, and everything connected by roads.
There are people who live in their cars because they can’t afford both a home and transportation — how crazy is that? The Portland, Oregon venture My Street Grocery added a Meal Kit element to their mobile market by packaging all of the ingredients for a healthy meal into one kit that includes cooking instructions. They also don’t sell certain items, like corn tortillas without additives, parsnips, or fennel.
The selection isn’t really that much better than the small stores, because the big stores just stock 100s of every item.
Also the prices are really not that much lower than the smaller stores, it is rarely economical to shop at the big store if a smaller one is available given the cost of gas and time (even at minimum wage) unless you are buying a LOT of food. I think that if major chains got involved in building smaller stores, people would be willing to pay a bit more for convenience.

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