What do you think of when you hear the word “poverty”? Most people would say “the homeless” or “someone without a job”. But poverty goes beyond financial areas. In fact, a necessity of life, like access to clean water and fresh food, is something those more fortunate may take for granted, and unfortunately is a crippling component of poverty. There are millions of American citizens who lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables. You heard that right – millions. Not abroad in some far away country, but right here at home in our very own cities. These citizens live in what is called a “food desert”This term may not be well known, but it is a very prominent socio-economic issue in our society. Food deserts exist all over the United States. Food deserts are situated in our established cities, oftentimes very close to the urban downtown core. Nationwide, people are struggling with economic mobility while obesity rates continue to rise. Could there be a correlation between the two? Studies show the more supermarkets in an area, the lower the obesity rates. It is important to raise awareness about food deserts so actions can be taken to address and alleviate this socio-economic issue.
What exactly is a food desert?
A food desert is an area where there is a lack of places that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, usually defined within one mile of driving. Food desert residents have to travel miles to reach a grocery store stocked with fresh fruits and veggies, and many do not have a personal vehicle.Public transportation provides those without a vehicle access to a grocery store, however with changing bus routes and walking, sometimes it may take several hours to travel to the store and back home.
Where are food deserts most prominent?
Research shows that food deserts are common in low-income areas. There are currently 23.5 million Americans that are living in food deserts, and the number continues to grow. Of the 23.5 million, 6.5 million are children. Children are born into food deserts without access to healthy food to start eating clean and healthy. The worst urban food desert in America is said to be New Orleans; this is highly due to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
It is important to keep yourself informed about what is happening in the world around you. Is there a way you can make a difference? Don’t wait, start today. Stay informed and spread the news; empower and educate yourself and your community so others can be helped. And, if you’re interested in growing food, become a Fresh Start Kit owner. Every Fresh Start Kit purchase donates a Kit to a family in a food desert. Give the gift of growing so you can empower someone to overcome their geographic hurdle and help them learn how to grow food. Together, we Grow Food | Grow Community.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mohandas Gandhi