9
   

Food Deserts (one "s")

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 08:52 am
This is something we've talked about before, but usually in the abstract, I thought this was a good snapshot of the issue:

Quote:
So often when we look at America's weight problem it's seen as a series of choices: if people just choose fruits and vegetables over fried food and fat that would solve the problem. But millions of Americans live in places where access to fresh food simply doesn't exist, including thousands in northeast Ohio. ideastream®'s Eric Wellman reports.


http://www.wcpn.org/WCPN/news/30314/

Excerpt:

Quote:
Rembert: My name is Annie Rembert and my age is 85.

Rembert lives in a low income apartment complex for seniors just off of Broadway. Dave’s the nearest full service supermarket is a couple of miles away. She and her neighbors used to take the free community circulator there all the time. But late last year that service went away in a round of RTA cuts.

Rembert: There ain't no bus that goes to Dave’s no more. I have to pay someone to take me.

Rembert, who lives on a very limited income, says she pays a driver $10-$20 to take her on the short trip. Her neighbor Yvonne Richmond says technically it is possible to get to Dave’s by bus...but....

Richmond: Fleet to miles, catch the 50, go to Harvard, walk up to Dave’s and get...how much...you can’t carry but so much.

What’s ironic is that places called food deserts have among the highest rates of obesity in the country.
 
alex240101
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:05 am
@sozobe,
More excuses not to eat healthy.

Yes, a bit more difficult to purchase healthy items, but, with a little planning, healthy goals can be easily obtained.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:07 am
@alex240101,
Well, no.

Not easily.

Possible, but not easy.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:15 am
@sozobe,
I get it.

Very interesting.

No healthy meals on wheels in the USA?
alex240101
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:20 am
@sozobe,
Hm. Not excuses for everyone. Elderly, among others, difficulties even with walking.
Two miles may be a stretch.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:21 am
@dlowan,
Or delivery by the supermarkets?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:25 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I think those exist some places but not in the places being talked about here, the food deserts.

There are programs to try to address the problem in the works:

Quote:
The food desert issue has garnered attention on a national scale. The Obama administration has pledged 400-million dollars to help attract grocers to under served areas in the form of tax breaks, low interest loans and other incentives. Pennsylvania has done just that. Mark Winne is the author of Closing the Food Gap. He says Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative could serve as a national model.

Winne: It’s developed over 70 supermarkets both in rural and urban areas and along the way was the creation of 45 hundred new jobs.


(from the same article/ report.)

jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:33 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Delivery can cost -- it depends on the store.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:35 am
@sozobe,
I've known about these for years, haven't seen it where I've lived lately, but then I don't know my present city as completely as I knew Los Angeles. South LA used to be famous for this, having miserable bus transportation and few if any regular grocery stores. That was back then, it may be different now.

I also noticed that stores that did exist in borderline poor areas had dismal produce sections in contrast to stores elsewhere - but that is just anecdotal, from my own experience.

Anyway, when I read that article, I wasn't the least surprised.
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 10:47 am
Getting fresh foods to low income or elderly is the job of food cupboards, co-ops and churches IMHO.

Transportation is a real issue, here. But so is the menu culture of many people. They want carbs covered in ketchup.

Overheard last week: A doctor talking about patients and payments, "and you know, Medicaid recipients are the worst patients. They are the most uncompliant and difficult to work with on their own healthcare."

0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 11:08 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Where I live, food delivery at one store is free with purchase over $75. A lot of people don't have the funds to spend that much in one go. It is one of the last remaining grocery stores in this part of the city offering delivery at all.

0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  4  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 12:13 pm
If you haven't seen a food desert you don't understand the problem. Take a trip to Brownsville, East NY or the South Bronx. Blocks and blocks of crappy urban housing, half of it burnt out or full of squatters and all around the area is dotted with little corner groceries full of crap and the worst of Hunt's Market (largest produce wholesalers in NY) To get decent food you have take a subway or bus, it costs money and it's hard to carry enough groceries by hand or pull cart for feed a family. There used to be a supermarket called M&M - it specialized in opening in poor areas. They constantly got violations for selling expired (rewrapped) meat and vegetables that looked like they were pulled out of a dumpster. They had a big sign outside about taking food stamps and they would run specials on the worst food the day people got their stamps. They also had those check cashing services that charge a large percentage of the check. There are NO banks in these neighborhoods.

It's easy to criticize poor people for not whipping up salads and baked chicken - or not following doctor's instructions. But the reality is they are trying so hard just to keep a roof over their head and something (anything) on the table that what seems like common sense to most people gets buried by their daily stress of just keeping alive.

0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 12:29 pm
These are places where a little community outreach effort by the city and some volunteers, some coaching, and a community gardening area could go a very long way in helping people obtain healthy vegetables and fruits.

These food deserts are the situations First Lady Michelle Obama was targeting with her White House Garden project. What people learn from these garden projects will last them a lifetime and not just the 10 minutes it takes to choke down a box of pre-fabricated food from the neighborhood grocery shelf or the county plastic cheese distributor.

Alice Waters has been working on this for decades, targeting school children, with a lot of success.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 12:33 pm
I like this project in Detroit that is reinventing the farm in the city:

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/27/nation/la-na-detroit-farms27-2009dec27
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 06:06 pm
Great thread idea, Soz!

Everything I thought of saying has been said. Happily I live in a rich food zone even though it is urban. Even so, several reasonably priced restaurants and small-scale grocers have disappeared in the last 10 years. I have two decent sized grocery stores within walking distance, a couple of lunch places and quickie marts that sells limited fruits and vegetables, and only several quickie marts that sell just junk.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 06:56 pm
@Green Witch,
One of the CBC radio news programs had a week of features on the farm in the city programming in Detroit. Interesting stuff.

I think I was mostly shocked by how the actual population of Detroit has declined.
0 Replies
 
Kimaya
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2011 11:05 pm
@sozobe,
I think its quite hard to get healthy food.
0 Replies
 
 

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