Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Battle Against Food Deserts Intensifies

In March I wrote about a woman, Beatriz, who lives in the food desert of the South Bronx yet didn't let that stop her from buying better-quality (and cheaper) food for her family.
"Instead of shopping at her neighborhood’s overpriced and lacking Pioneer supermarket, Beatriz, armed with newfound knowledge and confidence, took her shopping cart and food stamps on the subway and traveled 30 minutes from Mott Haven’s food desert to the Upper West Side’s food embarrassment of riches. (Fairway, Trader Joe’s, West Side Market, Whole Foods and Zabar’s are within a one mile stretch.)"
Realistically, though, not many people are going to make such a trek, exacerbating the cycle of poor nutrition and health (which taxes us all, literally) that exists in our rural and urban areas.

Which is why yesterday's announcement by The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) that "leading grocery retailers have committed to bring healthy, affordable food to nearly 10 million people over the next five years in the form of new and expanded stores in areas that desperately need them" is so important.

Walgreens may not be known for gourmet food products, but if the company converts or opens "at least 1,000 food oasis stores across the country over the next five years" that sell fruit and vegetables, this benefits society as a whole, especially when we consider that:
"Currently, 23.5 million Americans live in low-income areas that lack stores likely to sell affordable and nutritious foods. Of these 23.5 million, approximately 11.5 million are individuals living in households with incomes at or below the 200% poverty line, and 6.5 million are children."
Click here to read the entire PHA press release.

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