The USDA has announced a new framework that aims to create a more fair, competitive, and resilient food system. This system builds on the existing work the USDA has been doing since 2021 to address supply chain and structural issues. The last few years have shown issues in our food system we didn’t know we had… from supply issues in 2020 due to the pandemic to the more recent struggles with food insecurity and shortages during Russia’s war with Ukraine. The USDA recognizes this, which is a big...
Food Deserts and How You Can Increase Access to Foods
Food deserts are defined by the USDA as “low-income census tracts with a substantial number or share of residents with low levels of access to retail outlets selling healthy and affordable foods.” In food deserts it is extremely difficult for kids, families, and communities to access foods that promote health and strength. There are many ways to prevent food deserts, but the first step is increasing access to c-stores, grocery stores, supermarkets, bodegas, farmers markets, etc.
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, food deserts are commonly found in areas with…
- Smaller populations
- Higher rates of abandoned/vacant home
- Residents who have lower incomes, lower levels of education, and higher rates of unemployment
Nearly 39.5 million people in the United States are living in low-income or low-access areas, according to USDA research. There are approximately 6,500 food deserts in the United States that are impacting 13.5 million people that live directly in these food deserts. That is a large number of people living with limited access to nutritious foods that are crucial to proper health and development.
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Researchers identify food deserts by factoring in a variety of things including…
- Access to food, as measured by distance to a store or by the number of stores in an area
- Household resources, including family income and vehicle availability
- Neighborhood resources, such as average neighborhood income and access to public transportation
How can you help?
- If you are a store owner, apply to accept EBT benefits
- Try to increase access to stores in these areas by encouraging improved public transportation systems
- If you are a c-store owner in a food desert, add more fresh foods to your inventory
- If you are a farmer, consider setting up a market or pop-up stand in these areas several times a month
- Get involved with your community to promote increased access to healthy foods in these areas and work to add more stores in the area and educate community leaders on the importance of access to healthy foods