Food Deserts: What's the Deal?

          Food deserts. The first time I heard about this was quite recently. I searched the term up on the internet, and what I found was pretty self-explanatory. Food desserts, as defined by the USDA, are, “... parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers” (1). The inner city of Detroit is facing one of the worst food deserts in the United States. How can one even begin to talk about the rebirth and renaissance of the city of Detroit when the populations of the city have easier access to unhealthy fast foods than fresh fruits and vegetables? How do we expect our great city to ever rise from its’ ashes if the people that live in the area are being robbed of what should be considered a universal human right – access to fresh food and vegetables.

            Groups from all over the area have brainstormed to help out with Detroit’s food desert. Community gardens, local farmer’s markets, and charities have popped up in hopes of helping the more than half a million of residents who do not have access to fruits and vegetables (2). Peaches and Greens is one such start-up, a standalone produce market located in inner city Detroit. Their goal is, “...to be an agent of change creating a community of choice. We desire to meet the real needs of our community in such a way that we see the community restored and made whole and as a result people will take pride in their community and desire to stay there” (3). While providing local populations with fresh produce throughout their store, they also drive around a truck loaded with fruits and vegetables, wandering the streets the same way an ice cream truck does. The initiative has been well received by the residents, as they do not have to take long drives just to pick up a few groceries. NPR has done a story about Peaches and Greens back in 2010. You can listen to it here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131000846

Food disparities in Detroit are a major issue, especially for those that are living under the poverty line. MedEq plans on bolstering this healthy eating initiative by leading nutrition workshops for inner-city residents, starting up a mobile food pantry to amply provide healthy foods and teach the importance of nutrition at Detroit Public Schools. Hopefully, with this plan of action in mind, we will be able to combat this growing phenomenon and increase the well-being of the citizens of Detroit. 

References: 

1.     http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts

2.     http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131000846

3.     http://peachesandgreens.org/

/* */