What exactly is a food desert? Where are they located? Is there a chance that you could be living in one?
To answer the first question, a food desert is a place where it is difficult to find fresh, healthy food at an affordable price. They’re usually located in urban and rural areas that are impoverished and an unreasonable distance from the nearest grocery store.
If you are living in one, you would know it. You would be living off of food bought at bodegas and fast food joints. If you need to actually figure it out, check out this interactive map. It’ll show detailed county or city locations of food deserts across the United Sates.
It’s not a coincidence that the areas with lower incomes are the areas with more food deserts. A huge part of this has to do with the subsidizing of really crappy junk foods. A two-liter bottle of soda is legitimately cheaper than a gallon of water. This article shows that people living in lower income neighborhoods eat subsidized food more than any other type. Because of this, people are eating their entire calorie count for one day in a meal.
Cheap calories don’t fill up and last as long as people hope they would. When was the last time you could say you were full for five hours after eating McDonalds? Probably never.
The problem is that people don’t have the means for anything besides McDonald’s or junk food. This can be fixed by having more supermarkets, fresh food at street vendors in impoverished neighborhoods, and creating more grocery stores in those same neighborhoods. There is an answer to how to fix this problem, we just need to do it.
By Kate Sahagian