For our Issue Brief, Elliot and I are going to be considering the widespread prevalence of food deserts and unequal access to healthy food choices. Food deserts are defined by the USDA as “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas.” These are typically seen in low-income, urban areas, where residents primarily have access to fast food restaurants, rather than fresh foods and produce from adequate supermarkets. This is so problematic because of the distinct link between food deserts and obesity. As distance from a supermarket increases, the risk of obesity also rises. Likewise, at-risk families within these regions are also receiving less nutrients, which would commonly be found in the fruits and vegetables they are unable to acquire. Therefore, poor food choices can ultimately be the difference between a well-lived life and potentially fatal health concerns.
Part of our inspiration for this topic came after an in-class activity this past fall. When considering public speaking practices, we watched the TedTalk, “A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA”, by Ron Finley, which sparked our interest in small, yet tangible impacts that can be made to alleviate the problem of food deserts. The talk stressed that a solution will need to rely on community participation. Food deserts are found to be intrinsically tied to urban areas. Therefore, one of the best ways to fix the problem is implementing urban gardens in areas classified as food deserts. This holistic approach is a simple way to bring fresh produce to underserved populations, while also providing the opportunity for economic growth for local farmers. Even more, urban gardens can help to educate future generations about healthy lifestyles, and increase community pride. In discussing both food deserts and urban gardens, we hope to bring an alternative to the current scene of unhealthy eating, and demonstrate our knowledge and experience of food insecurity issues.