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#food access

A map of food deserts in Minnesota

An Oasis in the Desert

University of Minnesota Duluth researcher Adam Pine has been researching the “food deserts” in the Duluth communities of Lincoln Park and Morgan Park. Food deserts are typically low-income neighborhoods that have relatively poor access to healthy and affordable food.

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First garden update of 2017!

Spring came a bit early this year in Florida after an extremely mild winter. It’s not much for aesthetics yet, but I’m excited to think what it’ll become in the next few months. I expanded a few feet and still working on improving the soil composition, but I’ll definitely be growing some fruits and veggies starting this month. For the meantime, I got some cover crops going. I thought buckwheat was a wide-growing plant so I planted seed in rows thinking it would fill in the spaces. Whoops lol. But the cowpeas from last year reseeded themselves which works out perfectly. I’m gonna add my pineapples into the ground next week and then put in a little section of flowers for the bees. And I can only hope I’ll finally be able to get a hold of some fruit trees this year.

Here’s to changing the world, a few seeds at a time.

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Right now I am literally procrastinating on writing a reflection for a “Healthy Food Access Project” for class, because I really want to watch “Fed Up,” a documentary about the food industry’s role in our obesity epidemic.

Yes, I am a huge food justice nerd.

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I grew up in what would technically be a “food desert” by that map.

While there can certainly be other barriers and transportation problems in rural and semi-rural areas? It seems a lot more useful to look at access to fresh foods in terms of proximity to “grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers” when you’re talking about urban areas. (Also “heavy on local quickie marts”? Not so relevant to lower population density areas.)

There are lots of other ways to get fresh veggies and fruits, out in the sticks. If you aren’t able to grow them yourself, people keep bringing bags of them to you. You don’t really need farmers’ markets when you have the farms and a bunch of produce stands. Other things you need to buy at grocery stores can be more of a limiting factor, if you’re having trouble getting to the store.

There are plenty of other problems that do exist, with transportation and access to various things. But, a lot of the problems are usually not the same between urban and (semi-)rural poverty. Different settings, different ways inequality manifests–with some different ways of addressing it required.

And I do get frustrated sometimes, at how rarely this seems to get addressed.

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Food Access and Diet-Related Disease in NYC | Meg Davidson 

New York City suffers from unreasonably high rates of diet-related disease. Over 58% of NYC adults are classified as obese, representing over 3.4 million people with body mass indexes (BMI) of 30 or more.  These high rates impact not only quality of life but also have a tremendous public health cost.  In 2014 in New York State, insurers spent $11.1 billion to address obesity and its attendant illnesses.  

This is an undeniable epidemic nationally, and a growing crisis in public health in NYC specifically.The cause of the surge in obesity and diabetes is clear: poor nutrition leads to increases in body mass.  It is beyond question that food is the vector for these diseases, however the means by which food of poor nutritious quality enters into the distribution chain invites additional research.  

This analysis seeks to determine the correlation between diet-related disease prevalence and food access points.  The first section examines the potential correlation between density of highly nutritious retail food options and lower rates of diet-related disease.  The second analysis acknowledges that for the 1.4 million New Yorkers who are identified as food insecure, at least some of the household food supply is obtained via the free distribution of meals and groceries distributed by NYC’s network of emergency food programs.  

Project Slides

Project Methods

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Bitler, Marianne, and Steven J. Haider. “An economic view of food deserts in the United States.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 30, no. 1 (2011): 153-176.
…how people fit grocery and food shopping into their daily activities and travel patterns, how these activities and patterns expose people to food environments outside of their neighborhoods, and how this may affect their shopping and diet
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