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UN - SDG #2: Zero Hunger - EEI & ICED: Food Deserts and the End of Hunger
In recent years, the concept of food desert has come to dominate research and policy debates around food environments and their impacts on health, with mounting evidence that low-income neighborhoods of color lack large supermarkets and therefore may have limited access to fresh,affordable, and healthy foods. We argue that this metaphor, which implies an absence of food, is misleading and potentially detrimental to the health of poor and racially diverse communities because it ignores the contribution of smaller stores, particularly that of so-called ethnic markets.Current applications of the food desert concept in this setting reflect classed and racialized understandings of the food environment that ignore the everyday geographies of food provision in immigrant communities while favoring external interventions. Our investigation of ethnic markets in City Heights, a low-income urban neighborhood in San Diego with a diverse immigrant population, offers evidence of their positive role in providing access to affordable,fresh, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods. Our results contribute to research by providing a nuanced description of the food environment beyond access to supermarkets, focusing specifically on immigrant neighborhoods, and pointing to ethnic markets as valuable partners in increasing food security in diverse urban areas.
You do if ... you live in an area where healthy food is either non-existent or too expensive. This is likely to be the case if your only 'local' food shopping option is a supermarket, and you have no'good small independent local.shops, farmers' markets or box schemes serving your area.
There are food deserts all over Britain, in rural as well as urban areas. 'It's not just a matter of there being no shops,' says Elizabeth Dowler, a sociologist at Warwick University. 'Often there are shops. But these tend to be meagre, run-down shops which sell little or no fresh food.' For example, a recent study of Sandwell, West Bromwich, found that around 90 per cent of the households in the area were within 500 metres of shops that sold junk food and fizzy drinks; less than 20 per cent of the houses were within 500 metres of a shop selling fresh fruit and vegetables. This can be attributed largely to the steady increase in the number of supermarkets in Britain since the 1970s and the commensurate decline in the number of independent grocers. Around 80 per cent of food shopping is now done in supermarkets, compared with less than 50 per cent 25 years ago.
The article discusses the move by the Rhode Island Department of Health's (RIDOH) Center for Food Protection to address the related issues of food wastage and hunger in the state. The growth of awareness about the connections between food waste disposal, wasted edible food and food insecurity is noted. The partnership of RIDOH with college interns to create the Rhode to EndHunger Initiative is cited. The role of outreach in increasing awareness about the initiative is also mentioned.
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