Today is the last day of Food Desert Awareness Month, hosted by the National Center for Public Awareness.
Food Desert defined:
A food desert is a large geographic area with no or distant grocery stores. Often, food deserts have an imbalance of food choice, meaning more nearby fringe food such as fast food, convenience stores, and liquor stores. While these communities are without enough mainstream grocers, many do have community assets, disposable income, appropriate sites for sustainable grocery stores, and talented community leaders working to improve healthy food options.
This is a super important piece in the broader conversation about food politics. As people get more aware about where their food comes from and what’s in it–folks in urban (or rural) communities that don’t have options for food purchasing get left behind. There are some really great projects to bring urban gardening and farming to low-income communities, as well as farmer’s markets and other fresh produce.
Ladonna Redmond has more to say in her article Food is Freedom in the Nation:
There are many Americans who have the resources to buy healthy food and still are denied access to it. This denial of access has created “food deserts,” a term I despise but use for the sake of argument. The trouble with the term “food deserts” is that it describes lack in a way that indicates that the solution is outside of the community labeled a desert.
To engage a broader audience, food-justice activists need to change their language.To change our food system, we need to change the way we talk about it.
There is a pervasive idea in the sustainable-food movement that simply returning to a food system of the past would right all that is wrong in the food world. However, history does not show that there has ever been a time when our food system was fair or just. Reflecting through my eyes, the eyes of an African-American woman, I see a system that from the earliest days of the founding of America was built on the annihilation of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans.
Read the rest here.