Food Deserts

By Amy Chen |

A food desert is a place where fresh foods, specifically fresh fruits and vegetables, are not available and/or not affordable. These locations are almost exclusively in low income neighborhoods, where money and transportation can be a serious impediment to their ability to gain access to these fresh foods, especially if that food is not covered by programs like SNAP or WIC or if the nearest grocery store or fresh food market is not in the nearby vicinity of home or work. For example, in DC of 43 full service grocery stores, only 7 of these are located in wards 7 and 8, which make up about a third of DC’s land distribution, and 1 in 7 DC households are food insecure (citation). Policy for this issue can be focused at the campus level by looking at food insecurity on campus, the local level to address increases in healthy cornerstone initiatives, the state level to incentivize new grocery stores, or the federal level dealing with SNAP or WIC programs.