The accessibility of food in several neighborhoods in Chicago have become an area of concerning. A study conducted by Illinois Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights on food deserts suggest that “food deserts exist largely on the south and west sides of Chicago” (3). Food deserts are neighborhoods that have limited access to healthy food. This is an alarming problem because this issue is layered and affects out to multiple aspects of creating and sustaining a healthy community. A study conducted by Northwestern University reminds us that, “many health experts point to the importance of the availability of supermarkets, playgrounds and other environmental factors as key factor in reducing childhood obesity rates”(Paul 1). This problem affects us all; even Chicagoans fortunate enough to live in areas which offer healthy food choices on every corner.
Fixing this problem can be done with the help of a two-step system. The communities can start by creating a weekly farmers market. This immediately provides a way for members of the community to access locally grown vegetation efficiently and affordably. Furthermore, this plants the seed of community sustainability in the younger members of the community. It also opens up discussion for improving the community in other ways. The second step involves the introduction of healthy supermarkets such as Whole Foods and Mariano’s to the community. The supermarkets must understand that they are invested in the community, not simply the bottom line. These changes will alleviate many other problems associated with a lack of healthy food sources. The Changing Metabolism of Cities suggest that “understanding the flow of nutrients through the urban system is vital to successful nutrient management strategies and urban sustainability” (Cuddihy, Engel-Yan, Kennedy 54). Our politicians must be supportive of the corporations who chose to invest in the areas of our city that lack healthy food. This change will help lead the way for the new generation of children to believe and more importantly, be a part of the sustainability movement. Whole Foods’ co-chief executive, Walter Robb is correct when he vowed that the construction of a Whole Foods store in Englewood is “one of the most meaningful things we’ve done as a company”.