Do you live in a food desert?

800px-New_crops-Chicago_urban_farm

By Linda from Chicago, USA (New crops) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Being a Public Health major, there is a big emphasis on food deserts. Currently, there food deserts right here in the Near West Side. Did you know that? However, the further South you go, the more food deserts exist. These locations are predominately home to the minority populations. The lack of access to fresh and nutritious foods can lead to many potential health problems. Therefore, most people in these communities experience chronic health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

What can we do? The best course of action would be to increase urban farming in areas living in food deserts. For example, there’s an urban farm in the community of Englewood. During the week, I ride the Metra Southwest Service line, which runs through Englewood. Whenever I am on the train, I notice the abundance of abandon and condemned homes. All this unused land while people in the community are living in a food desert. However, Englewood does have an urban farm called Growing Home. According to Growing Home (2015), 30,000 pounds of organic produce was harvested, and 618 neighbors attended their healthy eating workshops, cooking and garden demonstration event (2015). Thus, having this farm in the neighborhood offered resident reduce fresh, healthy foods for a reduction of price.

This plan would be beneficial because it would create more food secure areas. Also, there is an economic impact in food desserts. According to Brown and Jameton (2001) “Since economic factors are undeniably the single most powerful predictors of food security, successful urban entrepreneur gardens could be said to benefit the nutritional health of a community indirectly by providing income and employment opportunities for low- income households and thereby contributing to their ability to purchase a healthy diet” (Brown and Jameton, 2001). Therefore, not only are they encouraging healthy eating, but they are creating economic opportunities. The benefits of urban sustainability are methods of food cultivation are low on energy and transportation. Therefore, foods don’t require transportation from countries to states and saves cost. Urban farming could be a solution to the abundance of food deserts in Chicago.

 

References:

Brown, K. H., & Jameton, A. L.. (2000). Public Health Implications of Urban

Agriculture. Journal of Public Health Policy, 21(1), 20–39.

http://doi.org/10.2307/3343472

Gallagher Research & Consulting Group, M. (2006). EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF

 FOOD DESERTS ON PUBLIC HEALTH IN CHICAGO (Rep.). Chicago, IL: Lasalle

 Bank.

Growing Home Impact at a Glance. (2015). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

http://growinghomeinc.org/docs/GrowingHome12-13AnnualReport.pdf

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One thought on “Do you live in a food desert?

  1. I believe that this is a very good point to bring up when talking about Public Health issues in Chicago! Having food deserts definitely hinders the ability for the community to be healthy. There is no use in educating the community on what they should and should not eat and about sustainability, if they are not allowed the chance to practice it in their own homes. I think that the food deserts are the fastest solution to trying to get rid of the food deserts. Although, the winter does pose a conflict to this solution, alternatives like green houses can be built as well, like you mentioned, there is an abundance of vacant land along with vacant homes, so space is really not an issue. Great blog!

    Like

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