Food Deserts & Urban Sustainability

Throughout history, communities have consistently struggled to have equal access to clean water, natural resources and healthy food. According to Good Food: Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on the Public Health of Chicago , residents of food deserts- large geographic areas with no distant grocery stores- face nutritional challenges evident in diet related community health outcomes.” For this reason, it is vital that urban planners and government officials begin to consider ways to reintroduce clean, fresh and healthy foods to members of communities all over the Unite States.

While is this a public health concern that should be considered, one could argue that food deserts are an inevitable side effect of rapid urbanization. According to Urban Transitions: On Urban Resilience and Human- Dominated Systems, “urbanization is a global multidimensional process paired with increasing uncertainty due to climate change, migration of people, and changes in the capacity to sustain ecosystem services”. In other words, urbanization is one of the main contributors to trends that have created disparities similar to food deserts. Although urbanization is not the only contributing factor, it is significant to consider the ways in which urbanization impacts public health.

When looking at this issue, the best plan of action would be to build and fund more stores with fresh, unprocessed foods. “In January 2013, the Chicago Plan Commission implemented the citywide plan “A Recipe for Healthy Places” that will support: building healthier neighborhoods, growing healthy food, expanding healthy food enterprises, ensuring residents can eat well regardless of income, providing healthy food and beverage choices, and improving eating habits”. In essence, rethinking the way in which cities are built and food is distributed is  vital to the depletion of this health hazardous issue.

Ultimately, this plan would be beneficial because could lead to the improvement of human health. If consumers have access to affordable and fresh foods, they will be more likely to adopt this mindset in all aspects of life. For example, opening someone’s perspective to the importance in consuming natural products and responsibly using our planets natural resources, may increase the likelihood that they would want to become sustainable in other facets. Essentially, if people are less concerned with their own personal health, they may be more inclined to care about issues like sustainability.

-Tyreece Williams

Sources

https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/urban-resilence-and-human-dominated-ecosystems_ernston-et-al.pdf

https://www.agr.state.il.us/marketing/ILOFFTaskForce/ChicagoFoodDesertReportFull.pdf

http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2013/august_2013/ayor_emanuel_announcesreleaseoffooddesertdataandnewinteractiveef.html

 

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