Food Deserts: Do You Live in One?

Can you walk down to the grocery store and back? Are you less than a mile away from the closest grocery store that sells whole foods? If not, then you're living in a food desert. 

I used to live in one right in the area - Silver Spring, to be exact. The Snyder's Food Market was a 30 minute walk (that's an hour total) and there were no bus stops close to it. The closest was about half a mile up the road and that came maybe every 40 minutes if you were really lucky. It was a nightmare getting food every week - I'd have to either rent a Zipcar or pay to get groceries delivered. The vegetables and fruits the grocers picked were always subpar. 

Imagine living this way and being on a very limited income. 

According to the USDA, 

"Of all U.S. households, 2.3 million, or 2.2 percent, live more than a mile from a supermarket and do not have access to a vehicle. An additional 3.4 million households, or 3.2 percent of all households, live between one-half to 1 mile and do not have access to a vehicle."

Alexandria is very lucky in that most places are within walking or busing distance from a grocery store. In some parts of the country - or even in neighboring Arlington or Fairfax county - large swaths of areas are filled to the brim with McDonald's instead of farmer's markets. 

When we think about our kids and their future health, it's important to take into account their access to food. One of the criteria to a child who is "at-risk" is their health and access to healthy foods. 

Do you live in a food desert? If so, where is the closest grocery store?

If you know of an organization, or are a member of one, that helps kids in Alexandria gain better access to whole foods, apply to our Caring for Kids Grant Challenge!

Comments

More on food deserts at www.fooddeserts.org

Thank you for the information, Hillary!

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