Food Deserts

Delainey Root, MVC Writer

There are places called food deserts all over the world. The USDA identified 6,500 food deserts between 2000 and 2006. They also estimate that 23.5 million people in the US live in food deserts.
A food desert is an area in which people have little to no access to healthy and fresh foods. The USDA defines a food desert as an area that has a poverty rate of at least 20% or a median family income below 80% of the median family income in urban areas. To be considered a food desert an area must also have little to no availability to supermarkets. The USDA states that in order to be qualified as a food desert in urban areas at least 500 people, or 33% of the population, must live at least one mile from the nearest grocery store. In rural areas, at least 500 people or 33% must live more than 10 miles away from the nearest large supermarket.
People living in food deserts have more difficulty eating healthy diets and tend to depend on fast food. In food deserts, there are higher rates of obesity, more cases of diabetes, and other weight-related health conditions. There is also a limited amount of affordable health care facilities in food deserts. This is also a large contributing factor in the rapidly declining health of people living in these impoverished areas.
However, there are people striving to help people living in such conditions. The Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program assists food projects to help low-income communities gain more access to healthy foods. The Fortville area has multiple places where residents have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
People all over the world struggle with sustaining a healthy and nutritious diet. These conditions cause many health issues to people living in these conditions as part of their everyday life. At least 20% of Indianapolis residents live in a food desert.The Indiana government approved a $600K project for a grocery store project in Indianapolis to address food deserts in the area.
Even though food deserts are a constant problem for people all over the world, there are many people trying to help make the situation better for people living in these environments everyday.