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Mapping out our country's "food deserts"

fresh produce stand.jpg

Living in an urban area, with a produce stand less than a block away and a Safeway just up the street, it's hard to imagine not being able to buy fruits, vegetables and other fresh food. But in 2009 the USDA found (.pdf) that 2.3 million households (2.2 percent of total) are located more than a mile from a supermarket and without access to a car.

The concern, of course, is that limited access to fresh (and healthy) food can lead to poor diets, which can, in turn, lead to obesity and other health problems.

Slate recently posted a map showing the location of these so-called "food deserts;" the highest concentration of the households is in the south and on Indian reservations. It's scary, sad stuff. And DCStreetBlogs' Tanya Snyder makes a good point when she discusses the problem and writes:

What Slate is calling a food desert, you could also call an unlivable neighborhood, where even residents’ most basic needs - like access to healthy food - are denied.

Via @preventioninst
Photo by AnnieGreenSprings

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