Food deserts appear when there are no fresh fruits, vegetables and the like in low-income neighborhoods. In this video, you can learn more about food deserts and in some ways, people are combating them.
Take a glimpse at the Sacramento’s own healthy food movement taking rounds from the Sacramento Harvest organization. This event brought many people together to work and go out to pick trees for fruit.
Sacramento alone has many areas with food deserts. Food deserts are places that don’t have affordable grocery stores within a one-mile radius. We discuss this on-going issue in this video.
Currently one in every four people in Baltimore do not have access to a full supermarket, due to the inaccessibility of supermarkets and low income, citizens have had to settle for less nutritional meals and sometimes no meals.
Thankfully the city of Baltimore is taking action to open new doors for the less fortunate families that cannot access large supermarkets. These actions include: free lunches at school for students, after school food programs, and most recently, tax breaks for grocers.
How could tax breaks be helpful one may ask, well it’s quite intriguing actually. Grocers can potentially have 80% of their property tax deducted, in some instances that can save an upwards of $100,000 annually.
As a result of so much money being saved ,store owners will be able to purchase more nutritional food, improve store quality, and even expand store size. This would bring healthier groceries into neighborhoods and provide citizens with the ability to purchase groceries closer to home.
“The tax break would be nice. It feels good being able to provide people with healthier foods instead of eating fast food,” says Michael Plasencia, a manager for Harvest Foods, a local Sacramento grocery store.
These methods from Baltimore potentially could be very helpful to its citizens; So, what would happen if we brought these same tax breaks to Sacramento? Well, unfortunately the impact wouldn’t be as significant only because Sacramento does not have as many families living in poverty as Baltimore, but this does not mean there would be no improvements.
Still, everyday in our own city some people do not have access to grocery stores. These tax breaks would allow corner stores in our city to improve their selection, quality and size. Also, these tax breaks wouldn’t have as substantial of losses as it does in Baltimore due to Sacramento having a lower population of poverty stricken families.
So ideally, the tax breaks in Baltimore would benefit any city, some more then others. Hopefully many other major cities with high populations of families in poverty follow in the footsteps of Baltimore, as it could potentially save lives and benefit the youth of our nation in many ways.
Local residents share their concerns about access to healthy food and lack of grocery stores in food deserts. These areas are usually lower income neighborhoods with limited to no grocery stores within a mile of a household. This makes it more difficult for people to maintain healthy diets and get the nutrition they need. To see the interactive USDA map of food deserts visit: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx
Recent studies show that wealthier countries have higher obesity rates, and this proves true with the economy growing hand in hand with increasing obesity in India and China. The United States is considered one of the wealthiest countries and to also have one of the highest obesity rates in the world.
An article on Poverty and Obesity in the U.S. argues that poverty and obesity are associated for various reasons. One fact that is hard to ignore is that 43% of households with incomes below the poverty line ($21,756 annual income) are “food insecure”, which means they aren’t always sure where they will find their next meal.
To put this into a local perspective, Oak Park is a designated “food desert”, or an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good quality food. Food deserts have an absence of stores which provide fresh and healthy food or the only stores which offer fruits, vegetables and meat are far from homes and not accessible via public transit.
Raquel Hernandez, an Oak Park resident and Mexico native, finds it hard to get healthy food in Oak Park.
“I don’t drive, and sometimes I have no one to drive me to the store,” says Hernandez. “The closest place to get healthy foods is Food Source. That is a pretty far walk.”
There might be closer alternatives, but Hernandez doesn’t always feel safe walking to them.
“I’m elderly already and the only place (to get healthy food) is the WIC, but I don’t feel safe walking over,” said Hernandez. “There’s a liquor store right in front of it, I just don’t like walking alone.”
Hernandez also believes that obesity and poverty are linked.
“When I first got here I had nothing at all, but I could go to any fast food place and get myself a burger for practically nothing,” recalls Hernandez. “The same can’t be said about a salad or about an orange juice.”
Hernandez knows that she is responsible for what she eats, but her dietary choices have caused her huge health issues.
“I know no one forces me to eat anything, but since I don’t have a lot of money I usually buy the cheaper things to eat. This has caused serious health issues for me. I have blood pressure and heart problems. Things I didn’t have while in Mexico.”
The City of Sacramento is the home to over 470,000 people, which makes it the 6th largest city and California and the 35th largest city in the U.S. The recent unemployment rates in California were 10% for the entire state, and 13% in Sacramento County.
Some of the average annual wages for individuals working in Sacramento are $55,800 for an elementary school teacher, $44,300 for a sales representative, $23,300 for a fast food employee and $35,200 for a customer service representative.
Many jobs in Sacramento are unionized, represented by organizations like the American Postal Workers Union, the American Federation-Teachers Union, United Transportation Union and the California Nurses Association. However there are jobs that are unionized like those at Fresh & Easy and Wal-Mart.
Sacramento is also very well known for it Government and State jobs, but is sometimes over looked for their attributes to the growing field of green jobs. The Green Capital Alliance is a partnership and organization with a goal to support the Sacramento Region’s clean technology economy. Sacramento Valley Vision also has a goal of making cleaner technology to further improve today’s economy. Both of these organizations are examples of the many jobs and works being offered in the advancements of greening Sacramento.
Lastly, Sacramento has a food culture that is constantly growing. However, when it comes to having access to healthy resources many zip codes fall short. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), areas around Meadowview, Fruitridge road and 21st avenue are considered food deserts. Food deserts are areas where healthy food and resources are highly scarce or nonexistent. These areas are usually filled with fast food restaurants and liquor stores. But with the opening of many local farmers markets in the food desert areas hopefully we can see a change in the health of our Sacramento citizens.
For more information about Sacramento City Data, Food Desert Locators Valley Vision, Green Capital Alliance or Local Farmers Markets please check the links bellow.
Tahoe Park Neighborhood, are you aware that you’re living in a food desert?
The USDA has identified Tahoe Park Neighborhood as a food desert on its food desert locator.
Residents of Tahoe Park Neighborhood, your neighborhood has little or no access to large grocery stores that offer fresh and affordable foods needed to maintain a healthy diet. Instead, your neighborhood contains one grocery store, many fast food restaurants and convenience stores.
Tahoe Park Neighborhood only has one grocery store in the region, the Tallac Village’s Grocery Market. Those who live nearby could shop at ease; however, it could be worrisome for those who live farther away. It is a struggle for the elderly Tahoe Park Neighborhood residents to shop for produce.
“I live far from the Grocery Market,” says Tommy Frank, an elderly Tahoe Park Neighborhood resident.
Residents who are unable to find means of transportation can lack access to fresh food.
“I am 67 years old,” says James Moor, an elderly Tahoe Park Neighborhood resident. “I have no way of transportation to other grocery stories besides the grocery store nearby in the Tallac Village. I walk there since its close, but if my son has the chance to take me to the farmer’s market, I would shop there for a week’s’ worth of food to avoid shopping at the grocery market. The fruits and vegetable isn’t much at Grocery Market, and to be frank, it’s boring there. I don’t get to meet new people and have a variety of fruits and vegetables to choose like the farmer’s market.”
Most residents agree that it would be nice to have a farmer’s market nearby.
“I think it’s great,” says Tahoe Park Neighborhood resident Evelyn Johnson. “I think the high school nearby (Hiram Johnson High School) has huge parking lot that farmers can use as a market on weekends when the school isn’t in session. Creating a farmer’s market location nearby can help out my neighbors and me. “
Take the initiative Tahoe Park Neighborhood residents, and start a garden. Create an organization that offers the elderly transportation to the local farmer’s market on weekends. Make a difference in your community.