Food Deserts? Is That A Typo?

Food deserts in the U.S.? Is that a misspelling?

Areas Of High Poverty With Little Access To Fresh Food

No, a food desert is an area of high poverty with little access to supermarkets or other sources of fresh food.

The term was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and earlier this month they released a “food desert locator,” which you can see by clicking here.

10 Percent Of U.S. Census Tracts Are Food Deserts

What’s alarming is that, using these criteria, about 10 percent of the 65,000 U.S. census tracts are food deserts, containing 13.5 million people, 82 percent of whom live in urban areas.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the locator is designed to “help policy makers, community planners, researchers, and other professionals identify communities where public-private intervention can help make fresh, healthy, and affordable food more readily available to residents.”

Low-income areas are defined as: “areas where at least 20 percent of the people are at or below the federal poverty levels for family size, or where median family income for the tract is at or below 80 percent of the surrounding area’s median family income. Tracts qualify as ‘low access’ tracts if at least 500 persons or 33 percent of their population live more than a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles).”

Credit To Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign

Is this concept a result of  First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign? If so, her ideas about food and poverty are truly making a difference.

Go, Michelle!

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Photo Credit: marksdk via Creative Commons

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Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elisabeth M.
lis Gunn4 years ago

Food deserts - FastFood jungles. Whatever happened to home cooking of food? With our ever increasing frenetic lives, we no longer entertain at home; no longer shop or cook at home; no longer know how to cook.
Some of us still make time to offer hospitality - food, drink and intelligent conversation at home, without the need to dine out and (perhaps drink too much) in order to catch up with family and friends.
Perhaps the answer lies in educating our kids in how to (grow our vegies) shop and cook and not following the herd ( Have you as a parent "But everyone else ....." ?) With food sustainability now a matter of international concern, we have to think about how and where our food comes from, and whether our over reliance on fast food in time-poor food deserts can go on for much longer. Perhaps the health implications of these fast-food junkies will kill them quick.

Antoinette H.

i appreciate how urban schools and communities are developing community gardens to provide fresh vegetables.

Cesar V.
Cesar Villanueva4 years ago

why are chips cheaper then an apple...even more disgusting is the fact that a bottle of Coca Cola is cheaper then a bottle of water in certain African countries

Eileen Novak
Eileen Novak4 years ago

Why the disparity?

Jenna Corbett
Jenna Corbett4 years ago

Thanks for sharing :)

Shirley E.
Shirley E.4 years ago

There's so much lunacy about the way our food is distributed! Most of us have access to food from all over the globe and yet others in the developed world live in these so-called food deserts. I guess it's why the majority of the population live in towns, so they've got access to amenities including supermarkets. Presumably if people live out in the sticks they have room to grow their own ...

Beth M.
Beth M.4 years ago


gerlinde p.
gerlinde p.4 years ago

i think ms obama is doing a good job,

Monica D.
Monica D.4 years ago

I hope that this situation will be remedied quickly so that everyone can have easy access to good food. I have heard that community gardens are starting to make a difference in some areas. I am all for that!