Last semester I took a course about food injustice and insecurity, and I learned about the politics, policies, and management of our food supply. Before taking this course I was utterly unaware of the term “food deserts.” I am now a staunch believer that your geographic location determines access and availability to nutritious food. Food deserts exists everywhere, from urban to rural areas of the United States. There are even some deserts nearby Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Many food deserts form in economically impoverished areas after the collapse of an industry.
The video I watched from the PBS News Hour documents one food desert in the Mississippi delta region. The news anchor preempted the segment describing the connections between obesity and geography. Obese people suffer from malnutrition. While they may be receiving caloric food, they are not ingesting the right kinds of food that enable the body to properly function and thrive.
In a food desert like the one described in the video, finding a place to buy fresh food is like “finding a needle in a haystack.” The citizens of the town lack access to grocery stores, for the municipality provides no transportation to the nearest grocery store 3 miles away. Additionally, many people have no cars. Furthermore, the town lacks nutritious food availability. When the reporter was in town the only place to get food was at a convenience store, McDonald’s, or a gas station.
In this town, farmers use the rich soil areas to grow commodity crops that are shipped out of the area. The everyday person forgets how to farm, however; grassroots efforts are initiating change by starting community gardens and teaching the kids of today where their food comes from and how to grow it.
From this news clip and my previous course I learned that eating healthfully is expensive, time-consuming, and something I oftentimes take for granted. Your geographic location should not determine whether you can or cannot attain healthy food to fuel a healthy life. I attribute much of my health to my access and availability of healthy food and great healthcare. Michelle Obama’s efforts to eliminate food deserts in the United States take strides in the right direction to provide citizens with what they need to live a prosperous life.