Finding ways to bring greater access to food and more food buying choices to Michigan residents living in "Food Deserts" is a challenge that enters into all sorts of conversations at both the government and community engagement levels - from discussions about city planning strategies, to business development efforts, to urban agricultural initiatives, to a variety of non-profit and community-based outreach projects happening right now. It's a good time to familiarize yourself with the term and the complexity of issues surrounding how lacking access to grocery stores and healthy food options negatively impacts not only human health but the health of neighborhoods.
Research consultant Mari Gallagher has studied "Food Deserts" in Detroit, and I found her report, "Examining the Impact of Food Deserts of Public Health in Detroit," on Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity's website, which also features other food related information for you to browse. If you are more interested in hearing what the impact of "Food Deserts" is straight from the mouths of people living in them, take a look at this older Detroit News article, from 2007, which reported on grocery store closing in Detroit. This article, "Grocery closings hit Detroit hard: City shoppers' choices dwindle as last big chain leaves," includes a lengthly discussion about some of the issues related to the lack of food choices in Detroit, and it features public feedback from people who are personally impacted.
I don't live in a "Food Desert," but when I hear about people living in these areas - mostly low-income, economically depressed neighborhoods - I try to sympathize and understand what it must be like for them. I think of my frequent trips to the corner gas station, which is the only convenient place within walking distance to run to the store for things like trash bags, paper towels, batteries, and cat food. I don't compare my lack of convenient dish soap options to the lack of food choices plaguing many people in places like Detroit - "Food Deserts" are a much more serious issue. However, it makes me think about how lucky I am that the corner gas station isn't the only place nearby that I can buy food.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info