The people of the United States have a sense of consumerism and a sense of entitlement and greed, so much so that they no longer take what is necessary to live and leave it at that but they want more and more and can never get enough. They keep wanting to get more and more what it is said to be enough is always a little more then what they currently have. There are many problems with this, the foremost being that the more that the rich gain the poorer the poor seem to get,

The life-style made in the United States is the emulated by those who can afford it around the world, but many cannot. The economic fault lines that fracture the globe defy comprehension. The world has 202 billionaires and more than 3 million millionaires. It also has 100 million homeless people who live on roadsides, in garbage dumps, an under bridges. The value of luxury goods sales worldwide—high-fashion clothing, top-of-the-line autos, and the other trappings of wealth—exceeds the gross national products of two thirds of the world’s countries. Indeed, the world’s average income, about $5,000 a year, is below the U.S. poverty line. (Durning 373)

 

This idea of consumption and consumerism is even catching on around the world, “By one calculation, there are now more than 1.7 billion members of “the consumer class” today—nearly half of them in the “developing” world. A lifestyle and culture that became common in Europe, North America, Japan, and a few other pockets of the world in the twentieth century is going global in the twenty-first.” (Gardner et. al 413). In the words of William Wordsworth, “The world is too much with us; late and soon/Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;/Little we see in Nature is ours;/We have given our hearts away, sordid boon!” (Wordsworth 356). Because of this fact things like Grocery stores and similar places to get healthy food are being built in areas where people can afford to buy the food they need and not places where low-income and poor families live thus taking away the advantage of having healthy food for cheap and creating urban areas called food deserts.

A food desert is defined as “an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good- quality fresh food.” (Google).The USDA defines them as “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.” (USDA) According to a list of food deserts on the Business Insider, “Over 23 million Americans — including 6.5 million children — live in food deserts.” According to DoSomething.Org, “Approximately 2.3 million people (2.2% of all US households) live in low-income, rural areas that are more than 10 miles from a supermarket.” (DoSomething.Org). According to the food empowerment project,

 

In urban areas, access to public transportation may help residents overcome the difficulties posed by distance, but economic forces have driven grocery stores out of many cities in recent years, making them so few and far between that an individual’s food shopping trip may require taking several buses or trains. In suburban and rural areas, public transportation is either very limited or unavailable, with supermarkets often many miles away from people’s homes. (Food Empowerment Project)

According to Garrett Harding, “To live, any organism must have a source of energy (for example, food). This energy is utilized for two purposes: mere maintenance and work. For man, maintenance of life requires about 1600 kilocalories a day (“maintenance calories”). Anything that he does over and above merely staying alive will be defined as work, and is supported by “work calories” which he takes in.” (Harding 391). People need 1600 calories just for their bodies to maintain themselves, and because of these food deserts many people cannot get just these calories much less the calories they need to perform normal everyday tasks.

There are many examples of food deserts throughout the United States, most of them being big cities and other urban areas. One example being New Orleans, LA,

“According to change.org, some 60 percent of New Orleans residents say they have to choose between a buying food and paying utility bills. Researchers at the Congressional Hunger Center report that there are only 20 grocery stores in New Orleans, compared to 30 before Katrina, which means the average grocery store in New Orleans serves 16,000 people — twice the national average.” (NewsOne).

Many parts of Chicago, IL are considered food deserts, “An estimated half a million Chicago residents live in food deserts.” (Business Insider). Most of Camden, NJ has no access at all to fresh and healthy foods, “Incredibly, the entire city of Camden, NJ has only one supermarket. Also missing is an adequate transportation system to help people make their way to the single Pathmark in the area.” (Business Insider). Even parts of The Big Apple are considered to be food deserts,

“According to Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s team, the number of people living in food deserts is around three million. The USDA puts that number a lot lower, but they include corner stores with a deli counter (“bodegas”) as grocery stores. East New York is just one of many NYC neighborhoods without access to quality groceries.” (Business Insider).

Parts of Memphis, TN and the rest of the state of TN are food deserts,“According to the Tennessee Food Trust, almost 13 percent of the state’s census tracts are considered food deserts.” (Business Insider). There are many reasons that food deserts exist the top most being lack of supermarkets and because of this some of the the only alternatives available for people ho liv win food deserts are fast food and corner convenience stores.

 

In spite of the many food deserts throughout this country there are also many solutions to this problem. In the words of an article on Food Tank,

“Community garden initiatives are quickly popping up in both urban and rural areas, providing easy access to inexpensive, fresh produce. The American Community Garden Association (ACGA) provides resources for over 18,000 community gardens in the U.S. and Canada.” (Food Tank).

Also according to Food Tank, “Mobile markets and produce trucks have popped up in many underserved areas……. Garden on the Go, a produce truck initiative from Indiana University, makes 16 weekly stops, sells produce at an affordable price, and accepts EBT (food stamps), making access to healthy fruits and vegetables as convenient as possible.” (Food Tank). Another idea is health food corner stores,

 

“When Brahm Ahmadi was unable to engage the interest of private investors, he began selling stock directly to the public in order to fund a new grocery store. People’s Community Market will provide a full-service neighborhood food store as well as a health resource center and community hub to the 25,000 West Oakland residents that have limited access to fresh produce.” (Food Tank).

Community markets is another solution to the problem of food deserts. There are often permanent markets in the middle of communities in big cities, one example being Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, PA. Homeless shelters can be helpful in many ways as well. Homeless shelters often provide meals for not only those who are homeless but also for people and families who are low income. Food banks are also something that homeless shelters often provide as well. There are also often food banks by themselves in low income areas of big cities and urban areas.

Non-profit grocery stores can be a solution that can be helpful for those who can’t travel very far from their homes. There is even one in Chester, PA,

The folks in Chester, Pa., don’t have it easy. The community of 35,000 once had five supermarkets……The last supermarket in Chester shut down in 2001. Then, in September, Fare and Square opened for business. The 16,000 square foot operation offers discounts to people with income below the federal poverty level. Some 60 percent of Chester’s population has signed up for those discounts. Fare and Square operates as a non-profit and is funded by grants from government, corporations and other donors. (Food Dive)

 

According to Paul Conley healthy food vans can create a way from those who can travel far for food to be able to gain access to healthy food,

When the Pathmark store on Cherry Street in the New York neighborhood known as Two Bridges closed late in 2012, it left the area with few options. The community…..is home to a number of public-housing projects and large numbers of elderly people. Chinatown is nearby. And Chinatown is veritable paradise of healthy foods. But for elderly people a walk of a dozen city blocks can border on the impossible. So if the people can’t get to the food, why not bring the food to the people? That’s the idea behind the Veggie Van, the brainchild of local politicians and activists. The vans deliver bags of fresh fruit and veggies, priced at $10 a bag, to residents of Two Bridges who sign on as customers. (Conley)

As can be seen many big cities and urban areas in the U. S. are food deserts because they lack healthy food stores and grocery stores and the only food available to them is the highly processed foods from corner convenience stores and fast food joints and not getting the healthy calories that they need. Something needs to be done to change this and ways need to be made and created for healthy food to be provided to low-income and even high-income families and people living in food deserts. There are ways to do this such as community markets, food banks, community gardens, non-profit grocery stores, and healthy food vans are ways to do this, they are just not being utilized.

 

Works Cited

Conley, Paul. Food Dive, “5 Food Desert Solutions That Seem to Be Working.” 31 Oct. 2013, http://www.fooddive.com/news/5-food-desert-solutions-that-seem-to-be-working/188432/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017, Web.

DoSomething.Org, “11 Facts About Food Deserts.” https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11- facts-about-food-deserts. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017, Web.

Durning, Alan Thein. “The Conundrum of Consumption.” Literature and The Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture, Edited by Charles I. Schuster, 1st Edition, Addison Wesley Longman: New York, 1999, Pgs. 371-376. Print.

Food Empowerment Project, “Food Deserts.” http://www.foodispower.org/food-deserts/. Accessed 19 Apr. 2017, Web.

Food Tank: The Think Tank for Food, “Five Innovative Solutions From “Food Desert” Activists.” https://foodtank.com/news/2013/05/five-innovative-solutions-from-food-desert- activists/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017, Web.

Gardner, Gary, Erik Assadourian, & Radhika Sarin. “The State of Consumption Today.” Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application, Edited by Louis P. Pojman, and Paul Pojman, 5th edition, Wadsworth, Engage Learning: Belmont, 2008 Pgs. 412-431. Print.

Goldschein, Eric. Business Insider, “10 American Food Deserts Where It Is Impossible To Eat Healthily.” 12 Oct. 2011, http://www.businessinsider.com/food-deserts-urban-2011-10?op=1/ #lf-of-atlantas-many-poor-people-live-in-a-desert-4. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017, Web.

Google. “Food Dessert Definition.” https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome- instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=food+desert+definition. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017

 

Hardin, Garrett. “The Tragedy of the Commons.” Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application, Edited by Louis P. Pojman, and Paul Pojman, 5th edition, Wadsworth, Engage Learning: Belmont, 2008 Pgs. 388-399. Print.

NewsOne Staff. NewsOne, “America’s Worst 9 Urban Food Deserts.” https:// newsone.com/1540235/americas-worst-9-urban-food-deserts/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017, Web.

“USDA Defines Food Deserts.”American Nutrition Association, Nutrition Digest, http:// americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017, Web.

Wordsworth, William. “The World is Too Much with Us.” Literature and The Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture, Edited by Charles I. Schuster, 1st Edition, Addison Wesley Longman: New York, 1999, Pg. 356. Print.

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