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Better Health for Food Deserts: Are Mobile Farmers Markets the Answer?

Farmers markets on wheels may just be the new trend to solve the lack of nutritious, fresh food in food deserts around the nation.

An innovative way to tackle the obesity epidemic comes on four wheels, as mobile farmers' markets are working to solve the lack of nutritious, fresh food in food deserts around the nation.

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Voices From a Food Desert: Bayview-Hunters Point, San Francisco, CA

voices from a food desert in a San Francisco neighborhood


By most measures, San Francisco is experiencing boom times. According to the 2010 U.S. Census median household income is $72,947, and it ranks fourth in the country for highest cost of living. But San Francisco’s bounty is not distributed evenly, and this disparity is apparent as you cross Highway 101 into the section of the city known as Bayview-Hunters Point. This four-square mile corner in the southeastern part of San Francisco has a median household income of $46,025,with one in five individuals living below poverty level. More pointedly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified this slice of the city as a food desert, which are defined as low income areas with limited access to healthy, affordable foods.

This designation doesn’t mean that residents of Bayview-Hunters Point can’t find local restaurant and markets. On Third Street, the area’s main commercial strip, there is a Taco Bell/KFC combo, a McDonald’s and Walgreens; at Third and Donner Avenue, there’s a recent and welcome addition: Fresh & Easy, a chain grocery store that sells fresh produce. So it’s clear that the term food desert doesn’t paint a complete picture of this food landscape.

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This three-part series on food deserts is brought to you by GOOD with the support of Naked Juice

The Woodlawn section of Chicago’s South Side is not technically one of the city’s 23 neighborhoods designated as a food desert. However, those who live in the neighborhood, where more than 30 percent of households live below the poverty level, will tell you a different story: the grocery stores that are within walking distance do not have fresh fruits and vegetables.The few that do may not be affordable, and it’s just as difficult to get healthy produce as it is in South Side neighborhoods, which are officially designated food deserts by the USDA. “My husband and I had been living in the neighborhood for 20 years, and we couldn’t find any stores that carried fresh produce to shop at,” says Connie Spreen, executive director of Experimental Station, a cultural community group in the neighborhood.

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Swapping Hot Cheetos for Whole Wheat Bread: A Corner Store Redesign

In Philadelphia, the poorest and most obese big city in the nation, nearly half the kids in low-income neighborhoods shop at corner stores twice...

In Philadelphia, the poorest and most obese big city in the nation, nearly half the kids in low-income neighborhoods shop at corner stores twice a day. Researchers found that kids spent about a dollar and consumed roughly 340 calories at each visit, typically in the form of soda, chips, and candy. That’s 700 calories worth of junk, every day, five days a week.

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