Nationally, low-income zip codes have 30 % more convenience stores, which tend to lack healthy items, than middle-income zip codes. In hundreds of neighborhoods across the country, nutritious, affordable, and high quality food is out of reach- particularly for low-income neighborhoods. Full-service grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other vendors that sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods are not available. Instead the communities are surrounded by convenience stores and fast food restaurants that mainly sell cheap, high-fat, high-sugar, processed foods and offer few healthy options.
A 2009 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 23.5 million people lack access to a supermarket within a mile of their home. A nationwide analysis found there are 418 rural “food desert” counties where all residents live more than 10 miles from a supermarket or supercenter— this is 20 percent of rural counties.
Improving healthy food access for everyone is our number priority. We believe access to healthy food is a basic human right and work with your organization to revamp your approach to nutrition education, worksite wellness, and community outreach.
While food insecurity is related to poor food access, it isn’t always the cause. There are a variety of reasons a person can have poor food access. Barriers that contribute to poor access to healthy food include:
- Location of the grocery store
- Type of grocery stores
- Ability to cook or prepare food based on skill level, physical ability, age, and mental ability
- National crisis
- Food shortages