Yesterday, I saw a post on Grist.com about food deserts in rural areas. Welcome to the Food Deserts of Rural America. The post is from January 22, 2011, so it is a little dated, but it is a very relevant topic. A food desert is any area that has limited access to quality or a variety of food. Many people think of urban areas when it comes to food deserts, but a growing concern are the food deserts popping up in rural America.
A big problem in rural America is the migration out of these areas. As people leave, so do the customers for local businesses. But what I feel is the biggest problem is the lack of quality food sources coupled with an aging population in these areas. As the age of rural residents increases and their access to transportation decreases, their options become less and less. I do not consider myself living in a food desert, even though I need to travel 20 miles to get to a grocery store, but the only option in our town is a small gas station. If I was a resident without access to transportation, my food choices would be packaged, pop, some frozen pizza and french fries, a few dairy items and MAYBE apples.
Our town is currently building a senior living facility, but I wonder if it is smart. Should we be concentrating a senior population, who may or may not be able to drive, in an area without access to quality food? Will there be residual consequences (ie health, etc) because of this?
Despite this I had the idea of possibly using our abilities on our farm to bring quality food to the facility. I only thought of this today and haven’t even looked into it, but maybe it will be a possibility to bring food (like a farmers’ market) to them.
What are your thoughts on rural food deserts? Do you live in one? If you live in a rural area do you have access to quality and a variety of food? Let’s continue this conversation. I believe everyone deserves access to quality food.
Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitterand YouTube.