What is a Food Desert?

A food desert is an area where there is no easy access to fresh food. You might find a fast food restaurant or a convenience store there, but no fruits, no veggies, and no grocery stores. In some food deserts, there are supermarkets, but they are not affordable for most people that live there.

Without access to nutritious foods, residents in these places become prone to diabetes, cancer, obesity, heat disease, and premature death. They are overfed, but undernourished.

23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in food deserts. These areas exist in both rural and urban areas in all regions of the country:

  • Within Detroit city limits, there are hundreds of liquor stores but only forty supermarkets. As a result, about 70 percent of people living there are obese or overweight.
  • Only 2% of food stores in South Los Angeles there are supermarkets. Only 1 out of 10 adults living in South Los Angeles get their recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.
  • In the Lower Mississippi Delta, one supermarket must served an area of almost 200 square miles. Residents there have to drive 30 miles or more from home to store.