A food desert is an "area in the United States with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly such an area composed of predominantly lower income neighborhoods and communities" (2008 Farm Bill, Title VI, Sec. 7527). In urban areas, residents of these neighborhoods tend to be of lower socio-economic status and often do not have access to a car. A recent report to Congress found:
Of all U.S. households, 2.3 million, or 2.2 percent, live more than a mile from a supermarket and do not have access to a vehicle. An additional 3.4 million households, or 3.2 percent of all households, live between one-half to 1 mile and do not have access to a vehicle.
— Public Transportation to the Kroger from John Henry Hale Homes [ link » ]
— Walking directions to the Kroger from John Henry Hale Homes [ link » ]
'Food Deserts' in the Metro Nashville area.
- Click on a neighborhood to view area grocery stores -
Source: Manna-Food Security Partners/ Dr. David Padgett
These areas may also have plenty of access to fast food restaurants.
In 2009, Community Food Advocates developed a map of Nashville’s food deserts, overlaying locations of fast food outlets and supermarkets.
Click map for larger view
Dr. David A. Padgett
Geographic Information Sciences Laboratory
Tennessee State University
Some neighborhoods have come up with creative solutions including a "Mobile Market" and community gardens as a way to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to families without good access to grocery stores.
To learn more about Food Deserts read:
Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food—Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress, June 2009 [link]