Friday, May 6, 2011

Food Deserts

Food deserts to me are an important 'issue in urban economics' that I thought connected nicely to the idea of community gardens. A food desert is a low-income residential area with little or no access to supermarkets or fresh food. Often, when a community garden is built, vegetables and herbs are planted so that residents can have access to affordable fresh foods. So they're useful and pretty!

Here's a recent CNN article with a link to a new, interactive 'food desert locator', and here's some more info on how some local organizations in Detroit are creating small urban farms to remedy this situation.


  1. I was glad to see that the food desserts in michigan and surrounding states are relatively small. i did notice that in the west, the areas get larger. I was surprised that how much of the us is considered a food desert.

  2. I think that what they are doing in Detroit is really cool. Not only is the food from the farms beneficial, but they are also trying to create jobs through farming which addresses another important community issue.

  3. Here's a quote from an unrelated article, but it quantifies the scale of the problem in Detroit:
    "Detroit also suffers from a tremendous dearth of even the most basic neighborhood amenities. In 2003, the city of 900,000 inhabitants had only five grocery stores (none of which was owned by a major chain) with more than 20,000 square feet — the standard size of a modern supermarket. Based on its population, it could support 40, but no one’s building. How can people be expected to live a walking lifestyle when they have a difficult time buying food?"

    5! that's so few. I come from a pair of sister-towns with a combined population of less than 8,000 and we have at least 3 full service grocery stores. What I'm really wondering about though is why the market hasn't filled that need? What's the cause of that failure, because it definitely isn't simply that people don't know there's a supply shortage.

    Here's the article for the quote:

  4. Community gardening has many many benefits, I agree with Kailey.

  5. Local farming is not strongly supported in the urban areas which has caused decrease in local farming. As a result, many areas in the urban city do not get fresh food. Community garden is a really nice initiative to increase production of fresh food in local market.