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Food Deserts

A lack of access to enough affordable healthy food is one root cause of hunger.

A Food Desert is a low-income area where a significant number or share of residents live more than 1 mile from a supermarket in urban areas and more than 10 miles from a supermarket in rural areas. There are more than 340 food deserts across 80 counties in North Carolina.

Low income neighborhoods often face fewer grocery stores and almost no sources of local fresh vegetables.  Residents in low income neighborhoods, especially the elderly, often lack transportation to drive to grocery stores. For example, Glenwood Towers, a home for low-income elderly, sits in the middle of Raleigh’s upscale Restaurant Row on Glenwood South, and has no grocery store within walking distance. Imagine having little income with no nearby grocery store, AND no transportation!

Food Deserts in the Greater Triangle

Click here to explore the N&O's Interactive map of food stores and food deserts.

Click here to explore the N&O’s Interactive map of food stores and food deserts.

The majority of the food we grow in the United States is grown in rural areas, yet paradoxically, those same regions suffer from some of the highest levels of food insecurity. While rural unemployment is similar to that in urban areas, the median income in rural areas is lower.  More info on Rural Hunger.

Lack of transportation options also makes it more difficult  to get to grocery stores, for adults to access work-force development programs,  and for children to access out-of-school meal services at after-school and summer programs.

Learn more and take action

The NCGA currently has a House Committee on Food Desert Zones. Check out their meeting notes here.

There are also some grassroots projects developing to combat the food desert in Southeast Raleigh. Check out Fertile Ground Food Cooperative here.

Learn more about the issue and how you can lend your voice to help end hunger here.


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