Where’s the Help?
In some communities, healthy food options are unavailable and people are forced to consume unhealthy foods as these options are cheaper and more available. Low income areas have disproportionate access to these unhealthy food options and need an escape. Gravitating towards fast food industries and unhealthy food options is not the only resort when it comes to finding affordable and available food sources. The absence of this can create a sense of food insecurity, limited access to adequate food. There is help to be given when a family or community is in need of healthy food options and are unable to obtain them on their own. When at a loss of this availability, community based programs exist where healthy food options are present with locally grown foods like various fruits and vegetables. These programs increase fruit and vegetable consumption of participants as a whole and reduce the frequency of the consumption of unhealthy foods (Dailey 2015). In addition, processes and public policy solutions are being implemented in communities where community food assessments are being used to improve access to healthy foods.
In some neighborhoods like Adams County, families without access to healthy foods, and are not eligible for food assistant programs, have the ability to buy healthy foods through a project called Healthy Options. Families with food insecurity can receive vouchers with a certain amount of money per month which can be spent at several farmers markets. The Painted Turtle Farm, located on Gettysburg College Campus, is also an organic food option for low income areas. As of now, the farm contains 30 plots where organic food is available for immigrant families to obtain if they do not have a strong sense of food security and to meet the needs of food justice in Adams County (Painted Turtle Farm).
In many communities of color and low income areas, studies show that food deserts are most commonly found in these communities. Grocery stores are located more than a mile away and are driven out by fast food restaurants that swamp communities with unhealthy food (Food Deserts). About 2.3 million people live more than one mile away from grocery stores and it is no coincidence that these are the areas where many people don’t have cars. It was found that wealthy white areas have three times as more grocery stores as poor ones do as well as less of an abundance of fast food restaurants selling low quality meat for an affordable price. Through the food empowerment project, sheds light on how small corner grocery stores get counted as full grocery stores even though most of them just sell alcohol and snacks. This can lead us to believe that even more communities are located in food deserts than is recorded.
Dailey, Amy B et al. “Healthy Options: A Community-Based Program to Address Food Insecurity.” Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community 43.2 (April 2015), 83-94.
“Food Deserts*.” Food Empowerment Project, 2019, foodispower.org/food-deserts/.
“Painted Turtle Farm.” Painted Turtle Farm – Gettysburg College, Center for Public Service, www.gettysburg.edu/offices/center-for-public-service/students/painted-turtle-farm/.