As a child I remember the 71st Street fruit and vegetable markets. My elementary school hated pomegranate or plumograms (as some of my classmates called them)season because we would have stains all over the building. The markets carried all the greens, beans, tomatoes, etc. Also, their was a fish market "Market Fish",a local meat market "Mr. Ben's", Harold's Fried Chicken #2, our local version of a wholesale club "L&P Wholesale" and a Certified Grocers grocery store that sold the only black eye peas my mother would cook.
Fast forward to 2011, Mr. Ben's is closed, grocery store is closed, Harold's closed and most of the markets are closed and the one's that are open the merchants are rude and the quality of fruits and vegetables is spotty. L&P Wholesale is still operating and Market Fish is open but only carries the basics (Catfish, Silver Bass, Buffalo, etc) also there is a barbershop, and a couple of junky stores. Now for the last several years, we have been hearing this term "Food Desert" and it amazes me where and how this term got applied to my community.
What is a "Food Desert"? A Food Desert by definition a
ny area in the industrialised world where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain. It is prevalent in rural as well as urban areas and is most prevalent in low-socioeconomic minority communities, and is associated with a variety of diet-related health problems. Food deserts are also linked with supermarket shortage.
So I Googled the term and found the government has a map of known food deserts. I entered various addresses from the 6th ward and no area was considered a food desert.
Further, I drove down every major intersection 69th, 71st, 75th, 79th, 87th, 95th and there is a chain or independent grocery store within one mile and they are accessible by public transportation. So access to healthy foods cannot be used. In addition, there are several weekly farmer markets in the area.
So it appears that the issue is a matter of choice and/or an attempt by individuals who seek to enrich themselves by painting this grim picture when the truth is you eat what you want.