City Explores Ways To Provide Access To Healthy Food

<p>Seattle's new local food initiative will try to help provide access to health, fresh food in neighborhoods that are a long walk or bus ride from a supermarket.</p>
May 1, 2008, 12pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"With two new supermarkets anchoring planned condo buildings, industry standards would say West Seattle has reached a saturation point for grocery stores.

Tell that to Maggieh Rathbun. To buy fresh food, the carless Delridge resident has to spend hours on the bus or climb hills as steep as ski jumps.

It's easier to find fried chicken gizzards than a piece of fruit in the quickie marts lining the 3-mile Delridge Way corridor.

That's one of many Seattle neighborhoods that University of Washington researchers found have no access to a grocery store within a 30-minute bus ride. In wealthier single-family areas, such as west Ballard or along Lake Washington, walking to buy food often isn't easy.

That makes it hard to combat climate change and create a more livable city. For lower-income residents without a car, poor transit access to grocery stores can be an immediate barrier to healthful eating.

"It depends on what kind of day I'm having with my diabetes to decide whether I'm just going to make do with a bowl of cereal or try to go get something better," said Rathbun, 55.

After passing a local food initiative this week, the Seattle City Council joined other cities in weighing how strongly local governments should promote access to healthy food for all residents."

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Published on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 in Seattle Post Intelligencer
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