City Explores Ways To Provide Access To Healthy Food

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.

"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."

Full Story: A long haul just to get their daily bread



Take a look across the pond...

If corner grocery stores abounded here as they do in Europe, it would be great. They offer fresh food, vegetables, fruits, and regular grocery items in a small (3K - 5K sq ft)space (no large 100,000 sq ft spaces needed, with requisite football fields of parking) for great prices. Why they got Billa's and Tesco's and we get 7-11, I will never know.

Economy of Scale, Start-up Costs, and Auto-Centric Dev'pt.

Economy of Scale and Start-Up Costs are two of the major reasons that the difference exists.

Unifying efforts of neighborhood initiatives (preferably as cooperative business relations) would go a long way towards dealing with the former, but not with the latter.

Also, many European environments were built before the automobile. Therefore, the village centers exist in which to locate local food shops, bakeries, etc. Chances are that the local shops you write about have been extant for generations and are owned outright by the proprietors. You see a little more of this type of entity back east in the US where there was more building before the automobile.

Renovating the "drivable suburban" environment to include village centers which could house such neighborhood shops would be prohibitive from a cost standpoint significantly aggravating the problems associated with start-up costs.

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