From Breadbasket to Food Desert

The rural Midwest produces much of our nation's food supply, and yet small towns in the heartland and around America are increasingly and ironically becoming food deserts - places where citizens have little access to fresh, healthy foods.
January 25, 2011, 5am PST | Rebecca Sanborn Stone
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The term "food desert" might conjure up images of inner-city Detroit or L.A., where the only groceries are Twinkies at the mini mart. But urban areas aren't the only places where access to fresh, healthy food is an issue.

Steph Larsen writes: "The paradox of our unhealthy food system is that many rural towns lack healthy food access, even as the food we eat is grown in rural places. To put it simply, our current food system is failing the very communities that grow our food."

Small towns might only have one grocery store, if they have one at all. The next town - and the next store - might be fifty miles away, with no public transportation.

Larsen points out a number of linked issues that fuel the problem - poverty, race, geography, community support, the economy, land tenure - and a handful of ideas and solutions.

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Published on Saturday, January 22, 2011 in Grist
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