New Tool Improves the Search for Food Deserts

The USDA's new Food Access Research Atlas provides a handy guide for assisting policymakers and planners in finding the urban and rural areas with the most formidable obstacles to accessing fresh healthy food, reports Nancy Shute.

"The atlas, which is a big upgrade from the USDA's 2-year-old Food Desert Locator, is intended as a tool for state policymakers, local planners and nonprofit groups concerned about food access," says Shute.

"'People can get a more detailed picture of exactly what challenges they encounter in getting to the grocery store,' says Paula Dutko, an economist for the USDA Economic Research Service who helped craft the atlas."

"Food deserts have been a hot target of healthy-eating efforts, including Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign," adds Shute. "But as programs zero in on improving access, they're finding that bringing in farmers markets and grocery stores doesn't necessarily mean that people start eating better."

"So as our colleague Dan Charles has reported, efforts are now also working on lowering costs, consumer education and marketing."

Full Story: How To Find A Food Desert Near You

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
$24.00