Urban Fold

Atlanta’s Food Desert Problem

An estimated 500,000 residents of the Atlanta area live without access to grocery stores. A recent article asks the obvious question: “Why can we build multimillion-dollar highway systems and multibillion-dollar stadiums but not more grocery stores?"

“Indeed, more than half a million people in the city of Atlanta and the ten counties that surround it live in neighborhoods the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies as food deserts,” writes Rebecca Burns in a thoughtful and broad examination of the food desert problem in Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs.

Perhaps surprisingly, food deserts expand well into the suburban surroundings of Atlanta: “You don’t find these nutritional wastelands only in places like Bankhead; it’s even harder to get fresh, healthy food in the suburbs. In Cobb County, 75,000 people are food desert residents, as are 124,000 in Clayton.”

Moreover, “Getting fresh food isn’t only a problem for the poorest Atlantans. Areas most of us would hardly consider underprivileged—the middle-class suburbs of DeKalb County or the gentrified enclaves around Grant Park, for instance—are labeled 'low access' by the USDA, meaning at least a third of the people who live there have to travel a mile or more to get to a grocery store.”

Full Story: Stranded in Atlanta's Food Deserts

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