Combatting 'Food Deserts'

<p>Chicago struggles to overcome its battle with "food deserts" -- areas in the city with little or now access to groceries.</p>
November 11, 2007, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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"Supermarkets followed middle-income families out of urban areas and into the suburbs 40 years ago, said Andy Fisher, executive director of the Community Food Security Coalition, a Los Angeles-based non-profit dedicated to helping low-income people get better access to nutritious food. But, indeed, the situation is steadily improving: grocers are returning to city neighborhoods that are gentrifying."

"A few grocery store chains are opening stores in under-served neighborhoods, but residents often disapprove of them as sub-par."

"Indeed, Chicago is considered a leader in trying to overcome its food desert because of Retail Chicago's efforts to attract grocers to underserved areas, and a groundbreaking city ordinance that bans 'restrictive covenants' that would prevent grocers and drugstores from moving in when major rival chains move out."

"Witherell said he finds it ironic that residents object to value-oriented grocers offering fresh produce and foodstuffs where nothing would otherwise exist."

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Published on Friday, November 9, 2007 in Chicago Sun-Times
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