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Detroit: No 'Food Desert'

James Griffioen debunks the myth that his hometown is in want of grocery stores.
January 29, 2011, 9am PST | Lynn Vande Stouwe
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Griffioen says he is accustomed to journalists making "sensational claims" and spreading "damaging falsehoods" about Detroit, but he is particularly perturbed by the notion that Detroiters can't find fresh produce without driving to the suburbs. He goes on to catalog the numerous local chains, independent stores, urban agriculture operations and large-scale farmer's market that serve the city's residents.

While many of Detroit's neighborhoods are indeed impoverished, says Griffioen, perpetuating the myth that the city is a "food desert" does nothing to solve the problem.

He writes:

"Sticking a pristine Whole Foods or even a Super Wal-Mart in these neighborhoods is not going to somehow solve the dietary issues poverty has created among their residents or provide jobs without displacing others. Those are incredibly complex problems and simply spreading hyperbole about a uniform lack of shopping options across a 138-square-mile city does nothing to solve it. Detroit does have individuals and organizations working hard to solve the problem of access to produce where it exists, and their efforts are often ignored by a media obsessed with the myth that Detroit has no grocery stores."

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Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 in Urbanophile
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