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What are food deserts and food justice?

Have you heard about food deserts or the term food justice? These topics deserve more attention and are something that we want to bring some awareness to, and there are ways you can get involved as well.

What Are Food Deserts?

According to The Food Empowerment Project, food deserts are areas where residents have very limited access to healthy food options, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables, or they have no access due to the fact that there are no grocery stores within a reasonable distance. 

And, this is a much bigger problem than many of us may think. According to reports, there are roughly 2.3 million people who live over one mile away from a grocery store and don’t have access to a car. This can make getting groceries a challenge. 

Food deserts make it difficult for residents in these areas to have a real choice over what they eat. And not only do food desert neighborhoods not have easy access to grocery stores, but they are known for having an oversupply of fast-food chains. 

There’s a lot more we can do about food deserts and making healthy and nourishing foods available to everyone. 

Keep scrolling to learn about what food justice is and how it plays a role in helping provide everyone access to nutritious food. 

What is Food Justice? 

According to Footprint.com, food justice can be defined as “a structural view of the food system that sees food as a human right, and addresses structural barriers to that right.” 

When looking at food justice, it’s about looking at the available resources of both nutritious but also culturally-appropriate foods. Plus, it’s about looking at ownership of land and is often talked about alongside environmental justice. 

It’s about looking at access to healthy foods but also talking about the environmental issues that are present, such as manure runoff and noxious dust, which can lead to major health risks in those who live in areas with these environmental problems. 

What You Can Do 

There are things we all can do for both of these issues. 

  • Consider buying from farms with food justice certifications. 
  • Support food justice organizations. 
  • Educate yourself on the history of race & the food system. 
  • Get involved with local communities to support food deserts. 
  • Getting involved in your local community to help in increasing access to local farmer’s markets or CSAs. 
  • Showing your support to entrepreneurs in the food industry. 
  • Participate in food system planning in your local community.


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