Although we have discussed a huge array of topics so far in class for us to blog about, I recently just learned in one of my other classes a new type of justice that I would like to mention. Up until a few days ago, I had never heard of this, but I found it to be very interesting. Food deserts and Food Justice are two new trending topics that are happening all over the country - here in Minnesota, as well. The definition of a food desert is as follows: "a commonly used term to describe communities with little or no access to healthy food, including fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and diary products". Unfortunately, we are currently living in one of the top nine food deserts in America. Think about it, how far does one have to walk in order to get to the nearest grocery store? Well, for me personally, living just outside of Dinkytown, the closest "grocery store" to me is House of Hanson. There, you'll find that the number of sodas and processed foods largely outweighs the number of "fresh" meat and produce--shall I also mention, that I would NEVER want to purchase any of the "fresh" meat and produce anyway. I'm sorry, rotten fruit is just not my thing. Just to put the concept of the food desert into prospective, on my walk to House of Hanson to pick up bread and lunch meat to make myself a sandwich, I would pass (or at least see) Subway, Potbelly, Jimmy John's, Erbert and Gerbert's, McDonald's, Five Guys, and Annie's (just to name a few). Or, who knows, I just might change my mind and decide that I'm too lazy to make the sandwich, and stop at one of those places. The food deserts are just another way to enable the ever increasing obesity rates, and also what leads to me to the concept of food justice.
Many of the food deserts tend to be in urban areas, were the income of families is very low. How fair is it that children in these food deserts end up eating diets consisting McDonald's and drinking Kool-Aid? They and their parents can't help that basic groceries cost way more than the trip to the closest fast food restaurant. Neither can they help the fact that the closest food mart to them only has mainly pre-packaged foods and sugary drinks. There are many individuals and groups that are trying to gain more awareness of the need for food justice. These individuals and groups are promoting growing, selling, and eating their own grown fruits and vegetables in their communities. All in an effort to try to make it easier to obtain healthy foods at lower costs.
I had never really though about this "Food Justice" before. But I really think it makes sense. It was also really surprising to me that over half of the areas in Minneapolis are considered food deserts and over one-third of the areas in St. Paul are food deserts. It's pretty sad to think about, but hopefully these food justice groups and activists help to make a change in our communities.