Re-Thinking “Food Deserts”

We have learned a lot through the Voices into Action project about how and why families purchase and eat the foods that they do.  I’m excited to share that some of that research has just been published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition.  In this article, we pay attention to the ways that residents of areas labeled as “food deserts” (areas where residents lack access to safe, affordable, and healthy foods) talk about what they eat, where they shop, and why.  This research demonstrates that price and cost matter a great deal to families who are living on a limited budget.  Contrary to several other studies of “food deserts,” which assume that peoIMG_5708ple shop at the stores closest to their home, our study found that people are willing to travel outside of their local community to find the best prices.  Additionally, we found that the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), was very important for families living in poverty. These findings on SNAP are particularly important as Congress and the White House head into budget discussions for the coming years.

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