Food Deserts

unnamed-2
Today more than ever, food growth, production, and accessibility are issues we must confront on a broad scale for health and survival. Making sure Wisconsinites have access to fresh food and water are pillars of this campaign. There is a great need for healthy food in some areas of Wisconsin, and there is a vast amount of food being thrown out. Did you know that approximately 5-30% of farm produce is discarded each year? Not because it is unhealthy to eat, but because it is “ugly-looking” or misshapen, so grocery stores won’t buy it. This campaign supports Family Farms and we see a tie here to help quell hunger in more urban areas while allowing Family Farmers to sell some of this unwanted but perfectly good produce. Let’s open more farmer’s markets in inner cities to alleviate problems associated with food deserts, which disproportionally affect communities of color. One way to help families whose SNAP benefits are insufficient while also helping farmers, is to allow farmers to sell this produce for 10% of the market value (they are typically paid 12-16%, so this would not be exploitative), then permit the sale of this produce from municipal offices in the state to SNAP families for about 15% of market value (the extra 5% would cover state labor excpenses associated with administering the program). SNAP families who bought this produce would see their SNAP benefits go more than six times as far as they would in a typical grocery store. It is important to remember that ethnic minority and low-income populations suffer from statistically higher rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other diet-related conditions. This happens in part because retailers of healthier foods can only profit in wealthier communities. Partnering with private charities and/or online retailers could be ways to help distribute these foodstuffs in food desert areas. Strengthening public transit and the SNAP program will help enable individuals to access food outside of their immediate area. Let’s try something new and make Wisconsin an example of sustainability and civility.

 

Foodpantries in Wisconsin