Community Agriculture Development and Jobs Act: A Proposed Solution to Food Deserts
“There can be no sustainable world without sustainable cities.” (Deelstra, 2000) This applies to many aspects of a city, but what is more important than the topic of fresh food? Sustainable foods will be the foundation of the wellbeing of a community. We not only need these nutrients to support our bodies every day, but it also supports the wellbeing of a society. So why are we ignorant to how many cities are lacking fresh food? The high concentration of food deserts in the United States has gone unnoticed, especially in Detroit, Michigan. In the city of Detroit, researchers have developed concern and acknowledged the lack of fresh food available since 1997 (National Research Council). Since then, they have found that highly concentrated poverty stricken areas are receiving inadequate help from the government via food stamp programs and city food policy and distribution. Our agricultural system parallels the “mono-crops” we grow. “American farm policy and corporate mergers have created powerful agribusiness giants with dominant market shares—corporations that control virtually every of segment of the industrial food system.” (food and farm bill, 2012). Similar to the dominant monocrops that are limiting the diversity of species and crops grown in the U.S., our conventional way of farming has outcompeted all other food growing techniques even though it is unsustainable. Since we have realized that one systematic way of feeding the nation is not working, we must establish a variety of growing systems that accommodate the diverse and multifarious forms of societies and communities by geographic location.
Detroit, Michigan is considered one of the worst “food deserts” in the United States. Due to the layout of the car-cultured city and high population of low-income residents, the more expensive healthy food options are difficult to acquire. Many of its residents are unable to attain the proper nutrition because many are carless and can only walk to fast food joints, dollar stores, and liquor stores. Detroit is a city that has suffered from major economic downfalls, deindustrialization, major job-losses, racial segregation, and inadequate food programs, which have all indirectly contributed to the formation of the food desert currently located there. “Over half a million Detroit residents live in areas that have an imbalance of healthy food options. They are statistically more likely to suffer or die prematurely from a diet-related disease, holding other key factors constant.” (Marie Gallagher Researching and Consulting Group). This food imbalance needs to be recognized in order to prevent upcoming catastrophic health issues.
Poverty has proved to go hand and hand with food insecurity. The rise of low-income populations due to unemployment combined with how food has become a more significant component in family budgets has left us with a clear solution. If...