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Unfortunately, a major agricultural problem that America is facing is food deserts. These are areas where people lack access to fresh food; unfortunately, we see this predominantly in Black communities. In the U.S. alone, 6.1% of our population deals with this.
Until this problem is resolved, you can take a few steps to ensure your family’s health and well-being.
1. Stock Up
Because of food deserts, families are forced to drive to neighboring cities to grab food supplies that should be available in their own areas. Nonetheless, one great way to not feel like you are lacking resources is to bulk up on as much healthy food as possible. While fresh food doesn’t last that long, healthier foods like canned vegetables and frozen fruit can last for weeks (at least). Stocking up will minimize the overall number of shopping trips you make and provide a daily nutritious food source. It is also a cost-effective method; you just have to make sure you are budgeting each month.
2. Fast Food
Food deserts have more fast food chains than grocery stores. Many people in a food desert have to rely on fast food more often because of a lack of access to fresh food. But not all fast food restaurants are the same and many have healthier options on their menu. Research the products that they are selling. You might be surprised to find some viable healthier choices. Look for lower sodium options, grilled lean meats vs. fried, natural or less sugar drink options, menu items with fresh whole foods, and plant-based alternatives.
As Clark Atlanta University’s motto says, ‘I’ll find a way or make one’! Invest in your health by creating your own garden inside your home or backyard. Not only are you growing healthy food on your own, but you are in control of where your food is coming from and ensuring its purity. Produce in grocery stores is exposed to many people and can be grown with many preservatives. Better to be safe than sorry.
4. More for Me
Cooking bigger portions while located inside a food desert is actually a great idea. Because you are cooking meals that can last for several days, you are minimizing the need for going out and getting more supplies, thus saving money and maximizing on only eating healthy products.
It’s better to eat a nutritional meal for a few days and go to the grocery store once a week instead of running out of supplies mid-week and relying on unhealthy local foods to get you through.
5. Speak Out
Want to make the world a better place? Well, it starts with you. Be a voice in your community. Make it clear to your city/state that your community does not deserve to fend for themselves in a food desert. Take to social media and make your voice heard!