Food insecurity in the US

Food insecurity in the US

Beck Iannucci and Charlie Abt

Charlie and I had the pleasure of speaking with Juliet Smith about food insecurity and food deserts within the United States. When I asked Juliet about why she chose this topic, she told me it was to educate herself on such a significant issue for so many people. She stated: “Doing the project helped me teach myself more about the topic and it allowed me to explain it to people and put it into perspective for those who might not know how serious food deserts are.” As someone that didn’t know about this topic myself, I found her goal admirable. Most of us in Rye have not had to worry about food. Thus, we haven’t had to worry about how others obtain healthy food.

Juliet directed us to a 2019 survey that stated: “… 8.7% of households did not have access to a personal car. According to the USDA, an estimated total of 13.6 million Americans live in areas that are considered food deserts.” These areas are considered food deserts after it has a poverty rate of 20% or greater. The second way is if the area is “equal to 20% or a median family income not exceeding 80% of the median family income in urban areas, or 80% of the statewide median family income in nonurban areas.”

Juliet further explains the issue by stating: “… this issue has become prevalent due to companies and corporations trying to make as much money as possible. Supermarkets don’t want to build in low-income areas as they don’t think they’ll make a profit. People are underpaid due to their bosses not wanting to “lose” money.” As a result, healthy food becomes difficult to obtain, leaving many families with sugary dinners. She also pointed out that healthy food not being near homes means that some families have to travel miles. “ Many cities and states have attempted to lessen the amount of dollar stores and convenient stores in different areas as they add to the problem of food deserts. Adding more supermarkets with healthy food to areas can also help with the problem…”

This is an issue that needs to be explored further, as there must be an economically sound solution that will allow for the elimination of food deserts. Seeing people starve is never a good sight and not something that anyone wants to experience themselves. There needs to be a way to fix this problem and solutions need to be explored.