Planning communities as if people eat.
Fri, 04/24/2009 - 4:10pm | by ibros
“Planners have traditionally focused on issues like housing, transportation all the things that make our lives easier, better and more comfortable. But for some reason for the last several decades have stopped thinking about access to food.” Samina Raja
Dr. Samina Raja of the University of Buffalo discussed her research findings of a recent study of erie county in New york on the access food in various communities. Breaking down all areas that people can access food from supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants.
the study found that for every 10,000 people
food and vegetable markets 0.16 per 10,000 people
restaurants 26 per 10,000 (including fast food)
Looking at pre-dominantly black and white neighborhoods within in 5 minute walk black neighborhoods have less than 50% the amount of supermarkets to comparable white neighborhood with the same population.
Smaller Grocery stores (50 employees or less) the study found 2.9 per 10,000 people. While abundant these stores lack of fresh produce, whole grains and other healthy food choices.
What is clear from this study there needs to be more options of healthy food in these smaller convenience stores and grocery stores. One solution Raja outlines is providing economic development to purchase and retrofit with refrigeration units for this infrastructure of existing smaller grocery stores and convenience stores. Also providing incentives to store owners to partner with local food producers instead of introducing large supermarkets in these minority neighborhoods.
You can listen to podcast from last year of Dr. Raja speaking about her research Racial Disparities in Food Access can be found here.