Access to Healthy Foods


Hunger and health are deeply connected.

According to Feeding America, 1 in 7 people in Washtenaw County are food insecure. Food insecurity is the USDA’s measure of lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. It also looks at whether or not a household can get nutritionally adequate food.  Food insecurity is associated with poor nutrition, health, academic achievement, and mental health as well as with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases.

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http://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/helping-families-in-need/nutrition-initiative/

Often, food insecurity is associated with living in a food desert. A food desert is an area that lacks easy access to both healthy and affordable food. Often, these are low income neighborhoods that are not near a supermarket.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/11/09/too-much-of-too-little/

There is also an association between income and obesity. The diagram above shows that in all 50 states, the lowest income families (dark blue dots) have a greater rate of childhood obesity than the highest income families (light blue dots) in the same state. Sometimes this is related to living in a food swamp, a place where unhealthy foods are more accessible than healthy foods. For example, low income areas have twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores compared to high income areas.

The image below shows the area around St Joe’s. (St Joe’s is the star). The green portions show areas of people that have low income and low- access to healthy foods. The orange shows areas where people are low income but have slightly better access for foods.  

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The best way to combat food insecurity and low food access? Provide more food! Farms, farmers markets and CSAs are common methods used to address food access issues and The Farm offers all of those. The Farm currently hosts a weekly farmers market in the lobby of St Joe’s as well as a weekly CSA in collaboration with other local farms.

Interested in other farmer’s markets in your area? See here. You can also use this source to find farmer’s markets in your area that accept SNAP.

The farmer’s market runs every Wednesday from 11am-1pm in the lobby of St Joe’s. We accept cash, card, or Prescription for Health tokens.

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