Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Health Concerns Within Food Deserts

If someone living in an area of a city where access to food is available only in the form of convenience stores and fast food restaurants, the chances they will have a healthy diet is slim. Health is a major concern among the poor who do not have access to healthy alternatives. There are many reasons for this.

First of all, larger grocers do not want to set up shop in run down, low-income areas due to crime, theft, zoning laws and basic economic reasons. Convenience stores and fast food restaurants do not have viable health options, and in some neighborhoods public transportation is a difficult and sometimes impossible option. 

One could argue that these people can get a job or take the bus to get groceries but how realistic is that for a disabled, elderly or single parents toting around babies and groceries? 

While it's commendable that Spud, Safeway and AmazonFresh, have implemented beautiful websites where purchasing groceries online and opting for delivery service is a simple task, it doesn't help our less fortunate population because they don't own computers, have access to the internet or own telephones.

The thought behind the grocery delivery service is a key idea in helping this problem. We need to gather support from the surrounding communities in the way of volunteers, social workers, community centers and food banks to recognize and help these challenged areas.

Corporate Social Responsibility is something that organizations are implementing more and more as it is becoming a standard practice. 

We hope that by creating this blog and our website more people and businesses will gain awareness of the situation and realize the negative impact this is having on our communities and the health of those living in those low income areas. 

~Leslie Kobyluck

Monday, June 29, 2009

Food Deserts

Food deserts occur in areas where people are predominantly poor and/or elderly, both rural and urban. The grocery stores have left, and these communities they have abandoned offer very little options for nutritious food––predominantly fast food remains. The issues are access, education about nutrition, and money, as the convenience stores and fast food restaurants that remain are overpriced, and offer little food of nutritional value. Grocers have incentive to follow the money to meet their bottom line. What if incentives were offered to smaller grocers to open for business in food deserts? This could also be an opportunity for innovation. For example, the work place offering education and vending machines with nutritious options. As the main issue is access, transportation needs to be addressed--perhaps some sort of delivery, or farmers markets coming into the neighborhoods, as well as the creation of community gardens that also provide education on the value of good nutrition.

-Marisha Wadsworth

Week 2 post by Kyla Tom

In our society today, many do not bat an eye when they have to drive 10, 15, or even 20 minutes to get to the grocery store. In our ever expanding society, it becomes more and more of a necessity to have a car in order to reach most destinations in our everyday lives. Because many of us are used to taking trips by car, we often do not think of the strain for those without quick and easy modes of transportation. Being without a car for my first year in Portland, I was thankful for the wonderful public transportation system here, but every time I went to the grocery store, I had to keep in mind how much I could carry and buy accordingly. Buying food would take many trips and was exhausting. For some, they cannot afford to ride the bus back and forth to get everything they need and sometimes buying foods poor in nutrition at the nearest corner market is the simplest and most affordable solution. Here are two websites that address the issue of food access and the effects: http://www.project.org/info.php?recordID=73

The issue of food deserts is not commonly known and it is important to get the message out there so that steps may be taken to assist those who cannot access food easily.

The book "Changing Minds" by Howard Gardner discusses 7 steps that must be taken in order to bring this problem to the public and open their minds. We must use reason and be rational, we must do our research, the message must resound and touch those around us, it must be represented, we must know our resources, we can relate it to world events, and consider the downsides of tackling the issue of Food Deserts. By truly understanding the issue we can successfully approach it. Gardner also discusses the different types of logic that people possess. By understanding how our minds work, we can find the best way, for us, to approach the issue and we can also understand how others may view it as well. Food Deserts are a real and not well-known issue in the United States and in order to successfully get the message out, we must first research and understand the problem and then understand the best way to approach it.

week 2 blog wdillon

Blog Posting Week 2 On Line Media Capstone Will Dillon

Our topic Food Desert is a challenge for us to enlighten others to the disadvantages of people that live in areas that do not provide affordable access to healthy food choices. These areas are located in inner cities and rural areas throughout the United States.
I think the major challenge for our class is to convince major food businesses to invest into the local area, were there are no food stores or farmer markets. The Federal, State, County and City governments can create incentives for these businesses to invest in these localities so that affordable foods are located in these areas.
In our reading of Changing Minds by Howard Gardner he discusses linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalists, and personal intelligence. He suggests we understand the concept of these intelligences and to accept the possibility that everyone will have one or more of these abilities at any given time that help them use information that is presented to them to make day to day decisions in their lives, by keeping this in mind our blog will be open to numerous ideas and suggestions that will better our collective goal.
As we continue on our quest to inform and enlighten people to the disadvantages of the Food Desert it will be to the best interest of us to understand how we can use our own intelligence and to accept others abilities to use theirs, so that we can work towards a solution that will enable everyone to gain access to affordable healthy food.
An incentive example is one that I read about in Time magazine June 8th 2009. Carrotmob is a group that rewards businesses with mass purchases if they promise to use some of the money to become greener. This concept could be used to influence the convenience stores to carry more produce if people show that they are willing to buy it.