Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Poverty In America

It's not the problem of not finding food to find at all, its that fresh, affordable and healthy food are much harder to come by than the fried chicken and Big Mac's found on nearly every street corner. It is a problem of access and affordability more than anything else. In the article "Food Deserts Benefit From Farmers Markets" by Greg Plotkin, he mentions that from a statistic, families do not only need help accessing fresh food, they also need help learning how to eat healthy and understanding why it is so important to their health. And thus, the Veggie Project was born. The Veggie Project is committed to "improving access to fresh fruits and vegetables in food desert neighborhoods while supporting local agricultural systems with the hopes of improving the obesity epidemic.

"Children are the cornerstones of the markets, and are responsible for coordinating set up, determining the amount of produce available each week and are even allowed to set the prices for all the products"(Plotkin). In return for their labor, the children receive vouchers which they can use to purchase fresh food at the markets.

Parents and community members are also encouraged to participate through the Super Chef Super Shopper program which provides market vouchers to participants in return for completing surveys, submitting healthy recipes that use locally-grown produce or attending cooking classes hosted by the Veggie Project staff. This is designed to give the project leaders more information about the barriers that keep fresh food from being a routine part of the lives of food desert residents. There may be no better way to achieve a reduction in the rate of childhood obesity than promoting healthy eating habits from an early age.

Abdelrahman Odeh

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