Courtesy: United States Department of Agriculture
GREENSBORO, NC -- According to the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), a food desert is defined as census tracts where households lack access to healthy food options and experience high levels of poverty.
In a USDA report, Greensboro's urban area is identified as a food desert. That means it's a census tract where at least 33 percent of the population lives farther than 1/2 mile from the nearest grocery store, and the poverty rate is above 20 percent or the median household income is less than 80 percent of the metropolitan region's median household income.
Most residents in Greensboro's food desert area are about 2-miles or more away from the nearest grocery store option. (See attached photo)
City Council member Jamal Fox's district 2 is a part of the food desert in Greensboro. Fox and the Renaissance Community Cooperative are working to help decrease the food desert in the area. They're working on a proposal to bring a grocery store to the Renaissance Shopping Center along Phillips Ave.
"It is time for action. It's time that we work for our community. We've heard our community over 15 years, going on 16 years this year of what they wanted," said Fox.
Fox tells WFMY News 2, adding a grocery store in Northeast Greensboro will help with healthy food options and decrease the food desert in the city.
"How can we not start working towards what's going to help us become a better community," asked Fox.
City council members will look at a proposal to bring a grocery store to the Renaissance Shopping Center.
Renaissance Community Cooperatives is also backing the plans for a store in this part of the food desert.
"Put yourself in their shoes," said Sadie Blue. "If you just had to do it one time. Pay somebody $20 to the grocery store and come back. How would that feel? We would probably say that was too much. I would say that's too much. I can't afford that."
Blue said she once lived in the food desert area and now wants to help bring life and healthy food options back to community.
"It's something that we are not making up. This is a reality for many. I remember needing an onion and having to go all the way to Food Lion and I was so frustrated. I would have loved to go right down the road in the neighbor and grab an onion," said Blue.
There's a community meeting scheduled for Monday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of the Cross. The church is located at 1810 Phillips Ave. in Greensboro. The public is welcome to join.
Twenty-nine of the seventy-five Census zones that lie within the Greensboro city limits meet both criteria, accounting for 38 percent of the city's total population. The USDA's designation of food deserts is based on the 2010 list of supermarkets, the 2010 Decennial Census, and the 2006-10 American Community Survey.
The highlighted areas within the map below indicate the food deserts present in Greensboro.
See the US. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Desert Map of Greensboro:
WFMY News 2