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The food-desert problem

(article, Culinate staff)

Bringing affordable, fresh food to communities that lack access to it is critical to fighting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Unfortunately, solving the food-desert dilemma may not be as simple as merely building more grocery stores. The Salt reports on a study that found that cost and proximity weren’t the only factors in determining whether customers would buy fruits and veggies — they were also, not surprisingly, looking for choice and quality.

A former Sysco president developed a creative solution to this problem by selling food via mobile grocery trucks in New Mexico. His company, MoGro, uses refrigerated trailers to offer more than 200 items, from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats, dry goods, and dairy.

And in the last couple of years, Walmart has focused on bringing fresh foods to underserved communities, especially in rural areas, with an emphasis on sourcing produce from local farmers. Still, in a story for Mother Jones, Tom Philpott questions how well the mega-retailer is delivering on its local and organic promise.