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Food Deserts, obesity, and veganism

As it’s defined in the Oxford Dictionary, a food desert is “an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food”. But people able to read between the lines know it’s so much more than this. 

Food deserts are one of the largest contributions to disproportionate obesity rates in minority communities. More often than not, natural grocery stores are the first things to go in lower income neighborhoods. Because of still present segregation, redlining, and other factors, these communities are prominently Black and Hispanic or Latino. In situations like this, when healthy, organic food is more expensive and harder to access, the simplest solution is to avoid it all together. And it goes further than this. In suburban and rural areas, public transportation is extremely limited. Someone with less access to personal transportation or ability to do so therefore struggles with being able to access the healthy, and organic food that may be specific to their area. Essentially, the way that our health food is distributed is racist, ableist, and classist. 

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to lower their animal product consumption. Thus, water usage and released gas amounts would go down. However, as previously stated, this is an inherently privileged statement. People who are able to go vegan, vegetarian, paleo, etc. should not be shaming those who cannot. As our climate is now, it’s simply not realistic to ask all peoples to only purchase fresh foods. But if those who are able to do, fresh produce and organic foods will become more accessible to lower income communities. It would be foolish to blame the victim here. Instead, it is imperative to change what is in your control and let the effects ripple to those whose situations you cannot fix.  -Bridget Neville

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