I’m feeling extra grateful that farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) and garden season is fast upon us. Fortunately, there seem to be ample opportunities here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to partake in the bounty if you know where to look. But, a person could still easily find herself challenged to find fresh local food, particularly in small towns and rural crossroads where the only walkable access to food might be a quickmart.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future’s food mapping project was recently noted by the Baltimore Sun for the light it sheds on food deserts. Food deserts are places where a grocery store is more than a ¼ mile walk, there are limited alternative places to purchase fresh and healthy food, more than 40% of the population does not have access to a car, and the median household income doesn’t exceed 185% of the poverty line. The Center for Livable Future food mapping project discovered that more than a third of Baltimore City residents lack access to healthy foods. And without access, it’s pretty hard to eat a healthy, sustainable diet. Check out Bob Lawrence, founding director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Livable Future, giving a TED talk about the public health challenges we face with our current food system, especially how eating more veggies and less meat makes sense for our wellness and the planet.