Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Food desert

"Food Desert"

It looks as if our nation has lost its collective mind.  Check out this snippet from a San Joaquin Valley, CA newspaper article today. Keep in mind that Stratford is in the sunny, temperate heart of California's agricultural belt, which grows approximately half of the produce the United States consumes:

STRATFORD — What if you had to pay about $30 a month just to be able to go grocery shopping?
For Stratford resident Christina Johnson, this is the everyday life. With no grocery stores in the community and only one convenience store, Johnson and many others in Stratford must travel 10 miles or more to Lemoore or Hanford in order to buy fresh produce.
“The travel doesn’t bother me, but I do have to spend extra money on gas,” she said. “I go shopping at Save Mart in Hanford twice a week, so it can really add up.”
Johnson said she tries to make the most of her visits, doing other errands to make each trip more worthwhile. However, she said she counts herself as one of the lucky residents of Stratford because she has a car.
“It’s a big task for people here that don’t work and don’t have a vehicle,” she said. “They either have to get rides from someone or ride the bus, which would be a hassle.”
Stratford is just one of hundreds of communities across the country to be considered a “food desert,” areas that offer limited access to supermarkets. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 2.2 percent of U.S. households are more than a mile from a grocery store.

No food here!
Isn't one of the lovely advantages of living in a rural area that you can actually grow your own produce?  Most of the time, within unincorporated county islands, the rules for farming and animal-keeping are looser than they are in the city, meaning you could also keep a few chickens and maybe even a milk goat, too.  

None here either.

A hundred years ago, a much larger percentage of our population lived more than a mile from the local grocery store.  They bought their staples there and grew their fresh produce at home.  Nowadays, living more than a mile from a grocery store means you are techinically in a "food desert," because we've literally forgotten how to feed ourselves in any way other than harvesting items off a shelf in an air-conditioned food warehouse with muzak playing in the background.

So many wanna-be homesteaders (and please know I use the term "wanna-be" in the most positive way in this case) living in the cities loathe the fact that they don't have yards where they can grow food, but here you have people with not only yards, but possibly even an acre or ten outside their back door who are starving to death because they can't get to the supermarket.

Something's wrong here, people.

Eureka!  Found the food!


  1. I swear I think a class on gardening and cooking would be far more valuable in school than algebra!

    1. Totally. We've forgotten what's most important...being able to feed ourselves. Instead, we teach stuff that a few people might need in their jobs, but most never will. You are so right.