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ALLIANCE – Five major grocery chains have locations in the city, but David Sheegog Jr. and other residents of the North Alliance must travel more than two miles to the nearest store.

Sheegog has lived in the city for three years. He said he buys groceries at Save A Lot on East State Street and believes there must be more options for people in Wards 1 and 2.

“There should always be a store next door,” he said.

There is no shortage of grocery stores on State Street, and Giant Eagle, Walmart, Marc’s, and soon Meijer are a handful of supermarkets that are located along one of the city’s busiest streets. But the landscape of grocery stores in the north of the city is quite different. There hasn’t been a full service grocery store in the area since Sander’s Markets closed three years ago.

The food desert created a barrier between residents and access to fresh produce and other nutritious food. Many want another supermarket in the area, but the expert said convincing a grocery store to invest in a food desert could be difficult, leading community organizations and churches to lead the effort.

What is a food desert? 

The US Department of Agriculture defines the food desert as a low-income census area where a significant number of residents have little or no access to inexpensive, healthy food.

The agency considers that the census data is that income is low if the poverty rate is 20% or greater or the median family income is less than 80% of the median family income for the entire state or metropolitan area. Meanwhile, low access defines a community of at least 500 inhabitants of which at least 33% live more than one mile from a supermarket or grocery store. Read also : World Refugee Day 2022 – US State Department. In rural communities, it is 10 miles.

But Chris Post, a professor of geography at Kent State University in Stark, said the USDA’s definition of a food desert was only distance-based and did not address other barriers that prevent people from buying healthy food.

“If there’s a fence around a part (the grocery store), or if you force people to walk through the shipping area where trucks come and go, it’s still extremely difficult and dangerous. street, but still not available or easy to get, “Post said.

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What leads to a food desert?

One problem that food deserts create is that many large food chains do not open up locations in low-income areas. To see also : Food safety actions are key to building trust, Yiannas says.

“The big economic factor is that most major chain grocery stores won’t invest in building a store in a lower-income neighborhood because they’re afraid they won’t get the profit they need to keep the unit viable,” Post said. .

This problem is not unique to the Alliance. According to the USDA, approximately 13.5 million people live in census districts with limited access to fresh food.

Neighborhoods in North Alliance do not have a full-service grocery store as of 2019. Sander’s Market closed its South Union Avenue location in late 2018, citing high operating costs, marginal performance and vandalism.

Sander’s was only open for eight months. The grocery chain purchased the building through a U.S. Bankruptcy Court after Thorne’s, which previously occupied the site, filed for federal bankruptcy in 2017.

The facility remained empty until it was bought by Alliance Ventures in 2020. Sun America currently leases the facility as a warehouse for its commercial bakery and catering products.

The former grocery store is located next to the poorest census track in the city. The Census Tract 7104 has a median household income of $ 12,372 according to the Census Reporter. This is roughly two-thirds of the median income for the rest of the Alliance ($ 21,075) and half of Stark County ($ 30,168).

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How has the food desert affected Alliance? 

Stacie Weimer, executive director of the Alliance YWCA, said the closing of Sander’s Market has made it difficult for people in the northern part of the city to access healthy food. Read also : The California Governor’s mental health court plan is progressing due to concerns.

“When you’re lacking accessibility, and we’re talking about the State Street travel barriers to say the least, you’ll definitely see people relying on food at the gas station because it’s available at that time,” she said, she said.

This is a common problem in areas without supermarkets, the Post said. Many people in these communities eat foods high in high fructose corn syrup and cheap proteins, such as fast food burgers. That said, it can lead to malnutrition and malnutrition.

The post said dollar stores are not enough to replenish full service grocery stores.

“They still lack an aisle with products, which is one of the most important things to be considered a food supplier under the circumstances,” he said. “You must have fresh vegetables and fruits and other whole grains.”

Councilwoman Sheila Cherry (D-1) said many residents of the Northeast Alliance struggled with a supermarket shortage.

“It was a challenge (getting fresh food) for Sander and now it definitely is,” she said.

Cherry said a lot of people rely on food pantries and mobile grocery store programs like StarkFresh for food, but didn’t have enough resources to meet the city’s demand.

“I think more effort should be made to bring someone who can stay here,” she said.

Weimer said the Alliance YWCA is directing those experiencing food insecurity into the pantry of the Alliance community, but some residents – especially those living across Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – may have problems getting into the pantry.

“If you live on the other side of the viaduct, your pantry may also be inaccessible, especially if you need to travel if you don’t have transport to do so,” she said. “And even on the other side of the viaduct, there’s not even a gas station there.”

Several Carnation City residents agreed that access to fresh food in the northern part of the city was limited.

Jason Ridgeway has lived in the city for 20 years. He shopped at Thorne’s and later Sander’s Market before the grocery store closed. That said, he knows there are many people who rely on others to get groceries for them because they can’t go on their own.

“(The City) should try to find a store closer,” said Ridgeway

Likewise, local resident Tim Stuchell said they must be closer to the shops. They buy most of their food at a dollar store and occasionally go to State Street to get groceries.

Many people in the community rely on food stamps, he said.

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City director of economic planning and development, Joe Mazzola, said city officials wanted the grocery store to be successful north of Alliance, but that it has proven difficult.

“They just don’t count State Street traffic,” he said.

Mazzola said it can be difficult for grocery store owners to earn money because of overhead costs such as running freezers 24 hours a day.

“If TJ Maxx doesn’t sell the shirt, they can discount it and still get something back. Grocery store if their stocks go bad it’s a complete waste. They have to throw it away, ”he said.

In addition, Mazzola said a grocery store in the north of the city will face the challenge of competing with other supermarkets on State Street. That said, Alliance has a competitive grocery store landscape, and any store arriving in the area would have to compete with supermarkets like Giant Eagle, Walmart, and Marc’s.

“I would like to see the grocery store on the north side. We would all be in administration here, ”he said. “But the challenges of trying to do it while making money, the difficulty level is high.”

Alliance’s farmers market for the first 10 years of its operation was located in the city center, providing local residents with the opportunity to buy fresh produce. But the organization moved to West State in 2019.

“They took the only source of fresh Giant Eagle vegetables,” said Cherry.

Cimarron Ney-George, manager of Alliance Farmers Market, previously told the Repository that low attendance triggered the decision. She said market management wants to stay in the center, but sellers are not making enough money to keep the market profitable.

The farmers market this year will operate in a new location: the northeast corner of State Street and Union Avenue.

Ney-George said the movement’s purpose is to provide better visibility and attract more buyers and sellers. She said management hopes the new site will be more accessible to residents as it is more centrally located than the Giant Eagle parking lot. The Stark Area Regional Communications Office stop is also nearby, which can attract locals using public transportation.

Resident Susan White, who has lived with Alliance since 2020, believes that the market movement will be good for the community.

“More people have access to it,” she said.

But Cherry said the new market location wasn’t close enough for low-income residents without access to transportation. He believes sellers would be more successful if they stayed downtown and cut prices so that lower-income residents could afford to buy goods.

“Four people who buy some green beans can still make you profit during the day,” said Cherry.

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The post said many communities in the United States are trying to ease food deserts by growing their own fruits and vegetables.

For several years, he has been cooperating with StarkFresh in the center of Guangzhou. He said the organization is trying not only to provide Stark County residents with fresh produce, but also to teach them how to grow their own food.

“They inspire people to be entrepreneurial. They let people know how to grow their own food, ”said Post.

He said he hopes showing people how to grow fruit and vegetables themselves will have a “greater effect” in helping them overcome the lack of fresh produce in their communities.

Cherry said she hoped more organizations and churches in the Alliance community would join the effort to provide fresh food to those in need. She said all community members should take steps to fix the problem.

“Some of them don’t require money; take time and effort, ”she said.

Contact Paige at 330-580-8577 or pmbennett@gannett.com or on Twitter @paigembenn.

Resources available for Alliance residents in need 

Customers can receive food from the pantry every two weeks. Customers must have a photo ID and proof of residence on their first visit. They register by household, providing their full name, date of birth, and race, along with the names, race, and dates of birth of other household members.

Clients are asked to re-register each July and show proof of residence during this time.

The pantry is located at 215 E. Market Street and is open from to 19:00 on Mondays from 9:00 to 12:00 on Tuesdays and from 16:00 to 19:00 Wednesdays.

The Meals on Wheels program provides hot, nutritious meals delivered by community volunteers to community retirement homes. Patrons can receive meals up to five days a week, and options are based on dietary needs and taste.

For more information or to register for the program, call 330-823-1840.

YWCA also offers a collective dining option for seniors and people with disabilities living in Alliance Towers. Lunch is served Monday through Thursday in the Alliance Towers dining room. Residents can enroll in the scheme by contacting the Resident Services Coordinator.

Ministries of Family Empowerment

The Family Matters Resource Center provides food to those in need on the first and second Friday of each month. Residents can call 330-913-7007 Monday through Thursday and leave the number of people in their household. They can drive up to the community center at 425 E. Market Street at 6:00 PM. and the food will be delivered.

A non-profit organization located at 55 E Main St. provides free food, clothing, hygiene products and cleaning products to those in need. There are no qualification requirements. The opening hours are from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm Tuesday and Thursday. Emergency assistance is available outside of working hours for homeless people in the Alliance area. For more information, please contact 330-501-8262.

Is Los Angeles a food desert?

In fact, southern Los Angeles is now considered a food desert. The lack of access to fresh food and the drought in supermarkets is causing an influx of fast food outlets, liquor stores and small convenience stores.

How many people live in the food deserts of Los Angeles? Nearly one million Los Angeles County residents are still unsure about food, according to a new report by the USC Dornsife public exchange. One in three Los Angeles County households experienced food insecurity – an eating disruption due to a lack of money or resources – between April and December 2020.

What state is a food desert?

The state of Tennessee as a whole isn’t much better, with 13 percent of the state holding a desert food label. Overall, in the same 2010 survey, Tennessee was ranked second in the country for low-income residents who do not have access to healthy, fresh food.

Are there food deserts in LA?

There are many “food deserts” in southern Los Angeles. According to the US Department of Agriculture, food deserts are defined as areas devoid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other wholesome whole foods, largely due to a lack of grocery stores, marketplaces, and healthy food suppliers.

What are two reasons food deserts exist in urban areas?

Economic reasons, poverty, low income B1. People in poverty may not be able to afford or have access to healthy food, even if it is available, and may turn to cheaper B2 fast food. Less incentive for large grocery stores to open in poor neighborhoods as these residents have less money to spend on B3 food.

What is the cause of the city’s grocery desserts? The constant suburbanization of major food retailers contributes to the emergence of urban ‘food deserts’, areas in city centers where low-income people have limited access to vegetables, fruit and other wholesome food.

What is the definition of a food desert in an urban area?

In the United States, the food desert is a low-income census area of ​​at least 0.5 miles (0.80 km) in urban (10 miles (16 km) in rural) or 1 mile (1.6 km) in urban areas (20 km in rural areas) from a large grocery store.

What is a food desert and how and why do they develop?

Second, food deserts are socio-economic in nature, meaning they arise in communities of color coupled with low incomes. The lower disposable income coupled with the lack of transportation typically leads to the purchase of fast food and processed foods available at the corner store.

What factors cause food deserts?

Food deserts are attributed to food apartheid and have causes in food insecurity, racial segregation, proximity to supermarkets, vehicle access, and various other social factors.

Why is living in a food desert a disadvantage?

Americans living in these areas may have no access to food at all or may only have fast food or grocery stores with limited healthy options. The USDA says that living in the food desert contributes to poor diet and can lead to increased levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases.

Why is living in the food desert a problem? The negative effects of food deserts People who live in food deserts are turning to grocery stores that sell processed foods with lower nutritional value. These box-packed or frozen meals are also easier to prepare, making them all the more appealing to people who spend hours making ends meet.

How does living in a food desert affect mental health?

Food insecurity is associated with a 257% higher risk of anxiety and a 253% higher risk of depression. Losing a job during a pandemic is associated with a 32% increase in the risk of anxiety and a 27% increase in the risk of depression.

Are food deserts a social problem?

However, the link between food deserts and these health effects remains, even after looking at median household income across counties, poverty rates, and the racial and ethnic make-up of the population. Food deserts also contribute significantly to obesity among low-income preschoolers.

What is it like to live in a food desert?

The USDA has designated this area as a food desert – meaning the community lacks grocery stores and farm markets within convenient walking distance. Grocery desserts are heavy in grocery stores that sell mostly processed, high-calorie, low-nutrient foods.

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