U.S. Department of Agriculture
The USDA defines a ‘Food Desert’ as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.” Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options.
North Carolina General Assembly
The North Carolina General Assembly issued a report, dated April 21, 2014, from its Committee on Food Desert Zones, which found 349 food deserts in 80 North Carolina counties. Some 1.5 million North Carolinians live in a food desert. The report stated “Residents living in food deserts are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other diet-related conditions, while simultaneously being more likely to be food insecure.” The report states, “The consequences of food deserts could be enormous for public health, the economy, national security and more.”
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