Urban Food Deserts:Poverty, Nutrition Education, and Community-Supported Agriculture at the Food Bank of Delaware

Sorg, Lina
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University of Delaware
Many Americans take a stable supply of nutritious food for granted. However, for people of limited income, obtaining and preparing fresh, affordable produce is often difficult. Food insecurity, while dictated partly by poverty, stems largely from inadequate dietetic knowledge. Affected parties frequently live in “food deserts,” which are prevalent throughout the United States, including in and around Delaware. Residents rely on corner stores or fast food rather than supermarkets or farmers’ markets, resulting in significant health problems and a snowballing ignorance about healthy food. In 2013 the Food Bank of Delaware initiated a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that provides subsidized, local produce to families in need. The Food Bank also offers multiple educational programs to low-income individuals. Using a journalistic approach, I investigated how the Food Bank combats food insecurity, particularly through education. I volunteered at the Food Bank and worked specifically with the CSA to understand the program’s logistics. I packed and distributed produce, interviewed employees, and spoke with shareholders and sponsors about their socioeconomic situations, program satisfaction, and nutritional knowledge. Results of my investigation indicated that high prices of and physical distance from nutritious food, while problematic, are compounded by an absence of knowledge regarding how to cook and prepare local produce. Ultimately, I seek to expose the seriousness of food insecurity and demonstrate the pressing need for nutrition education in urban areas.
Food Science , Agriculture , Nutrition