A food desert is defined as an area where people lack access to affordable and fresh food. Food deserts typically occur in low-income areas usually with a high African-American or Hispanic population.
People in these areas rely on fast food restaurants and convenience stores for their food. A direct result of living in a food desert is obesity and diabetes, and that is why in 2017 Washington D.C. ranked 50th out of 51.
Alexandria is the opposite of a food desert. We have a Trader Joe’s, a Whole Foods, a lot of other grocery stores, and markets on the weekends that sell fresh produce and meat. In southeast D.C. the U.S. government has determined some areas as food deserts. I could get on a ferry and be in southeast D.C. in less than an hour. It makes no sense that people who live no more than 10 miles from Alexandria should have to survive on fast food, but I found a common food desert solution that could help our neighbors across the river.
With all the food we have in Alexandria sadly not all of it is eaten. Most of us can admit to throwing out that apple that we thought was “bad.” Also grocery stores don’t sell all the food in the store. Once the food passes a certain date they legally can’t sell it, but that doesn’t mean the food can’t be eaten. What we should do is work with the grocery stores and collect all the produce that would have been thrown out. Then take this food to food banks in southeast D.C.
T.C. Williams student