Moral Cap Solution: Project Oasis

Updated: Sep 6

First let's define what a food desert is, A Food Desert is an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.


I'm no stranger to this, even though I didn't always know a name for it, we've all noticed the lack of grocery stores in the poorer communities (which most of the time happened to be communities of color). Poorer neighborhoods have more liquor stores than they do grocery stores in the food they have there isn't always the best quality or at an affordable price.




Articles


America at Hunger's Edge

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/02/magazine/food-insecurity-hunger-us.html


California Food Deserts: Nearly 1 Million Live Far From Supermarkets, Grocery Stores

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/california-food-deserts-n_n_858065

Summarizing, Nearly 1 million Californians live in “food deserts”. 13.5 million people - 46 percent of whom are classified as low-income. Nearly 45 percent of the 976,467 Californians with low access to retail food outlets are low-income. Still, the information is limited because it’s based on 2000 census data and a list of supermarkets and large grocery stores compiled in 2006. The USDA plans to update its map with 2010 census data next year. In general, census tracts were identified as low-income if they had a poverty rate of at least 20 percent. $34,100 for a family of four in 2000. People in those areas were considered low-income if their annual household income was 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level. They lived more than one mile away in an urban area or more than 10 miles away in a rural area. Food deserts can be found in 371 California census tracts, according to USDA data. The vast majority (85%) are in urban areas. More than 1.9 million people live in these census tracts, and about half of them have low access to retail food stores.


Research: A bill by Assembly Speaker John Perez that would expand access to healthy foods in under-served communities calls for ending food deserts in seven years. AB 581, the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative, is pending.


Question: Do people in areas what grocery stores? Do they want to cook? Can they store healthy food? Will they need education?


FINDING NUTRITION IN THE FOOD DESERTS OF CALIFORNIA

https://psmag.com/environment/finding-nutrition-in-food-deserts-of-los-angeles-california

Summarizing: Obesity and Type 2 diabetes, the costs of those two food-related diseases account for 20.6 percent of U.S. health expenditures. An additional $190 billion annually in obesity-related medical expenses alone. Agricultural export revenue totaling more than $18 billion in 2012, the Central Valley’s approximately 700,000 farm workers don’t earn enough to feed themselves. Their annual earnings typically range between $15,000 and $17,500. Half can’t afford to buy as much food as they need and 48 percent cannot afford nutritious meals. Eighty-five percent of California’s USDA-designated food deserts are in urban areas. Fast food outlets make up 73 percent of South L.A. eateries, compared to 42 percent in West L.A. In L.A., transportation is a food equity issue. Only 36 percent of L.A. residents live within a five-minute walk of a grocery store. Compare that with 59 percent in San Francisco and 49 percent in Oakland.


Questions: Why don't farmers make more money? Where do the $18 billion go? Why no investment in supermarkets in low income areas?

Mapping San Diego’s ‘food desert’ spots

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/data-watch/sdut-san-diego-food-deserts-2016may15-htmlstory.html

Summarizing, Most of San Diego’s food deserts fall under the half-mile threshold. According to an analysis of U.S. Census data done by Feeding America, 13.3 percent of San Diego County residents are food insecure, which falls in line with the statewide rate of 13.9 percent. That’s less than the national average of 14.2 percent. East County is categorized as a food desert — as well as being a regular desert, according to the data setup. In the city of San Diego, most of the food deserts are clustered to the east of Interstate 805, extending to the city limits. A 2014 San Diego State University study found that southeastern San Diego is more of a “food swamp” than a desert: Some healthy options were available, but junk food was easier to find.


Living Wage for Basic Needs: >$80,000 to $85,000 Los Angeles, San Benito, Ventura, San Diego, Sonoma, Orange, Santa Barbara


Workers Keeping Americans Fed Are Going Hungry in the Heartland ["https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-hunger-minnesota-pandemic/?ll_push_args={%22utm_source%22:%22push%22,%22utm_medium%22:%22notification%22}"]


Solution


Food insecurity and the elimination of food deserts is a complicated task, and I'm not educated or informed on government programs aimed at task. This is about possible solutions, systems and infrastructures we can set up, establish, tweak, and expand upon if successful. Find the areas, find possible see locations. community gardens require land, upkeep, and farmers. Many innovative planting techniques can make it possible to grow food with little space, water, and time, but in reality is difficult to acquire and keep land for providing affordable healthy food and vegetables. The next best thing would be truck / pop up shop. Partnership with local / small farmers distributing healthy farm fresh food directly into urban areas / food deserts. To take it a step forward, to make it a more comprehensive effort, the pop-up spot should also offer cooking lessons, recipes, prepare foods and meals for homeless.

Financing can get costly: food, truck, gas, permits and supplies. As with everything in life, start small. First, we'll need an agreement with a farm to distribute their harvest. I suggest seasonal list for people to shop from, to keep costs down. also, could schedule customers to pick up fruits and veggies (ex. strawberry / apple picking). The Pop-up location will have to be heavily promoted and serve more as a delivery spot. The truck will have to be big enough to transfer lateral tons of food. Two prong approach, where people can sign up for delivery when food runs out. As with everything moral, this initiative will take investment, donors, sponsorships, and volunteers for it to be successful and to, and ultimately make a difference.

Of course this is "oversimplified", there's real hurdles that kept this issue from being solved. I completely get it, but maybe it's more effective to work backwards. Present the solution, and tackle the problems, mishaps, and setbacks as they come along. At the end of the day, getting people healthy nutritious food is the most important thing.

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