Feeding Food Deserts: New Initiative Works to Identify Communities Without Access to Healthy Food

February 23, 2012

By Blair Thomas

Feeding Food Deserts

There are hidden deserts across Illinois – food deserts, that is.

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative – a partnership made up of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Treasury Department, and the Department of Health and Human Services – has mapped low-income communities without ready access to healthy and affordable food across the state. These areas are known as food deserts.

At least 33 percent of these areas’ residents live more than one mile – or more than 10 miles in rural areas – from a supermarket. The goal of the initiative is to develop and equip grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores and farmers’ markets with fresh and healthy food.

Macomb, Pekin, and parts of Bloomington and Peoria are in identified food deserts.

To learn more about the Healthy Food Financing Initiative and to find food deserts across the country, visit the food desert locator on the USDA website.

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