Food access in D.C.: Q&A with Ashanté Reese

In her new book, “Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.,” Ashanté M. Reese, an assistant professor of anthropology at Spelman College, uses Deanwood, a predominately black neighborhood in D.C., as a lens to examine the broader obstacles to food access and opportunity facing black communities as well as how a narrative of self-reliance has both boosted and hindered fundamental changes in the food system.(No paywall)

New urban legends: Pink Princess and Cosmonaut Volkov

Danielle Marvit, who could fairly be called the tomato maven of Pittsburgh, didn’t hesitate when asked to list her favorites among the dozens of tomato varieties sold as seedlings by Garden Dreams, an urban farm set between vacant Victorian-era houses in Wilkinsburg, Pa.

Forget food deserts—adults get their junk food at the grocery store

Better access to supermarkets and grocery stores doesn’t necessarily inspire people to eat better, according to a study out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In fact, researchers found that U.S. adults buy most of their junk-food at such stores. The findings fly in the face of the “food desert” theory, which holds that people in neighborhoods without grocery stores are more likely to eat unhealthy food.

Study: 5-year-old investment program is changing CA food deserts

California FreshWorks, a food-financing project, has given more than 800,000 Californians living in food deserts access to healthy produce, according to an independent study released today.

House panel votes to block USDA rules on healthier foods

In February, the USDA proposed that retailers should stock a wider variety of staple foods if they want to be part of the food-stamp program. The House Appropriations Committee has sided with the critics, voting to prohibit the USDA from implementing the new standards.

Poverty may matter more in diet than ‘food deserts’

Poverty appears to be a bigger factor in poor diets than living in areas without a supermarket nearby, say Ilya Rahkovsky and Samantha Snyder of USDA's Economic Research Service. In a 36-page report, the researchers say that living in a "low income, low-access" (LILA) area "has only a modest negative impact on the healthfulness of food purchases - a difference too small to explain much of the national disparities in diet quality and obesity.”

People shop around for groceries, even when they walk

Overwhelmingly, Americans drive to the grocery store and they usually don't go to the store nearest to their homes, even if they have to walk, take a bus or get a ride with someone else, says a USDA study.