A Proposal on How to Mitigate the Crisis and Provide Residents with Access to Fresh Foods

Categories: Food Deserts

Question Presented: The USDA named Camden a “food desert” in 2013. How can we mitigate the crisis and provid  residents with access to fresh foods?

Camden is an urban food desert, one of 9 urban food deserts in the country. Presently, it is the only one of these urban areas without a single supermarket. Due to failed previous efforts, it is the recommendation of this paper that Camden establish a system of city-wide farmer’s markets and community gardens to provide fresh food to Camden’s nearly 80,000 residents, over 30,000 of whom live below the poverty line.

Urban food deserts are defined as census tracts with greater than 20 percent poverty where a majority of residents live more than 1 mile from a supermarket or large grocery store! According to 2015 census data, 39.3% of Camden’s residents live below the federal poverty level. Camden has zero large or chain grocery stores, and the stores that do exist sell almost exclusively prepackaged and processed foods. A minority of these corner stores, all within 25 miles of the Delaware River, have fresh produce offerings.

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One of the issues endemic to the food desert crisis is poor nutrition, mainly resulting from the consumption of calorie-dense and nutrient-poor foods. As of 2007, 42% of Camden’s 23,000 children were obese, and there was no way to measure how many were undernourished. Campbell’s Soup invested $1 million over 10 years towards reducing childhood obesity and hunger by 50%. Among the Campbell Healthy Communities campaign goals was systemic change in food access. While Campbell’s collaboration with The Food Trust to stock produce in 1 Breneman, Michele Ver Ploeg Vince.

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“USDA ERS – Food Access Research Atlas.” USDA ERS – Food Access Research Atlas.  

36 convenience stores in Camden has had some success, the produce offerings are limited in both volume and variety. In 2013, the opening of a ShopRite supermarket was planned in Camden. The plan called for construction of a major store on a vacant lot on Admiral Wilson Boulevard (US-30). Due to the nature of this major thoroughfare, the store would be accessible mainly by car, essentially defeating the purpose of creating an accessible grocery store for residents of the community. As of this briefing, the lot remains vacant and construction has yet to begin, though the plan has not been discarded.

In order to remedy this crisis in Camden, it is the recommendation of this paper that an urban farmer’s market and community garden program be implemented. Urban Harvest in Houston and Urban Village Farmer’s Market in Oakland have successfully modeled the positive impact that a community farmer’s market can have on an urban community. These programs have given their communities access to fresh produce in urban areas, provided resources for starting and maintaining community gardens, and educated the public about proper nutrition.

Both programs also operate multiple markets within the same city. This is especially important to the fight against food deserts, as residents would have access to produce without needing any form of transportation.

The reason to look to Houston and Oakland as examples rather than Nashville or other urban farmer’s markets is for the reason of financing. Nashville’s farmer’s market is funded and sponsored by the city. In Camden, with current budgetary constraints, and frankly, more pressing needs for financial resources, such as public safety initiatives, this was not a viable option.

However, Houston and Oakland’s programs are private non-profit entities that are funded through community and corporate partnerships, as well as private endowments. Having found such a strong partner in Campbell’s, in addition to the abundance of potential private donors in the area, Camden is best served by creating or encouraging the establishment of a non-municipal farmer’s market to serve the community.

Works Cited

  1. “About Us.” Nashville Farmer’s Market. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
  2. “ABOUT UVFM.” Urban Village Farmers’ Markets. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
  3. NewsOne. “America’s Worst 9 Urban Food Deserts.” News One. N.p., 22 July 2011. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
  4. Breneman, Michele Ver Ploeg Vince. “USDA ERS – Food Access Research Atlas.” USDA ERS – Food Access Research Atlas. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
  5. “Camden, NJ.” Camden, New Jersey QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
  6. “Field Story – Camden, NJ.” Culture of Health. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
  7. “Food Deserts.” Food Empowerment Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
  8. Law, Alex. “The Most Severe Food Crisis in New Jersey.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffington Post.com, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
  9. “Planned Shoprite Unlikely to Solve Camden’s ‘food Desert’ Problem.” Newsworks.org. WHYY Public Broadcasting Philadelphia, 05 July 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
  10. “Urban Harvest – ABOUT.” Urban Harvest – ABOUT. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

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A Proposal on How to Mitigate the Crisis and Provide Residents with Access to Fresh Foods. (2022, Mar 31). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-proposal-on-how-to-mitigate-the-crisis-and-provide-residents-with-access-to-fresh-foods-essay

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