Food Desert in the Heartland - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Food Desert in the Heartland


STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (FOX 47)-- Living in the bread basket of the country, it is hard to imagine that there are those who still don't have access to fresh and affordable food.

But across America and right here in our region, thousands of people are living without healthy food.

In 2010, the USDA named Minnesota as one of the top ten food "desert" states in the country.

The USDA recently launched a Food Access Research Atlas on its website that takes census data and measures it against factors like accessibility to supermarkets and transportation to determine food deserts.

In Olmsted County, 10% of all households without vehicles that are more than one-half mile from a supermarket.

But what exactly is a food desert?

According to the USDA, a food desert is a geographic area where affordable & healthy food is difficult to obtain, particularly for those without access to an automobile.

It's not just about access to food. It's about access to the right foods and according to the USDA, 3 out of 10 Minnesotans has limited access to a food market.

"Too many times the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is high, and now you are adding the cost of transportation to it all as well," said Channel One Regional Food Bank's Jennifer Woodford.

Channel One Regional Food Bank identified Minnesota's Faribault County as a food desert and has begun taking its mobile food banks to the region.

While efforts across the state are being made to combat the issue, hunger in the heartland still persists without a clear-cut solution.


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