Promoting Healthy Food Access in an Urban Food Desert in a B ...

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  • Title: Promoting Healthy Food Access in an Urban Food Desert in a Baltimore City Neighborhood
  • Author(s): Andrea Brace, Nadine Braunstein, Bobbi N. Finkelstein, Daniela Beall
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Food Studies
  • Journal Title: Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Keywords: Food Access, Food Desert, Urban Garden, Community Garden
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2160-1933 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1941 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v07i04/17-30
  • Citation: Brace, Andrea, Nadine Braunstein, Bobbi N. Finkelstein, and Daniela Beall. 2017. " Promoting Healthy Food Access in an Urban Food Desert in a Baltimore City Neighborhood." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 7 (4): 17-30. doi:10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v07i04/17-30.
  • Extent: 14 pages

Abstract

A food desert is an urban or rural location which lacks access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods due to a lack of grocery stores. In the state of Maryland, 12.7 percent of residents are food insecure, which is comparable to the national average. In Baltimore City, 23.8 percent of residents are food insecure, and one quarter of city residents live in food deserts. The lack of access to healthy food can result in diet-related health conditions such as overweight and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions. Establishing community gardens in urban food deserts helps to improve the food environment and increase access to vegetables and fruits. This article describes the process of distributing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – National Institute for Food and Agriculture People’s Garden Grant funds within the Cherry Hill neighborhood located in South Baltimore, Maryland. The article also describes the program’s reach and the change in access to fresh produce as a result of the People’s Garden Grant funds. Cherry Hill is a USDA-designated urban food desert. In 2011, the 1.5-acre Cherry Hill Urban Garden was established within the Cherry Hill community. In 2011, the USDA awarded a People’s Garden Grant to establish school and community gardens in Cherry Hill, to engage the community in healthy gardening activities, to build partnerships, and to create opportunities for economic development related to urban agriculture. With these funds, community organizations were invited to apply for micro-subgrant awards. Using grant documents, attendance sheets, and GIS analysis, results indicate that five new gardens were established, ninety-six residents participated in cooking classes, nineteen youth were trained in urban agriculture, and eleven new partnerships were developed between the fourteen awarded applications. The new gardens increased physical access to fresh fruits and vegetables as 100 percent of residents lived within one mile of a garden and 90 percent of residents lived within one half mile of a garden.