The Ration

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A News21 food and health reporting project by UC Berkeley School of Journalism

Pastoral farm setting
An infographic that takes you to the sounds of a food desert

INFOGRAPHIC: Soundscape of a Fresno food desert

Click a point on the map to hear an audio portrait and learn more about the neighborhood.

Fresno sits in the middle of the Central Valley, one of the highest-producing agricultural regions in the country, where historical farmhouses, upscale subdivisions, fruit orchards and strip malls coexist within city limits. Yet many people here lack access to healthy food. This interactive graphic takes you through the valley were you can experience first hand the sounds of a food desert. Continue reading

VIDEO: A Farm in New Orleans

Latino immigrants put down roots in the Chocolate City

Thousands of Latino immigrants came to New Orleans to work in the post-Katrina construction boom, but many were farmers in their home countries. A farming cooperative has sprung up to help these new arrivals take root in their adopted city. Continue reading

Who Moved the chips?

Can a federal nutrition program for women and children change America’s corner stores?

Across the country, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, is helping transition corner stores once known for dusty shelves and cheap liquor into purveyors of tomatoes, fresh eggs and whole grain tortillas. Research suggests that the change in mini-mart merchandise dictated by the WIC program provides one of the most effective ways to get produce into so-called “food deserts” — neighborhoods without access to affordable, healthy food. Continue reading

Walmart Prepares to Storm the Desert

Oasis or mirage?

Over the last year, eradicating food deserts has become a matter of national policy. The Obama administration says 23.5 million Americans –6.5 million of them children – live in low-income neighborhoods without grocery stores or access to healthy, affordable foods. As part of the “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity, the Obama administration pledged in 2010 to eradicate food deserts within the next six years, largely through public-private partnerships that would bring new supermarkets to underserved neighborhoods and help existing ones sell more fresh food. Continue reading

A super market isle. Photo by Quamé A. Hamlin

To Eat and Live in a New Orleans Food Desert

Leonard Richardson rides two buses to the nearest Walmart, nearly six miles from his Marigny apartment. Richardson, 71, takes the weekly hourlong commute, not to buy clothes or electronic gadgets, but to get produce like green beans, bell peppers and celery.

Rachel Frommeyer lives in the same neighborhood. Instead of traveling hours to buy groceries, Frommeyer, 30, shops at a local convenience store, the Super Ten. Her usual groceries: canned tuna, cereal and ravioli.

Both live in a so-called food desert. Continue reading