Food Desert problem hits home in South Bend
Access to fresh and affordable produce is a nationwide crisis that hits home. According to the USDA, 7 south bend neighborhoods are categorized as food deserts.
Around the west side of town you may find a gas station or convenience store. They have milk, drinks and snacks. But the amount of fresh items, like fruit and vegetables, is scarce.
When the nearest grocery store is more than 10 miles away, that qualifies a neighborhood as a food desert. South Bend and Mishawaka alone have 11 of them, according to the USDA.
It's also a problem throughout the state of Indiana. Indianapolis, has been named one of the worst in the nation when it comes to this issue.
It affects all different types of communities, urban and rural. But it's the hardest on low income people who often have to take a bus just to get to a grocery store.
"That can be frustrating," said Karl Nichols, executive director of Community Wellness Partners. "It makes you not want to get the types of food that you need and just go quick to the gas station or fast food place and grab you something to eat for your family. And it starts a snowball effect on your health."
There is good news on this front. Just last week a bill was passed that would give money to current businesses and new ones to provide fresh options. We'll be sure to keep you up to date on the progress.