I live in a Low Access Area! According to a new food desert webGIS, my neighobrhood around 58th & Shattuck doesn't have access to a full-service grocery store, has low car ownership, and low median household income. I have never considered my self to live in a food dessert because I go to Berkeley Bowl at least once a week on my bike ride home from campus, but according to these combined metrics I am more underserved by full-service food stores than most other neighborhoods. I think this is a really neat tool to start a broader conversation about how to measure and evaluate food access and what it means for individual and community health.
As Grist writes...."The point of the project isn't just to map food deserts, it's to help TRF and other investors, as well as policymakers, calculate how much money is "leaking" from an area (being spent elsewhere), so as to evaluate whether a loan for a new supermarket is a good idea -- financially, presumably. As Stephanie covered in her piece, food-justice advocates disagree on whether small, independently owned but somewhat limited food stores are the answer, or chain stores such as a Safeway or Walmart.
Alas, the tool does not include data for health care expenditures or obesity rates in these areas, which would be interesting comparisons to see."