Lost in the Food Desert

The USDA has posted a map showing the food deserts of the US, places where the low income population lacks access to fresh supermarket food, due to lack of stores or lack of transport.

Most of the largest, the ones in the West, the ones that jump out, are food deserts because they’re, well, deserts (or indian reservations, which amounts pretty much the same thing). Others represent truly poor urban people, poorly served — the Washington Highlands area of SE DC, across the highway from Bolling AFB is a good example, and one that’s in sight of the Capitol dome.

The map is a laudable effort, but there are some anomalies. One desert tract plots neatly on top of Fairchild AFB, WA. This would imply that our military is underpaid or that USDA doesn’t realize that commissary = supermarket. The first is a possibility. At a number of times in the past, low-ranking, large-family enlisted members have qualified for food stamps. However, if that were the case, you’d expect other bases to also be listed as deserts. Well, McChord/Lewis (WA) is not, and Vandenberg (CA) is not, and Barksdale (AR) is not, but MCB Twentynine Palms (CA) is, as are FT Belvoir (VA) and Andrews AFB (MD).

So, it’s a link worth exploring, but carefully.

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One Response to “Lost in the Food Desert”

  1. Lost in the Food Desert 2 | FoundOnWeb Says:

    […] nearby supermarkets. It’s a much finer grain than the first one, and it fixes most of the errors I found two years ago– US military bases are no longer automatically […]

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