End Food Deserts in Chicago

End Food Deserts in Chicago

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Olivia Littleton started this petition to Governor J.B. Pritzker

The USDA defines food deserts as “parts of the country lacking fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas.” These neighborhoods usually have a higher concentration of fast food, liquor, and convenience stores and lack fresh and healthier groceries. In Chicago, people of color, specifically, African Americans are disproportionately affected by food deserts. White neighborhoods contain an average of four times as many supermarkets as predominantly black ones and the few grocery stores that these impoverished areas do have, are usually smaller with less selection.

The root cause of this issue isn’t as simple as a lack of food in certain areas. If it was, it could be solved by just building more grocery stores in minority neighborhoods. It directly linked to segregation and income disparity as well. Median household income for Black families in Chicago is $30,303 while the median household income for white families is $70,960. More minorities in Chicago struggle to make a living wage. They are more likely to depend on minimum wage, forcing many to work longer hours to make up the difference. If a family is to choose between fresh healthy food, which includes preparation and takes even more time, and cheap fast food, their income will often force them to choose the latter. Food deserts can even be linked to the high rates of obesity among African American and Latino populations.

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