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To read the IWU press release about the impact of this project, please visit: http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/news/358/.

Abstract

In some places in the United States, guns are more accessible than tomatoes. In a nation where food is in relative abundance, how can this be? Food security is the ready availability of nutritious and safe food and the assured ability to obtain it through normal sources (Morris et al 1992). Food justice asserts that no one should live without enough food because of economic constraints or social inequities. In this way, food justice frames the lack of healthy food sources in poor communities as a human rights issue (People's Grocery 2008). However, in some communities, access to fresh, healthy food is not always possible. In 2000 food insecurity, the uncertain or limited access to food through normal channels, affected 33 million Americans, which translates to over 10% of US households (Wisconsin Food Security Project, 2008). "Food deserts" are the places where food insecurity exists (Morton et al 2005, Shaw 2006). When one considers that four of the ten leading causes of death in the United States are chronic diseases for which diet is a major risk factor, the need to turn food deserts into food secure communities becomes glaringly apparent (Zenk et al 2005). This study focuses on West Bloomington, Illinois -- a community that can most likely be classified as a food desert. Ultimately, three solutions emerged to grow food justice in West Bloomington: a farmers market that accepts food stamps, expansion of the community garden, and the addition of a full-service grocery store. The first priority has to be attracting a full-service grocery store to the West side. Without a source of fresh food within the community, the health of residents may be negatively affected. To compliment a grocery store, local food options such as a farmers market with a food stamp program or the expansion of the community garden can enhance the food security of West Bloomington.

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Sciences

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