This Whole 'Food Desert' Thing? Maybe That's Not the Problem

For the past decade or so, there's been a big push to identify “food deserts” — low-income neighborhoods and even cities that don't have ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Plant markets in those deserts, the thinking has gone, and you'll improve nutrition and reduce obesity and diabetes rates. The solution seems to make sense.

And so the USDA has created nationwide maps of food deserts. Efforts to resolve them have ranged from small-scale operations like People's Grocery in West Oakland to Michelle Obama's “Let's Move” initiative, which worked out a deal with Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and SuperValu to open hundreds of new stores in targeted areas.

But maybe we're misdirecting our efforts. According to a new survey Share Our Strength conducted with low-income families, having access to fresh fruits and vegetables may not be as much of a problem as having enough time and money to cook them. 

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