Atlanta makes progress in fight against food deserts

The city’s goal is for 85% of residents to live within a mile and a half of fresh food by 2022.

ATLANTA – The City of Atlanta reported Friday that 75 percent of residents now live within half a mile of fresh food, a 23 percent increase since 2015 in an effort to destroy so-called “food deserts.”

Food deserts are usually considered urban areas without a grocery store or other type of access to fresh food and where residents are a heavy distance from being able to use it.

According to an announcement from the city, the expansion of neighborhood markets “played a key role in expanding access to fresh food in low-income, low-access areas since 2015.”

Neighboring markets, he said, accounted for 28% of profits – more than any other source.

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Grocery stores accounted for 18% growth and farmer markets accounted for 15% growth.

The city aims to have 85 percent of residents within half a mile of fresh food by 2022.

“For Atlanta to be a place where all residents can thrive, we need to ensure residents have access to fresh food,” Keisha Mayor Lance Bottoms said in a statement. “This report highlights the progress we have made towards achieving our goal of ensuring that 85 percent of residents have adequate access to fresh food, as well as how we can better focus our future efforts.”

The city did not make gains in food access uneven, walking along revenue lines – it reported that areas near affluent Midtown experienced higher profits, while the lower parts south and west of Atlanta experienced saw less profits.

The report noted how this disproportionately affects Black residents and the elderly.

In Atlanta, Black residents are the largest population in low-income (low-income, low-income) areas and the elderly (over 65) and children live in LILA areas at higher rates than non- “LILA, which has important implications for equality and access,” she said.

A map produced with the report shows that there are 48 grocery stores in the city, 36 neighborhood markets, 27 urban farms, 21 farmer markets and 11 “supermarkets”.

The COVID-19 pandemic also had an effect, affecting the “local food system by creating challenges with access to domestic food, but also opportunities with innovations in accessing the first food in fresh food places that adapted to social distance and outbound operations “.

The report included a number of recommendations for profit advancement:

  • “Consider expanding the MARTA Markets program, which provides fresh food stalls at MARTA stations across Atlanta.”
  • “Allow on-site food sales to all farms and gardens across the city to connect producers with nearby residents who would benefit from increased access to fresh food.”
  • “Create a master plan of an Atlanta City food system for equitable development, in partnership with residents and other stakeholders.”