Back to the food access assignments just completed by my food systems students, where today’s topic is what they observed in the stores in food deserts. They shopped in food deserts in Harlem (Manhattan) and different parts of Brooklyn. Common themes the students identified were:
- Prices were lower in food deserts
- Food often had no prices
- The stores were dirty, with fruit flies in the air and dust on the packages
- The food did not look appetizing
- There was limited variety in terms of fresh produce, meat, dairy and eggs
- Some standard items in their diets – hummus, kalmata olives, goat cheese – was not available
- Food was generally of lower quality – cheaper cuts of meat, etc.
- Shopping for a healthy diet in a food desert was difficult, and would only be possible if you were a good cook and could change your meal plans, based on what was available.