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The Voice of the Black Community

Local & State

Mecklenburg County residents at risk of food insecurity
Lack of access cited in State of the Plate report
Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016 1:50 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

A study by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council revealed three areas in Mecklenburg County have high food insecurity risk and an initiative to encourage better access to healthy food.














Food insecurity is not isolated and affects everybody.

A study by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council dissected the difference between food deserts and food insecurity and how to address them. The findings were revealed Wednesday at Johnson C. Smith University.

“We’ve been doing studies,” said Diane Bowles, JCSU’s vice president of government sponsored programs and research. “We’ve done something on crime. We’ve done something on parental engagement. We’re happy now to hear the food assessment.”  

Said researcher Katherine Metzo: “We talked about food insecurity because the term food desert is really about the geography of access, but access is about more than just geography. This term food insecurity basically means access to adequate food, and the limitations on access are driven by lack of money and other resources.”

The research determined three areas that have a high food insecurity risk: Brookshire Boulevard Corridor (NC Highway 16 between Interstate 85 and I-485), West Boulevard Corridor (Highway 160 between Billy Graham Parkway and I-485), and Albemarle Rood Corridor (Highway 27 between I-485 and the Union County line).

 “Within five minutes, most of the county is covered [by food sources] but we still have the issue right here now—why do we have coverage, and yet 78 percent is still considered food insecure?” said Victor Romano, JCSU’s director of wellness. “The only thing that shows up within these three areas is mostly just gas stations—not even large service gas stations, usually just large convenience store-type gas stations.”

An unnamed participant in the community-based survey portion of the study said: “I’m concerned about the quality of food. Because I feel like the environment that people are in, the things that they are given—subconsciously they’ll think: “Well, this is my worth. I don’t really need good food.’ And you don’t really think that, but sometimes I wonder if people think, ‘I don’t deserve to have good food. This is all I have.’ I know I’ve thought that, and that’s an illusion. It’s not really true.”
Said Elliotte Royal, Mecklenburg County’s food access coordinator: “Food, air, and water should be things that everyone has healthy access to. They’re the ultimate equalizer. Proper nutrition and food access are prevention to chronic disease, and often these low income neighborhoods have high chronic disease rates. If we can address that by having food access, then why aren’t we?”

Royal emphasized the importance of convenience stores in neighborhoods.

“Corner stores are everywhere,” Royal said. “They are small. They are large. They are corporate. They are mom and pa, and a lot of people walk to these corner stores. They do not always have access to cars or ground transportation. So Mecklenburg County has started to identify several corner stores that we are going to work with—it is call the Healthy Corner Store Project. With those corner stores, we are actually working with the owners to have them build a sustainable infrastructure that will help their community around them.”

This plan also includes potential collaboration with farmers markets.

“Farmers markets, you have to have a car to get to them for the most [part],” Royal said.  “Yes we have the regional market, but sometimes, people are still having trouble getting to them. We will be opening a farmers market right on the Northwest Health Department’s property, right up the street on Beatties Ford Road to help this community have access to healthy foods.”


I agree with Katherine. If you are going to FGC Katherine, please email me. Thanks, Ruth
Posted on April 21, 2018
One of the "causes" that is not included in studies is that there is too much "lack" mentality, there is a lack of compassion, a lack of empathy, a lack love, of human kindness for our brothers & sisters & children. We'll all be judged by the weight of our Karma. Highest service in this life is to serve those who are less fortunate and be free of judging others. The idea "...that is what these individuals want..." as the previous writer states, is a reflection of lack which breeds more lack in the world. Be a part of the change that uplifts people, free yourself of cynicism & judgment...put your ego aside, open your heart, open your mind, let your Spirit guide you, ask how you can serve those around you and you will find fulfillment within, you'll love deeper & always more that you could ever imagine and you'll
Posted on March 31, 2016
People, look at the income, education, and other factors that cause this. So here we go again, give free food, air is free, and water costs money! The reason that there are "desert" places is that is what these individuals want, or most. They would not choose :healthy" if that was all they had to choose; that would be a complaint. Farmers market? A bus ride costs less than a car.
Posted on March 30, 2016

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