Thursday, June 03, 2010

A Food Desert in the Delta

Tonight the PBS News Hour continued its reporting on the obesity epidemic, focusing on Mississippi, the state with the "highest rate of childhood obesity in the country [where] 44 percent of kids ages 10 to 17 are obese or overweight."

Tonight's report, In Mississippi, Growing Vegetables in a 'Food Desert' focuses on the delta region, and it considers the problem of "food deserts," areas where it is difficult to purchase healthy foods. Food in a "food desert" can often be found only in a convenience store, gas station or liquor store. That food is often highly processed junk food - high calorie, high fat, sodium filled chips and snacks. Grocery stores with a good selection of produce may be many miles away.

It is particularly ironic to find a food desert in the Delta - known for its prime agricultural soil. However, most of the farms in the Delta grow commodity crops that are shipped out of the region. And, despite the wealth of some of the large landowners, the poverty rate is among the worst in the country.

Enter, the local food movement and the re-education of people in the skills of gardening. A web feature on this last point is provided below.

The full report is now available at the News Hour website.


2 Comments:

Anonymous ETox Mom said...

This is not surprising. As a new organic producer just north of this area in southwest TN and as one who grew up in north MS near the delta, I am not surprised to find this upon my return after living 31 years in northern California. The powers that be, both in MS and west TN, don't like those of us who would try to help change these things. I have even been called an "uppity woman scientist" (my degree and background is in Environmental Toxicology with an emphasis in public and environmental health including food-related issues) and threatened with being run out of town "back to CA". Recently, I was forced out of a high school chemistry teaching position in MS because the (white, from an old family) principal thought my ideas, as sponsor of the science club, to bring a community garden (which the students wanted desperately) to the campus along with healthy eating education with students teaching students, was a "radical idea" that I picked up in California (yes, I did have students whose parents sold their organic produce to Alice Waters). I allegedly had forgotten "where I cam from" and "how things work down here." Of course, my refusal to "just pass the kids" rather than having them be scientifically literate was also an issue (the principal's job was on the line due to test scores). There is not a day that goes by when I don't cry and wonder why I cam back "home" to such negativity and discrimination leaving a better life and graduate school at Stanford behind. Now, I know why my late parents, educators and a minister whose parents were Depression era share croppers and who always made sure we had healthy food from our gardens, got us out of here two months after my high school graduation in MS. They never came back and neither will my siblings. Why I thought I could give back after a successful life out west I do not know. I just know that the system that is based on nepotism and cronyism is still pretty much the same as it was when I was a kid. I am totally ashamed to be from here and hope I can find a way back to California before I lose all hope which isn't too far off in the future.

6/04/2010 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Combined Cycle Power Plant said...

Nice video...
where you find it.....

6/04/2010 12:14 PM  

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