Living in a Food Desert

Have you ever heard the term “food desert” before?  I heard it once in a documentary a long time ago and never thought much about it until recently when I heard the term again while watching a video on YouTube.

A food desert is defined as an area where the inhabitants have limited access to affordable, nutritious, good-quality, fresh food.  Often these areas are considered low-income and/or rural.  The opposite would be a place where affordable, nutritious, good-quality, fresh food was abundant.  And that area would be called a “food oasis”.

I have plenty of access to groceries where I live, but I don’t have a lot of access to good-quality, fresh food.  While I may not be living as far into the metaphorical Sahara as many others, I definitely find myself living in a food desert.

 

 

There are three grocery stores in my town.  Two are well known in corporate America, and one is lesser known.  You’d think that would provide me with a wide variety of fresh food, but you would be wrong.  When I want to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, I generally have to wade through a sea of old, rotting, and often moldy items in order to find just one item worth my purchase.  When I look for meat items, it is equally disturbing.  In order to purchase something actually healthy (not loaded down in a pound of fat for each pound of meat), I have to pay a ridiculous amount of money.

But if I want highly processed, full of preservatives, canned, boxed, or frozen foods… Well, they are everywhere to be found.

It’s frustrating.

And it makes eating healthy very difficult.

 

I Need to Lose Weight

 

So why am I talking about all of this?  The answer is simple.  I need to lose weight.

My health is not the best right now, so I am taking measures in my life to improve that.  And if I want to be successful, I need to eat properly.  I’ve begun cutting sugar, as you already know.  But I also need to eat more good quality proteins along with the fruits and veggies.

Frozen vegetables are fine for a limited time, but there comes a point when a person just wants a fresh salad.  And when I go to the store only to find mold all over the tomatoes, disgusting brown rot on the lettuce, and bell peppers that look like they’ve been stomped on the ground, well, it’s very upsetting… and incredibly discouraging.

It doesn’t happen all the time.  I mean, there are days when the cucumbers actually aren’t soggy, and I buy a few.  There are times when I get baby carrots (the kind that come in a plastic bag) because they look ok.  But they have to be eaten quickly or they will go bad.  Sometimes, the peppers are decent… but that’s like a one in ten shot.

Fresh berries are really difficult.  I swear we are the last on the delivery list up here in the North.  By the time berries hit our stores, the mold has already started taking over.  If you don’t get to the store the exact morning of delivery, you may as well forget it.

I haven’t had an apple in two years.  I guess I could eat bruised apples, but I don’t want mush.  When I buy an apple, I expect it to be crisp and juicy.

I wrote to one of the grocers to voice my concerns.  I never heard back from them.

 

Healthy Choices

 

It’s hard to make healthy choices when the choices are clearly so bad.  And where I live isn’t even the worst.  I mean, there are still times when I can find good stuff.  It just takes work.  But there are people here in the United States who don’t even have the bad produce.  They just have nothing.

In America!  It’s absurd!

In places like where I live, and in many other places, frozen, processed, boxed, and canned food is all people can get.  Anything else is a luxury.

Back where I used to live, fresh meat and produce were abundant.  And grocery prices were quite literally half of what I pay now.  If someone had told me that the selection would be this bad before I moved, I never would have believed them. I guess I just thought all grocery stores were like what I was used to.

But like I said earlier, I’m nowhere near the Sahara in my food desert.  Mine is more like the Great Basin… still a desert, but not quite as dry.

 

Weight Loss

 

Losing weight isn’t easy.  I’ll be doing my best to buy the healthy options when I find them.  And I’m working on ways to make them stay fresh longer so I won’t have to be at the grocery store all the time.

I’m also working on reducing my processed food intake, and if I have to go for frozen veggies then so be it.  The flavor isn’t quite the same, but it’s better than nothing.  And some say that frozen veggies retain nutrients longer, so there is that to consider.

How is the food where you live?  I’m curious if anyone else has a shortage of good-quality, fresh ingredients where they currently live.

Oh, and I didn’t even tell you about how our town quite regularly runs out of milk!

Yes, I am serious.  Empty shelves and people at the store not even knowing when the truck will come in… it’s happened.  A lot.  *sigh*

9 thoughts on “Living in a Food Desert

  1. The produce at the grocery stores here is not great. However, we are fortunate in that some of the farms in our area offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. I’m in Central New York – Finger Lakes region. I had a CSA last year. I paid about $400 for 6 months of fresh farm produce that I would pick up weekly. Your money goes directly to the local farmer and you know exactly where your produce is grown. You get everything fresh and in-season. Do you have any farms nearby that offer this program?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if we have anything like that here. But now that you’ve told me about it, I will definitely be asking around to find out. Something like that would be fantastic!🌟 Thanks for reading, and for the tip! 💕

      Like

  2. For the most part, our food here seems to be good. There are times when the produce isn’t that great, but I would say it’s not often. My daughter eats strawberries EVERY day. Which means that I even buy them out of season. I do have to check the packages carefully for mold. We have a few big chain grocers here. I definitely have one that I prefer. We also have two farmer’s markets and I’m part of the co-op. Plus, we’ve recently gotten an Earth Fare supermarket. All of their food is free of certain things (like artificial stuff and high fructose corn syrup). I didn’t have those options in Florida, so I’ve definitely become spoiled. And while food is taxed here (unlike in Florida) it is cheaper here. That’s crazy about the milk!! I don’t drink milk, but my sons do. It’s rare to see an empty shelf. We also have a dairy that sells its milk through the chain in the glass bottles that you pay of deposit on and get back when you return it. I don’t buy that one, but I love the concept of reducing plastic waste. My boys are planning to move this summer, but I may switch to that soon. Best of luck on your health journey! I have many elevated risks because of family history and am constantly trying to make better choices. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea that anywhere taxed food. I guess everywhere I have lived has been tax-free for that. When we grocery shop, it is only things like cleaning supplies and paper products that get taxed. Very interesting!!

      I was really disappointed in the farmers market last year. I went quite a few times during the summer, expecting fresh produce, only to find it was pretty much a craft fair. *sigh*

      But!!! I’ve been researching, and there may be a local farm nearby where I can pick up some things in season. There is hope!

      I’d never heard of Earth Fare… I really wish some more shopping options would move in where I live. It sounds like you have some great options. 🌟

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was surprised about the food tax in Virginia. It’s less than the sales tax, but in Florida, it’s only on things like soda and candy, not the staples.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That must be so frustrating!

    I don’t suffer the same woes in Derbyshire. We have plenty of fresh fruit and veg in our big chain supermarkets. Most berries are shipped from North Africa, tomatoes from western Europe and the majority of veg is grown in the UK. I always assumed in the US you would have better options than us!

    I agree, frozen veg is the way forward in your situation. I believe most of it is frozen very quickly after being picked, so retains most of the nutrients.

    Bread and milk are life’s essentials in England, as well as teabags. The only time I’ve seen the shops run low (never run out) have been in a week-long severe snow storm. I don’t drink milk myself but many of the local farms do their own self-service pumps where you pay a pound and bring your own bottle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is crazy to be living in the US and find such a lack. It’s not all over, but it’s in a lot of places. In the state we used to live in, we had access to everything. I thought maybe I was being too dramatic, so I asked my mom what she thought about it. She agrees with me that where we are in Wyoming is definitely a food desert. I’m thankful I can get frozen goods at least.

      That is really neat about the self-service pumps for milk. I’ve never seen anything like that! I’m not a milk drinker myself, either, but my husband is. He loves his cereal in giant bowls with tons of milk and he sucks it all down. I always tell him it’s gross, but he just loves it.

      Like

  4. Also, I have family in Switzerland and their food shops are fantastic. Even in the big multinational chain shops, everything is local, within maybe 50 miles. My Dad’s lived in 2 Swiss cities and the supermarkets sell beer brewed less than a mile away, fruit, veg and dairy products all made in the same town. Bread and cakes are baked in store. Suffice to say it’s all unpackaged and fresh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This reminds me of a situation back where I used to live before moving to Wyoming. There were onion farms nearby. Lots of them. The farms were about a 45 minute drive from where I lived, yet only ONE store sold the onions from the local onion farms. All the rest of the stores imported from Mexico. I always thought that was weird, but never complained because we had onions… and fruit… and salad fixings… *sigh* I need a European vacation just to partake in the produce. 😉

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.