Supermarket Closings Make Fresh Food Less Accessible

Supermarket Closings Make Fresh Food Less Accessible

Chris Phillips
May 5, 2008

We're often seen here hooting and hollering and get all excited every time a snazzy new grocery store opens. We've brought you new Whole Foods (ostrich eggs, anyone?), Trader Joe's, Fairway and Fresh & Easy stores.

But, today, let's take a look at the many grocery stores closing in NYC: "A continuing decline in the number of neighborhood supermarkets has made it harder for millions of New Yorkers to find fresh and affordable food within walking distance of their homes," reports The New York Times.

Related: Is the grocery store shake up bad for New Yorkers?

Drug stores (ahem, Duane Reade, can you sell more fresh food?) are opening up where grocery stores once stood. The Times points out the irony: drug stores sell candy and soda at low costs and then they profit again selling prescriptions people with poor eating habits.

See how the New York City neighborhoods that lack access to fresh-food retailers also have high rates of obesity and diabetes?

Some of us live in Brooklyn and are seeing this happen first hand. We tend to substitute by buying fresh produce at Greenmarkets, shopping at stores in Manhattan, or ordering Fresh Direct, but people with tight budgets, limited mobility or more restricted work schedules might not be able have the same access to these sources. We hope NYC's green carts movement takes off.

Do you see this happening where you live too?

The disparity can be maddening. Did any NY Times readers notice this juxtaposition? In the same section of the paper, we're reading this story about people in wheelchairs traveling long distances to get access to fresh produce followed by a column about an organic coach of sorts that teaches upper-middle-class mothers how to cook (or to teach them how to teach their help to cook). It seems like there has to be a better way to give everyone better access to fresh food and savvy nutrition information.

Any ideas on how we can help?

(Image: David Gonzalez/The New York Times)

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