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Combating Food Deserts in Washington, DC One Neighborhood At A Time

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When a grapefruit, squash or fresh tomatoes are more expensive than the fast food dollar meal, what choice do you think will be made? Our desire for quick and on the go meals have sped us right on by nutrition and healthy choices. However, we do tend to eat what is readily available. Are we now living in food deserts? What is a food desert, how to know if you live in a food desert? What are the impacts on health? Who are the stakeholders in poor nutrition and what we can do now as critical next steps. Featured Guest:Heal Our Hood's mission is to raise awareness around the food deserts and poor nutritional practices in the African community in Washington, DC. We define food deserts as communities where residents are in closer proximity to a “fringe” location such as a liquor store, carry out, or corner store, than they are a food retailer that sells fresh produce or whole foods. We are working to respond to this food crisis through providing nutritional and political education, hosting urban gardening, and establishing relationships with local African farmers. Heal Our Hood is promoting urban gardening and building relationships with local farmers as a means to respond to the little discussed health crisis of food deserts in Washington, D.C. “We have community gardens in Wards 7 and 8, both areas with the highest morbidity and mortality rates in the city. We attend community events and promote awareness around health, fitness, and food, and have successfully recruited volunteers for our gardens. We hope that gardening will give people power over their food sources, stimulating them to transform their ideology into one that includes a healthy diet and lifestyle.”

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