Hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans live in what’s known as a food desert. A food desert is in an area of focus that is short on access to fresh meat and produce. These areas are usually over populated with packaged and processed foods, which are not always healthy. They also have a significant amount junk that you can easily find in convenience stores and fast food restaurants.
What exactly qualifies a neighborhood to be part of a food desert? Food deserts usually have a bunch of blocks without a corner grocery store. In a more severe case an entire neighborhood, or a whole bunch of neighborhoods do not have a mainstream grocery store. A mainstream grocery stored would be a grocery store like a Jewel, a Whole Foods, or an Aldi, where
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Money aside is a big problem in general with new businesses opening and deprivation of particular resources. According to Chicagomag.com, opening a new grocery store is not as easy as it sounds in this recession. “The food desert is only part of the story, these are business deserts,” (http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/July-2009/The-Food-Desert/) says Dr. Terry Mason. Mason is the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, who recalls three nearby grocery stores that are now long gone since the time that he was growing up. “These neighborhoods are blighted and unsafe. There’s a poor tax: Things in these neighborhoods cost more, and it’s more difficult for businesses to operate there.” (http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/July-2009/The-Food-Desert/) Since lower income families have less money, and cannot afford as much on the kind of budget they have to follow, it is harder to spend money on the things that these families really need.
Drug stores like Walgreens are now taking steps to carry healthier foods in several