Report: Fewer Chicagoans living in food deserts

October 24, 2011

Download Story
(WBEZ/Natalie Moore)
Food desert expert Mari Gallagher at a farmers market in Chicago's Pullman neighborhood

A new report says the number of people living in food deserts has decreased in Chicago. But hundreds of thousands of families still don’t have access to healthy food.

In the past five years, there’s been more awareness around food deserts. Those are areas where grocery stores are scarce and that can lead to long-term health problems for residents.

Mari Gallagher has put out a new report. She helped popularized the term in 2006.

"The Chicago food desert has declined in population almost 40 percent and this is huge but the key point, too, is we still have a long way to go," Gallagher said.

Gallagher said some big-name grocery stores have come into communities. Yet the food desert problem tends to lie in African-American neighborhoods on the South and West Sides.

Gallagher said one area that can be improved is in the food stamp program. She said many fringe grocery stores accept food stamps but lack healthy options. And the federal government has lax oversight.

Below are stores that take food stamps. They are within a half-mile radius of Growing Home, an urban agriculture business in Englewood. Many of these are considered fringe stores.

1

2001 EXPRESS MINI MART INC

5501 S Ashland Ave

2

Busy Bee Supermarket

5659 S Ashland Ave

3

CHEBLI FOOD STORE

5536 S Ashland Ave

4

City Food --CLOSED CORNER STORE

6059 S Wolcott Ave

5

M & M DISCOUNT, INC.

1607 W 59th St

6

S & M Food Market Inc

5600 S Wood St

7

Wood Street Farm Stand

5814 S Wood St

8

ASM GAS

1952 W 55th St

9

Citgo

5901 S Ashland Ave

10

CVS 5989

1620 W 59th St

11

Family Dollar 7057

1615 W 59th St

12

R H A FOOD & LIQUOR INC

5515 S Damen Ave