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News

Map: Where Are America's Food Deserts?

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The term "food desert" refers to a geographic area where residents don't have easy access to fresh, affordable food, namely supermarkets. In these areas fast and convenient food is typically more readily available and consumed, making those areas the target of scrutiny, particularly if the area is urban, for policy about food access.

Here in Los Angeles there are areas considered "food deserts." One community that has been the subject of discussion is South Los Angeles, where a ban on new fast food restaurants has just been re-installed by the City Council, and where grocery companies, like Fresh & Easy, have hoped to move in and make a difference.

This map, based on a 2009 study by the Department of Agriculture, illustrates where the food deserts are in the nation. "This map colors each county in America by the percentage of households in food deserts, according to the USDA's definition," explains Slate, who published the map. In Los Angeles, according to the map data, 0.33% of the population does not have a car and lives more than a mile away from a supermarket.