New Analysis Shows Almost 900 Bay Area Neighborhoods Are Inside “Food Deserts”
The pandemic has pushed local food banks to the brim as they processed a record number of requests. COVID-19 has also extended the Bay Area’s growing food access crisis, leaving much of the region’s population more than half a mile from the nearest grocery store.
Food deserts – areas that have below-average access to food, which can cause residents of those areas to travel miles to find the nearest grocery store – are on the increase. The deserts in pharmacies, too, are increasing from month to month; the recent closure of five Walgreens stores in San Francisco has only made this problem worse in the city.
It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, and we would like to share our thanks to our supporters and volunteers for helping us provide food to the community. If you can, please sign up for a shift today to help us deliver groceries to our neighbors. https://t.co/ganwYLUTcU pic.twitter.com/knHt1IVeOw
– Food Bank of San Francisco-Marino (@SFFMorBank) 20 November 2021
But a recent analysis by ABC7 shed light on just how severe (and dangerous) the food access crisis has become in the Bay Area.
According to data collected by the outlet, at least 889 neighborhoods in the Bay Area are considered to have “poor access to food.” Of these urban areas, 600 are in the San Francisco metro area, while 289 other food deserts exist around San Jose; a quick glance at the map also reveals that almost all of the neighborhoods that make up the cities of Pittsburg and Antioch exist in food deserts.
It is estimated that over a million Californians now live in food deserts. Further compounding the problem: 45% of all state residents who live in food deserts are considered low-income, according to a report by California FreshWorks. Locally, analysis of ABC7 data found that some 250 low-income neighborhoods in the Bay Area also have poor access to food, in some cases accounting for over 20% of a county’s neighborhoods, such as this is the case in Santa Clara County.
The inflation of the US dollar is also the root cause of the worsening food shortage and affordability across the country, including here in the Bay Area.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021 saw national averages for meat, poultry, fish and eggs increase by 10.5%. As measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the annual inflation rate from October 2020 to October 2021 was 6.2%, three times the annual average. It’s no wonder that the maximum monthly CalFresh food stamp allowance of $ 194 for a one-person household doesn’t go too far these days.
And if you consider that the average low-income household spends around 40% of their gross income on food, this is a trend that can only lead to increased rates of hunger in the Bay Area up to that a resolution is found.
To find other food access sites provided by the SF-Marin Food Bank, as well as their operating hours, visit sfmfoodbank.org/find-food; to find out how you can donate acceptable food or volunteer your time, visit here and here, respectively.
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Mission ORS Low-Income Seniors Go Hungry After Pantry Stops Delivering
Top photo: Courtesy of Twitter via @SFFMorBank