By Aaliyah Bell
During recent years Rochester has seen a rise of diseases and illness linked to poor diets including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. As of right now the city is considered a “food desert” by the USDA. Food deserts in the city have multiple factors that contribute to the problem including competitive pricing for raw and organic ingredients.
Placing full service grocery stores in low income communities is also difficult because they thrive off of a large amount of business, crime rate, and again high pricing. If an area constantly has crime (which a lot of places in Rochester do) then a grocery store and healthy restaurants will not want to be placed there due to possibly being robbed, breaking and entering, loitering, violence, and etcetera.
Aside from these problems, transportation is ultimately one of the main problems with being able to access healthy food due to people not being able to drive farther out and have money for the bus, lyfts, ubers, and gas. Transportation problems lead members of our community to walk to places within their distance which more than likely is a corner store, fast food restaurant, gas station, or local food places with unhealthy options. Rochester has tried inserting healthier food options into corner stores because of this reason but was ineffective due to the need for additional coolers, difficulty obtaining product, and lack of demand.
Lack of demand plays another major role in creating additional options for a better diet, which is why I feel like advocating for better food options and advertising it will bring more attention. Ways we can advocate include writing letters to our local city advisors, asking the NBD to support the making of new health restaurants, and creating more city programs teaching citizens how to garden & gardening around our city.
While we do more research and continue to ponder on advocacy changes we can make here are places in the city that try to deliver on healthy food options