Food Access

Ross Terrell/Georgia Public Broadcasting

This month, GPB launched its "Full Plates" series, looking at hunger in Georgia. One in six Georgians is food insecure, meaning they don't always know where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity is often linked to access — in rural communities, as well as neighborhoods in and around metro Atlanta.

More than a third of metro Atlanta is considered a food desert. Ross Terrell met one Atlanta resident who's working to overcome a lack of reliable transportation, which is one barrier for some residents to access fresh, healthy food. Terrell visited On Second Thought to discuss the problems and solutions surrounding food deserts in Georgia's largest city.


Stephen Fowler / GPB

Access to fresh, healthy food is not a given in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture tracks areas here that are low-income and have limited access to grocery stores, also referred to as “food deserts.”

This month, GPB News is looking into creative, local solutions to food access issues in a series called “Full Plates: How Georgia Fights Hunger.”  Reporters Emily Jones and Stephen Fowler stopped by On Second Thought to discuss what two communities are doing to get fresh food to residents.


www.foodfinder.us

According to the Georgia Food Bank Association, one in six Georgians is food insecure, meaning they don't know how or where they'll get their next meal. This week, as GPB reports on new approaches to food access, On Second Thought turns to a young Georgian who works on solutions to food insecurity on a national level.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

Food insecurity is a pressing issue nationwide — particularly in Georgia, where one out of every four children live in food insecure households. It's a dire picture for seniors, too, with the latest estimates putting Georgia in the top ten worst states for food insecurity among aging populations. 

Residents and officials across Georgia are working to address the problem. GPB's Full Plates series is taking listeners around the state to learn about creative local solutions to food access problems.


Ross Terrell / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Bobby Akins lives on Auburn Avenue in downtown Atlanta. He lives in a high rise and has a fixed income, but finds himself in a food desert.

That's an urban area where the closest supermarket or grocery store with fresh produce is more than a mile away.  In fact, more than a third of Atlanta is considered a food desert.


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

In Rome, a men’s homeless shelter has been cultivating a backyard farm with a variety of veggies to feed its residents.

The shelter has been so successful, they’re looking to share, bringing fresh food to the northwest Georgia community in a tricked-out school bus.


Ellen Eldridge / GPB News

Nearly half of college students on campus experience food insecurity, according to a recent study. It’s an issue University of Georgia students wanted to do something about.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

 Three to four days a week Ernestine Mims comes to the Senior Center in Twiggs County to eat lunch with her friends. On a recent afternoon, the women sat at a long table, covered in a yellow cloth.  Ernestine was clearly having fun.

“I laugh and talk, and I can go the day on, don’t think about nothing, no pains or nothing,” she said. “When I come up here I am able to forget about it. It’s just like a home away from home.” 

 


Courtesy Leah Penniman

In 1920, African American farmers owned 14% of all American farmland. Today, 45,000 black growers own just 2% of that land. The vast majority of them live in the South, according to census data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Emily Jones / GPB News

Food deserts, or areas where there’s nowhere to buy fresh, healthy food, don’t just happen on their own. Everything from city codes to discriminatory lending practices have kept stores and developers from investing in neighborhoods. Now, city planners in Savannah are trying to write codes that attract grocery stores.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

Principal Lynn Janes knows she is responsible for some hungry kids.

 

“We have a lot of students, who, the only times that they really get a full solid meal is here at school,” Janes said.

 

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

A new study suggests Georgians would be hard hit by a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule, which would cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits for people without proof of employment or evidence they are looking for a job.

Giridhar Mallya, a senior policy officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that funded an analysis of the possible effects with the USDA’s proposal, said Georgia is one of 11 states that would be disproportionately affected.

MARTA

It's hard enough to eat well and stay in shape, but, in several parts of Georgia, residents don't even have access to nutritious foods. 

The Georgia Farmers Market Association is trying to bring awareness to the issue and help overcome barriers to access. Its initiatives connect small growers with communities that don't have good options to buy fresh, high-quality meat and produce. 


Emily Jones / GPB News

Thousands of Savannah residents don’t have easy access to fresh, nutritious foods. They live in food deserts, which are areas where people live more than a mile from a large grocery store. Savannah has several such areas, according to a recent Savannah Morning News investigation.

Reporter Brittini Ray spoke with GPB's Emily Jones.