You are here
A Special Report (2006)
In too many low-income neighborhoods, it is nearly impossible to find fresh, nutritious food. When such food can be found, it is often more expensive than junk food and high-calorie restaurant food. No wonder that rates of obesity are often the highest in the very low-income neighborhoods that have the highest rates of hunger and food insecurity. The compelling maps included in our report argue this story more effectively than reams of narrative ever could.
This report maps the location of food resources in three New York City neighborhoods and to examine access to nutritious food among low-income New Yorkers. The report draws on the first publicly available dataset showing the current locations of almost every major food source in New York City, available at http://www.nyccah.org
This report finds many obstacles facing residents of low-income communities: poor supermarket access; a skewed balance of food retailers favoring unhealthy restaurant consumption; a need for more alternative forms of retail like farmers’ markets; a largely uncoordinated charitable response to hunger that excludes many working-poor families; and a lack of access to basic government assistance in maintaining a healthy diet.
All this data points the way to an important policy conclusion: efforts by government agencies and nonprofit groups to educate the public on the importance on eating more nutritious food will fail if such foods are not affordable and available. Thus, rather than patronizingly lecturing low-income New Yorkers on the need to eat better, our public institutions should devote more resources to giving low-income families the tools to enable them to do so.
In short, we should increase the availability of food stamps and WIC food stamps benefits, and ensure that low-income neighborhoods have more farmers' markets that accept these benefits. We must also increase the access of low-income children to nutritious school meals, after-school snacks, and summer meals, as well as help food pantries and soup kitchens obtain more fresh produce.
For more information, please refer to the following:
Read the press release (doc file - 142 Kb)
Read the full report (large pdf file - 21 Mb)
Explore an interactive map of all food sources in NYC (pdf file - 2.9 Mb)
Download raw data of all food sources in NYC (zip file - 2.6 Mb)
To contact the authors of this report, call 212-825-0028 x217, or email email@example.com