DC Wards 7, 8: In Search of Healthy Food
It’s a beautiful sunny Saturday and Ward 7 resident Susan Edwards has traveled to the Riverside Center to pick up an organic healthy food box for her upcoming Thanksgiving meal. Edwards, 50, was one of only a handful of folks who visited Heart & Soul’s Organic Farmer’s Market on this day. She picks up a mango, apple and grapefruit.
“This is the first place that I could stop and eat unless I wanted fast food,” Edwards said. “There are not that many [healthy] options at all.”
Edwards is talking about the numerous corner stores that are located in Ward 7’s nearly 30 neighborhoods. Though convenient, these stores have mostly greasy fast food, fatty snacks and overpriced necessities, such as milk and bread.
Then there are the fast food restaurants that populate nearly every corner in Ward 7 — Wendy’s, Popeyes Fried Chicken, Wings ‘n’ Things, and Pizza Hut. The food is cheap and most stores are open 24 hours.
“You have to go to a major store to get healthy options and then there, it would just be a portion of their produce that is organic,” Edwards said. “Also, they aren’t walking distance. I have transportation, but I don’t like to drive.”
According to a study by D.C. Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research and Action Council, residents in Ward 7 and 8 travel the greatest distance to a grocery store. D.C’s wealthiest communities, Wards 2 and 3, have the most grocery stores, including stores such as Whole Foods and Yes! Organic Market, both known for healthy food.
Continue reading this report about the nutrition issues facing the area and groups working to solve these problems at Nutrition Needs.