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(The New York Times)   Michelle Obama's claim that poor urban neighborhoods are food deserts, bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables has been found to be pretty much bullshiat by the right wing fascists at the New York Times   (nytimes.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, Michelle Obama, right-wing, Rand Corporation, South Side of Chicago, preventive medicines, Pathmark, school lunches, vegetables  
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2364 clicks; posted to Politics » on 19 Apr 2012 at 12:53 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-19 09:25:43 AM  
1) The NYT did not do either of the studies, they are reporting on two studies
2) The only study with detail simply notes that there are restaurants and markets within the inner cities. In no way did it attempt to verify what is actually sold in those markets, which is what people have advocated is the problem all along - that while stores exist, they don't actually sell fresh produce.

These studies completely miss the point.
 
2012-04-19 09:31:49 AM  
Hey! Family of politicians are OFF-LIMITS!
 
2012-04-19 09:32:50 AM  

GAT_00: 1) The NYT did not do either of the studies, they are reporting on two studies
2) The only study with detail simply notes that there are restaurants and markets within the inner cities. In no way did it attempt to verify what is actually sold in those markets, which is what people have advocated is the problem all along - that while stores exist, they don't actually sell fresh produce.

These studies completely miss the point.


FTFA:

Poor neighborhoods, Dr. Lee found, had nearly twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores as wealthier ones, and they had more than three times as many corner stores per square mile. But they also had nearly twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile.

Find me a supermarket or large-scale grocer that doesn't sell fresh produce.
 
2012-04-19 09:35:54 AM  
Furthermore, subby, this isn't just "Michelle Obama's claim." People have been talking about food deserts for a decade now.
 
2012-04-19 09:36:44 AM  

GAT_00: 1) The NYT did not do either of the studies, they are reporting on two studies
2) The only study with detail simply notes that there are restaurants and markets within the inner cities. In no way did it attempt to verify what is actually sold in those markets, which is what people have advocated is the problem all along - that while stores exist, they don't actually sell fresh produce.

These studies completely miss the point.


Seriously.

Also, if you are poor, fresh produce and high quality protein are simply out of reach. You're going to have to fall back on starches and processed meats and we all know the role they play in obesity.

Not to even get started on the fact that most Americans don't know how to cook anymore or simply don't have the time.

At least the First Lady cares. I have yet to see anyone else address this issue in any real way. Her message of exercise and consuming fresh foods is one I doubt anyone in their right mind would want to go on record as being against.
 
2012-04-19 09:40:01 AM  
In Baltimore, we have "Arabbers" who sell fresh fruit and vegetables from horse drawn carts, mostly in poorer African American neighborhoods that would otherwise be "food deserts"

t1.gstatic.com
 
2012-04-19 09:41:04 AM  

dittybopper: GAT_00: 1) The NYT did not do either of the studies, they are reporting on two studies
2) The only study with detail simply notes that there are restaurants and markets within the inner cities. In no way did it attempt to verify what is actually sold in those markets, which is what people have advocated is the problem all along - that while stores exist, they don't actually sell fresh produce.

These studies completely miss the point.

FTFA:

Poor neighborhoods, Dr. Lee found, had nearly twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores as wealthier ones, and they had more than three times as many corner stores per square mile. But they also had nearly twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile.

Find me a supermarket or large-scale grocer that doesn't sell fresh produce.


I'd cite the previous studies on the subject that show exact that - grocers that don't sell produce.
 
2012-04-19 09:43:19 AM  
Duh - urban and suburban areas have plenty of grocers, restaurants and C-stores, and usually the selection never changes.

What matters is what the customers buy, not which stores they buy it from. I guarantee you that urban residents (esp. urban poor) do not buy nearly as balanced or nutritional items as their suburban/wealthier counterparts.
 
2012-04-19 09:43:23 AM  
Within a couple of miles of almost any urban neighborhood, "you can get basically any type of food," said Roland Sturm of the RAND Corporation, lead author of one of the studies. "Maybe we should call it a food swamp rather than a desert," he said.

Within a couple of miles of the South Bronx is the Upper West Side. Genius!
 
2012-04-19 09:44:17 AM  

dittybopper: Find me a supermarket or large-scale grocer that doesn't sell fresh produce.


This depends on what you are considering "produce." Potatoes, iceberg lettuce, and mealy tomatoes? Sure. So what? Fresh produce is the largest profit loss for food retailers, which are at the lowest end of profit margins for retails overall. You really don't think that effects what they will offer in low income neighborhoods?
 
2012-04-19 09:44:32 AM  
I can recall in Las Vegas, well North Las Vegas specifically, there was a large area there that did not have any supermarkets. The last supermarket there closed down because it was unprofitable due to all of the shoplifting and general lack of customers. This was on the news, even.

I don't think that's a problem that can be solved by bringing in more grocers, there's a cultural/economic issue there.
 
2012-04-19 09:45:00 AM  
Mmmmmmm, desserts! What?
 
2012-04-19 09:47:29 AM  
It doesn't look like the study examined physical access as much as proximity, i.e., I live a mile away from a grocery store, but in order to get there I need to go over a ravine, across a bridge, and up the other side of a hill to get there. That may not be a problem in flatter cities with regular street grids, but for topographically enhanced areas, it's a real challenge.

It's even worse if you're relying on public transportation to get you there.
 
2012-04-19 09:48:12 AM  

dittybopper: Find me a supermarket or large-scale grocer that doesn't sell fresh produce.


They exist. Well, they might sell it, but the quality sucks. I used to work in a poor black neighborhood and when I'd hit the grocery store (same chain as the one in my home town full of white people) some days I couldn't find a decent tomato. The produce was bad.

Good selection of malt liquor in coolers right up near the front though.
 
2012-04-19 09:49:50 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: It doesn't look like the study examined physical access as much as proximity, i.e., I live a mile away from a grocery store, but in order to get there I need to go over a ravine, across a bridge, and up the other side of a hill to get there. That may not be a problem in flatter cities with regular street grids, but for topographically enhanced areas, it's a real challenge.

It's even worse if you're relying on public transportation to get you there.


I may have to steal topographically enhanced.
 
2012-04-19 09:51:40 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: It doesn't look like the study examined physical access as much as proximity, i.e., I live a mile away from a grocery store, but in order to get there I need to go over a ravine, across a bridge, and up the other side of a hill to get there. That may not be a problem in flatter cities with regular street grids, but for topographically enhanced areas, it's a real challenge.

It's even worse if you're relying on public transportation to get you there.


For shiats and giggles take a look at Cherry Hill in Baltimore. Try living there and eating healthily.
 
2012-04-19 09:51:41 AM  

GAT_00: I'd cite the previous studies on the subject that show exact that - grocers that don't sell produce.


Produce takes up a lot of real estate (including space for expensive chillers), can't be sold for a lot, and needs to be turned over fast. If you're a grocer, you make more money on canned and boxed stuff that can sit on a shelf for a couple of weeks, instead of a couple of days.
 
2012-04-19 09:53:07 AM  

GAT_00: I may have to steal topographically enhanced.


Works well with "Reticulating Splines"
 
2012-04-19 09:55:02 AM  
Michelle prefers the narrative of innocent wholesome poor folk, who want only to nibble on carrots and greens. But they are thwarted by the mean, ugly businesses that ignore their pleas for veggies and force fatty cheezy puffs and lard grizzle down their throats. The reality is that stores will sell whatever customers want to buy, they are just in it for (gasp!) the profit. Blame the producer all you want; if the consumer wants to spend his food stamps on shiat, making good food available won't help
 
2012-04-19 09:55:11 AM  
I don't think anybody ever argued that there wasn't produce or healthy food "within a couple of miles" from where poor urban or rural people lived, the problem is barriers to access.

This is particularly true in a city like Detroit, where the bus system is a f*cking shambles and I imagine shopping for a family of four if you don't have a care is really difficult. The problem is probably even worse in rural areas.
 
2012-04-19 09:56:14 AM  
Uhh...a "car", that is.
 
2012-04-19 10:01:36 AM  

GAT_00: These studies completely miss the point.


No kidding. Is anyone advocating for more supermarkets in poor neighborhoods? The problems are:

-Poor kids who rely on school meals do not have healthy options
-The prices of meat and starch are deflated due to government subsidies
-A single mother working all day does not have time to buy healthful ingredients and cook a meal from scratch. Much easier to buy fast food
 
2012-04-19 10:02:11 AM  

dittybopper: GAT_00: 1) The NYT did not do either of the studies, they are reporting on two studies
2) The only study with detail simply notes that there are restaurants and markets within the inner cities. In no way did it attempt to verify what is actually sold in those markets, which is what people have advocated is the problem all along - that while stores exist, they don't actually sell fresh produce.

These studies completely miss the point.

FTFA:

Poor neighborhoods, Dr. Lee found, had nearly twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores as wealthier ones, and they had more than three times as many corner stores per square mile. But they also had nearly twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile.

Find me a supermarket or large-scale grocer that doesn't sell fresh produce.


There are a half-dozen stores within a mile of me that label themselves "food" or "grocery" and are nothing more than convenience stores without the gas.
 
2012-04-19 10:03:43 AM  

Il Douchey: Michelle prefers the narrative of innocent wholesome poor folk, who want only to nibble on carrots and greens. But they are thwarted by the mean, ugly businesses that ignore their pleas for veggies and force fatty cheezy puffs and lard grizzle down their throats. The reality is that stores will sell whatever customers want to buy, they are just in it for (gasp!) the profit. Blame the producer all you want; if the consumer wants to spend his food stamps on shiat, making good food available won't help


Goddamn that's rugged. You own a pair of nunchucks, don't you?
 
2012-04-19 10:07:46 AM  

sigdiamond2000: I don't think anybody ever argued that there wasn't produce or healthy food "within a couple of miles" from where poor urban or rural people lived, the problem is barriers to access.

This is particularly true in a city like Detroit, where the bus system is a f*cking shambles and I imagine shopping for a family of four if you don't have a care is really difficult. The problem is probably even worse in rural areas.


Even if there are small local convenience stores, the much larger problem is farked up food subsidies. Pay farmers to grow fruits and vegetables rather than corn and maybe the local grocers will carry something other than Doritos.
 
2012-04-19 10:09:17 AM  

sigdiamond2000: Goddamn that's rugged. You own a pair of nunchucks, don't you?


He wears Zubaz and a T-shirt that says 'Joseph Lochner is my hero'
 
2012-04-19 10:10:01 AM  

sweetmelissa31: GAT_00: These studies completely miss the point.

No kidding. Is anyone advocating for more supermarkets in poor neighborhoods? The problems are:

-Poor kids who rely on school meals do not have healthy options
-The prices of meat and starch are deflated due to government subsidies
-A single mother working all day does not have time to buy healthful ingredients and cook a meal from scratch. Much easier to buy fast food


You haven't bought meat at the grocery store lately have you?
 
2012-04-19 10:11:40 AM  

sigdiamond2000: Il Douchey: Michelle prefers the narrative of innocent wholesome poor folk, who want only to nibble on carrots and greens. But they are thwarted by the mean, ugly businesses that ignore their pleas for veggies and force fatty cheezy puffs and lard grizzle down their throats. The reality is that stores will sell whatever customers want to buy, they are just in it for (gasp!) the profit. Blame the producer all you want; if the consumer wants to spend his food stamps on shiat, making good food available won't help

Goddamn that's rugged. You own a pair of nunchucks, don't you?


Actually, this was debunked a while ago. There was a British study that showed that consumption of fresh produce goes up when more of it is offered (the study was specifically looking at low-income neighborhoods.) But that's not where stores make money. In fact, it's where they lose money so it's the first thing to go.

Lumpmoose: There are a half-dozen stores within a mile of me that label themselves "food" or "grocery" and are nothing more than convenience stores without the gas.


Ketchup's a vegetable, right?
 
2012-04-19 10:12:43 AM  

dittybopper: GAT_00: 1) The NYT did not do either of the studies, they are reporting on two studies
2) The only study with detail simply notes that there are restaurants and markets within the inner cities. In no way did it attempt to verify what is actually sold in those markets, which is what people have advocated is the problem all along - that while stores exist, they don't actually sell fresh produce.

These studies completely miss the point.

FTFA:

Poor neighborhoods, Dr. Lee found, had nearly twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores as wealthier ones, and they had more than three times as many corner stores per square mile. But they also had nearly twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile.

Find me a supermarket or large-scale grocer that doesn't sell fresh produce.


What an interesting metric. This almost sounds like science unless you start asking too many questions. What is the population density of a poor neighborhood vs a not-poor neighborhood. What are the differences in zoning between the two? What are the differences in vehicle ownership?

All good questions, but more importantly, who paid for the study?
 
2012-04-19 10:12:47 AM  

jehovahs witness protection: sweetmelissa31: GAT_00: These studies completely miss the point.

No kidding. Is anyone advocating for more supermarkets in poor neighborhoods? The problems are:

-Poor kids who rely on school meals do not have healthy options
-The prices of meat and starch are deflated due to government subsidies
-A single mother working all day does not have time to buy healthful ingredients and cook a meal from scratch. Much easier to buy fast food

You haven't bought meat at the grocery store lately have you?


Compare the cost of factory farm beef to pasture fed beef - that's what real beef costs.
 
2012-04-19 10:13:34 AM  
Ahh yes. Dear Republicans, please change your motto to "the party of logical fallacies". Becaus its obvious personal responsibility means nothing to you.
 
2012-04-19 10:14:36 AM  

jehovahs witness protection: You haven't bought meat at the grocery store lately have you?


Actually no because I am a vegetarian. But I'm talking about the low quality meat.
 
2012-04-19 10:16:01 AM  
brb mom! Walking a couple miles through the inner city to get some carrots!
 
2012-04-19 10:17:37 AM  
The Pathmark and Save-A-Lot in the article are on the very edge of Camden, in an industrial area, serving only the Fairview Village section of the city. They are across the street from each other, and are only a few hundred yards from the southern tip of Camden. (Rt 130 and Collings Ave)

As the only supermarkets in the city limits for many years, the NYT picked a very shameful example of the availability of healthy foods. This isn't even an oasis in a food desert, it is an unreachable island in an ocean of blight.
 
2012-04-19 10:18:13 AM  

jehovahs witness protection: You haven't bought meat at the grocery store lately have you?


You haven't bought meat not at the grocery store lately, have you?
 
2012-04-19 10:18:16 AM  

jehovahs witness protection: sweetmelissa31: GAT_00: These studies completely miss the point.

No kidding. Is anyone advocating for more supermarkets in poor neighborhoods? The problems are:

-Poor kids who rely on school meals do not have healthy options
-The prices of meat and starch are deflated due to government subsidies
-A single mother working all day does not have time to buy healthful ingredients and cook a meal from scratch. Much easier to buy fast food

You haven't bought meat at the grocery store lately have you?


This just in: A product can be both expensive and heavily subsidized.

consumingspokane.typepad.com
 
2012-04-19 10:20:00 AM  

GAT_00: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: It doesn't look like the study examined physical access as much as proximity, i.e., I live a mile away from a grocery store, but in order to get there I need to go over a ravine, across a bridge, and up the other side of a hill to get there. That may not be a problem in flatter cities with regular street grids, but for topographically enhanced areas, it's a real challenge.

It's even worse if you're relying on public transportation to get you there.

I may have to steal topographically enhanced.


Me too, perhaps for some of the intermission ladies in tonight's hockey thread.
 
2012-04-19 10:25:14 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: GAT_00: I may have to steal topographically enhanced.

Works well with "Reticulating Splines"


I believe it's safe to say that my ex-wife developed a topographically enhanced ass during our marriage.
 
2012-04-19 10:26:09 AM  

dittybopper: Find me a supermarket or large-scale grocer that doesn't sell fresh produce.


Clearly you don't hang out in the hood.
 
2012-04-19 10:29:40 AM  

CatPeople: The Pathmark and Save-A-Lot in the article are on the very edge of Camden, in an industrial area, serving only the Fairview Village section of the city. They are across the street from each other, and are only a few hundred yards from the southern tip of Camden. (Rt 130 and Collings Ave)

As the only supermarkets in the city limits for many years, the NYT picked a very shameful example of the availability of healthy foods. This isn't even an oasis in a food desert, it is an unreachable island in an ocean of blight.


You can tell from the clientele in the picture that this supermarket isn't in these parts of Camden:
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-04-19 10:30:55 AM  

sweetmelissa31: jehovahs witness protection: You haven't bought meat at the grocery store lately have you?

Actually no because I am a vegetarian. But I'm talking about the low quality meat.


but animals are tasty.. and healthier when eaten in correct quantities not deep fat fried!


/we're omnivores, dammit.
 
2012-04-19 10:31:17 AM  

actualhuman: Compare the cost of factory farm beef to pasture fed beef - that's what real beef costs.


I've found grass fed, pasture raised at $5/lb... but then again, we had to by an entire cow and a freezer to stick it in. (Usually it's closer to $9/lb.)
 
2012-04-19 10:32:08 AM  

hillbillypharmacist: jehovahs witness protection: You haven't bought meat at the grocery store lately have you?

You haven't bought meat not at the grocery store lately, have you?


Does a specialty butcher count?
 
2012-04-19 10:33:35 AM  

GAT_00: dittybopper: GAT_00: 1) The NYT did not do either of the studies, they are reporting on two studies
2) The only study with detail simply notes that there are restaurants and markets within the inner cities. In no way did it attempt to verify what is actually sold in those markets, which is what people have advocated is the problem all along - that while stores exist, they don't actually sell fresh produce.

These studies completely miss the point.

FTFA:

Poor neighborhoods, Dr. Lee found, had nearly twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores as wealthier ones, and they had more than three times as many corner stores per square mile. But they also had nearly twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile.

Find me a supermarket or large-scale grocer that doesn't sell fresh produce.

I'd cite the previous studies on the subject that show exact that - grocers that don't sell produce.


I don't think you read the article. FTFA:

For example, some researchers looked at neighborhood food outlets but did not have data on how fat residents were. Others examined small areas, like part of a single city and extrapolated to the entire nation. Others had a different problem. They looked at much bigger areas like ZIP codes, which include people of diverse incomes, making it hard to know what happened in pockets of poverty within those regions.

Some researchers counted only fast food restaurants and large supermarkets, missing small grocers who sold produce. Some tallied food outlets per 1,000 residents, which made densely populated urban areas appear to have fewer places per person to buy food. A more meaningful measure, Dr. Lee said, is the distance to the nearest stores.


For example, Michele Obama made a speech in Chicago's South Side saying people had to often take two buses and maybe a taxi to get to a place that sells fresh produce. I took a look at that area in Google Earth, filtering for just grocery stores, and I was hard pressed to find anywhere that was more than a mile from a decent sized store (which one would expect to have fresh produce). A mile takes, at a leisurely pace, maybe 20 to 30 minutes to walk.

You might not be able to buy fresh organic arugula at those markets, but I'm betting you can get at least frozen vegetables, and basic fresh produce.

Also, assuming that "food deserts" are real and not some artifact of advocacy research, it doesn't account for the choices that people make: Grocers won't carry what people won't buy, because it costs them money. If the people in that area won't buy fresh fruit or vegetables, grocers won't carry them. Unlike canned or frozen foods, fresh produce goes bad in a relatively short amount of time. If there isn't a significant amount of people buying them on a regular basis, no retailer is going to want to continually throw money away. Making them available doesn't necessarily mean people are going to *BUY* them.
 
2012-04-19 10:36:28 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: actualhuman: Compare the cost of factory farm beef to pasture fed beef - that's what real beef costs.

I've found grass fed, pasture raised at $5/lb... but then again, we had to by an entire cow and a freezer to stick it in. (Usually it's closer to $9/lb.)


You can save money by buying whole-carcass? INCONCEIVABLE!
 
2012-04-19 10:38:55 AM  

Nabb1: Does a specialty butcher count?


I dunno, I guess it depends where they get their meat. I was thinking of a local farmer. That can be expensive even when they don't adhere to some kind of organic super-nice-to-the-animals thing.

We did have a local 'farmer' who was selling supposedly local bacon. Turns out he was buying Cargill bacon and repackaging it into white paper. The USDA is on him now.
 
2012-04-19 10:42:04 AM  
That's it. I'm voting for Cindy McCain.
 
2012-04-19 10:47:57 AM  

actualhuman: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: actualhuman: Compare the cost of factory farm beef to pasture fed beef - that's what real beef costs.

I've found grass fed, pasture raised at $5/lb... but then again, we had to by an entire cow and a freezer to stick it in. (Usually it's closer to $9/lb.)

You can save money by buying whole-carcass? INCONCEIVABLE!


You have to *really* like beef though. I'm not disagreeing with your point, BTW... I'm just proud I found good quality beef for $5/lb. I recognize that what I'm describing is not feasible for most people.
 
2012-04-19 10:47:59 AM  

hillbillypharmacist: We did have a local 'farmer' who was selling supposedly local bacon. Turns out he was buying Cargill bacon and repackaging it into white paper. The USDA is on him now.


I'd be pissed beyond words. Don't mess with a man and his pork.
 
2012-04-19 10:49:44 AM  

Nabb1: I'd be pissed beyond words. Don't mess with a man and his pork.


It was good bacon, too. He was buying for probably $2/lb and selling for $5 or $6.
 
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