October 28th, 2010
Terrence P. Jeffrey, CNSNews.com
First Lady Michelle Obama has called on Congress to create a $400 million-a-year program to encourage the establishment of supermarkets in places she calls “food deserts.”
The situation in these “food deserts,” as Mrs. Obama describes it, is quite dire indeed. American children are growing fat because their parents cannot get to a supermarket—to buy fruits and vegetables—without undergoing the hardship of boarding a bus or riding a taxi. As a consequence, food-desert-dwelling children are forced to eat fast food and junk procured at chain restaurants and convenience stores…
In the 2008 farm bill, Congress mandated that the department conduct a $500,000 study of “food deserts.” The study—“Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences”—was published in June 2009.
The report demonstrates that Mrs. Obama’s depiction of American “food deserts” is fatuous at best. Lower-income Americans live closer to supermarkets than higher-income Americans…
There are 23.5 million people who live in “low income” areas that are more than a mile from the nearest supermarket. But more than half of these people are not low-income, and almost everyone in these areas–93.3 percent—drive their cars to the supermarket. On average, they spend 4.5 minutes more than the typical American traveling to the supermarket.