Access to grocery stores, a critical component food security, has consistently been linked to better health outcomes. Full-service grocery stores stock fresh fruits and vegetables daily and have competitive prices. However, in West Tallahatchie and other food insecure areas, the primary source of food is from convenience stores that sell a lot of processed, unhealthy foods. Research data supports the link between a community’s location in a food desert and negative health impacts. These same areas – usually low-income, communities of color, and rural areas – often have the most trouble attracting full-service grocery stores. This fact sheet outlines the activities of a Dow Fellows team, from the University of Michigan, and how they engaged people in the community to document the needs and the barriers that hindered previous local food security initiatives.
Keywords: Poverty, food access, food insecurity, empowerment, Dow Fellows Program