A food desert is a place where people cannot easily find cheap and healthy food. Food deserts can exist anywhere. An example of a food desert is a big city neighborhood with many residents but no grocery stores. Often, the closest available place to buy food is a convenience store or a fast food restaurant. Because this is usually unhealthy and high in calories, people who live in this area might suffer from health problems such as obesity or diabetes. People in these areas need to travel by car to a supermarket in order to find healthier food. Unfortunately, many of the people who live in food deserts are poor so they cannot afford one.
Recently, some charities and organizations have tried to reduce the number of food deserts in many American cities. Michelle Obama, the wife of US President Barack Obama, has started a campaign called “Let’s Move.” This initiative offers money and other incentives to help encourage new supermarkets to open in food deserts. In places like Chicago, activists have opened small fruit and vegetable shops in food deserts. They also hold cooking classes to teach people how to make healthy meals. New York City has started a program called Green Carts where cheap fruit and vegetables are sold from mobile carts on the street. The number of these is rapidly increasing throughout the city’s food deserts.