Searching for a healthy oasis in a food desert

A map of the Athen's food desert. Photo credit: The U.S. Department of Agriculture

A map of the Athen’s food desert. Photo credit: The U.S. Department of Agriculture

Imagine craving candied pecans. They are utterly unavailable without a car. Not only can students not meet specific cravings, but they also are left with sparse resources for a multitude of other healthy food items, such as vegetables. A student attempting to eat a healthy diet by consuming whole foods is completely out of luck.

Ohio University is a food desert and the majority of campus suffers. A “food desert” is a zone where little affordable and healthy food exists and is not easily accessible to the population.

Currently, the United States Department of Agriculture recognizes the majority of campus as a food desert zone. The campus’ three markets, CVS and occasional farmers’ market are the only ways to buy food within walking distance for many students. OU is currently attempting to battle the problem.

Ohio University Culinary Services strives to not only provide a variety of quality food options to the student population, but to make these options easily accessible as well,” Dan Pittman, assistant director of OU auxiliary sales, said.

Culinary Services ensures that students have access to various dining options; the campus is flooded with already prepared options. Baker Center offers West 82, Latitude 39 and he Front Room, all areas that students can use Flex Points or Bobcat Cash to purchase different food items. That list, paired with the availability of restaurants up town, is not enough.

In order to  fight  the food desert, Culinary Services renovated Nelson Dining Hall and gave students the first market to buy fresh produce. The new addition set a landmark achievement in the world of dining hall markets.

“Fresh fruit sales (at Nelson) have been immensely popular, and we continue to restock our shelves on a near-daily basis,” Pittman said.

However, even with the revamped market, some students still feel a lack in their daily nutrition intake.

“It is hard to get anything but fast food…I think it is hard to find nutrition at all,” sophomore Kelli Oliver said.

Busy Day Market on Stimson Avenue also offers fresh local food, but the market is a far distance from many dorms. Students often have to go the extra mile and spend the extra cash to live a healthy lifestyle.

Campus market prices are generally overpriced compared to the local Kroger’s. Nelson’s market sells 24 bottles of water at $9.05 whereas Kroger sells a comparable item at $2.99. Also, Nelson market offers an 8-count of Poptarts for $3.89 in which Kroger sells a box of 12 Poptarts for $3.09.

In addition, students without Flex meal plans commonly avoid using the market to save money.

“I just do dining halls or what I get from the grocery stores. I make my mom come down. I  just live 20 minutes away,” sophomore Matt Weaver explained.

The closest large-scale grocery stores, Kroger and Wal-Mart, are located about 3 miles away. Though not the most convenient, students make do with the resources available. Without cars, some students alternatively bike or run the distance, leaving them without options in the winter.

“When I ride my bike to Wal-Mart, I just throw stuff in my backpack. I can take three 2-liters and milk,” sophomore Tyler Lucas said.

While the first step to solving the issue has been made, there is still  a long way to go. The next step will include convenient prices and another large-scale store closer to campus.

Where do YOU shop for healthy foods? Tell us in the comments!

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Searching for a healthy oasis in a food desert

  1. I was excited to find this page. I want to to thank you for your
    time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every little bit of it
    and I have you saved as a favorite to look at new things on your
    website.

  2. What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I
    have found It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads.
    I’m hoping to contribute & help other users like its aided me. Great job.

  3. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyways, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  4. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a
    famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  5. Huhu! Ich bin wirklich beeindruckt über diesen Text.
    Dafür möchte ich mich auf jedenfall noch bedanken!

    Kann ich davon ausgehen, dass das Geschriebene hier auch weiterhin
    den gültigen Inhalt beschreibt? Oder ist dies jetzt veraltet?
    Wenn ja, dann möchte ich das sehr gerne mitbekommen,
    wenn das gehen würde. Vielen Dank im Vorraus!

  6. It’s perfect time to make a few plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.
    I have learn this submit and if I could I want to counsel you few fascinating issues or advice.

    Maybe you could write next articles relating to this article.
    I want to learn more things about it!

  7. I am really impressed along with your writing skills and also with the structure on your blog.
    Is that this a paid topic or did you customize it your self?
    Anyway stay up the nice high quality writing, it is uncommon
    to see a great weblog like this one today..

  8. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it
    up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any helpful hints for first-time blog writers?
    I’d really appreciate it.

Leave a Reply to XLS Medical Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s