When your city is a food desert
New Mexico ranks dead last among states in child hunger. Most of Grant County, a sparsely populated area in the southwestern corner of the state, has been classified by the USDA as a food desert. Of 25 stores surveyed, only 7 sold produce. “We did an assessment of what’s available at stores, and you can buy a lottery ticket and dog food more easily than fresh fruit,” says Kendra Milligan, a local health coordinator. “And if you live in a rural area and don’t have a car, you might only be able to go to the local gas station.”
Solution: plant fruit trees in public places around the city
The Grant County Community Health Council decided to address the lack of fresh produce by planting fruit trees around the city. They have selected 20 public areas – schools, parks, and government buildings – where they will plant 10-20 fruit trees in the spring. Fruit is free for the picking, and any excess produce can be gathered by local food banks.
- Silver City Sun News | How one nonprofit is trying to combat childhood hunger in Grant County