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Food desert survey shows status of fresh food access in Birmingham

August 11, 2010

Results of a survey of access to fresh foods, sponsored in part by a grant from your Community Foundation, were released today as part of the Health Action Summit 2010. Mari Gallagher, whose firm served as consultant for the Main Street Birmingham project, was keynote speaker for the afternoon session.

As reported in today’s News, more than a third of those who live within the city limits (including 22,000 children) live where there is no easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The News’ report includes a video of one transit rider’s experience as he rides the bus three times a week to buy his groceries.

Access is a big issue, say experts, because the fresh foods that help us live healthier lives are often more costly as well as harder to find. As walking guru Mark Fenton said in the Summit’s opening session, such issues affect poorer residents far more, especially when they are isolated by lack of effective public transportation.

Look for the lessons from the Health Action Summit to affect our whole community, as attendees do what Fenton urged and spend time on activities that will make a last difference in creating opportunities for physical activity, improved nutrition and elimination of tobacco use. This is all part of the work of the Jefferson County Health Department, sponsor of the Summit and a creator of the Health Action Partnership, which includes your Community Foundation.

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