Lyft to help Atlanta residents living in food deserts

Lyft and the city of Atlanta are partnering to address food scarcity issues in 300 households, according to a news release Monday. 

As part of a six-month pilot program, the ride share company will partner with three organizations — Wholesome Wave Georgia, the Georgia Farmer’s Market Association and Community Farmers Markets — to identify low-income Atlanta families who live in food deserts. 

Food deserts are defined as low-income communities lacking a grocery store in a one-mile radius from its neighborhood. 

In 2017, 36 percent of Atlanta was classified as a food desert, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A quarter of Atlanta residents have to travel more than a half-mile to get fresh fruits and vegetables. 


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“Everyone should have access to fresh and healthy foods, and we recognize that grocery shopping comes with many challenges in some neighborhoods,” Lyft general manager Sam Bond said in the release. “We want to help give families access to the healthy foods they need by easing the burden of traveling to food retailers.” 

Participating families will receive eight rides per month to grocers. They will pay between $2 and $10 per ride.

Lyft launched its program in Atlanta after first having success in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. There, the program provided residents in Wards 7 and 8 — areas were a combined 81 percent of residents live in food deserts — with travel services for as low as $2.50. 

Transit system MARTA launched similar efforts to address food deserts by providing a farmer’s market at select train stations throughout the year. 


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