Food deserts are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as low-income communities located more than one mile from a reliable source of fresh produce and other healthy whole foods.
And nearly 2 million Georgia residents, including about 500,000 children, live in food deserts, according to a new three-part Atlanta Journal Constitution investigation.
“Most of our shopping is done from the carts where the markdowns are,” said Evie Sanders. “We can’t afford name brands.”
Sanders, along with her husband Ricky, eke out a living from $1,500 in monthly disability checks and $25 a month in food stamp. On a good day, if their used 2004 Honda Pilot isn’t on the blink, it takes them no more than 10 minutes to drive the 10 miles from their home in Cumming to the nearest Kroger.
The Sanders aren't alone: There are dozens of deserts across the metro area — in Decatur, Douglasville, Norcross and others.
And that's not all: "food insecurity" — the label given people who may live near a grocery store but can’t afford to buy food — is a statewide issue.
According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, 19 percent of all households in Georgia are food insecure. Even in affluent counties such as Cobb and Gwinnett, nearly 15 percent of households qualify as food insecure.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.