It’s time to take another look at Food Deserts. I addressed this farce-of-a-program in my previous article The Great Food Desert Caper but thought it worthy of another look, this time with a little more investigation.
Michelle Obama and her minions would have you believe a large part of the U.S. population (some 23 million of them), are languishing away in the cities and burbs because they have poor access to grocery stores. It conjures up these kinds of images.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
What exactly defines a FoodDesert?
Let’s refer to the Governments own definition:
“While there are many ways to define a food desert” Wow, they’ve started off with double-talk in the first sentence! No, there are not many ways to define it, it’s been defined in the same sentence.
“the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Working Group considers a food desert as a low-income census tract where a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store.”
O.k. granted the definition is vague at best so it can be changed on a whim as this administration desires should changes be needed. But it does center on two points, or one requirement, to qualify as a Food Desert.
- The area must be “a low-income census tract.”
- “A substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store.” And “low access” is defined as an area more than 1 mile from a supermarket store in urban areas.
So from this a Food Desert was defined by distance, but the Obama Administration realized that they would not be able to give away enough tax money by the single definition so they added a whole list of definitions (as can be seen if you scroll down the same page under the Heading):
Definitions of Indicators Mapped to Food Deserts
I decided to research it on the ground, in person, to further expose this farce of a program.
I chose a city which I am well familiar with and live close to for my investigation.
Taking a map from the Food Desert Locator Website
Focusing on 2 of the 3 shaded areas in the Tuscaloosa, Al map, I have put 3 numbers on the map and the legend is as follows:
1. Food World (a full service grocery store).
2. WalmartSuperCenter with a Sam’s Wholesale club next door.
3. Food World (a full service grocery store and quite possibly the largest grocery store in the entire city).
The circles drawn indicate the 1 mile radius from each grocery store. As indicated earlier, urban areas outside the 1 mile radius would qualify as a potential “Food Desert.”
In our illustration you can see that stores 1 and 2 cover most of the 2 areas designated as “Food Deserts,” and there is a large area that is overlapped by 2 of the 3 stores, with a smaller area overlapped by all 3!
In the shaded area to the left of store #1(outside of the 1 mile radius circles) only 1/3rd of that area is residential. 2/3rds of it is commercial property.
In the shaded area below store #2 (outside of the 1 mile radius) less than 1/5th of this area is residential. The rest includes the county landfill and commercial property.
There seems to be no shortage of vehicles in any of these areas indicated. There are about 70% houses and 30% apartments in the 2 “Food Deserts,” and half of those apartments are housing projects. But there seems to be no shortage of vehicles at either.
But since the shaded areas have been designated as “Food Deserts” by the Federal Government the residents of these areas are largely pre-qualified for SNAP benefits and more. Is that fair?
This administration is all too ready to expand the welfare rolls, and this prequalification makes it easier to do.
Look at the title of the October 2011 edition of Benefits.gov
Do You Live in a “Food Desert”?
If you do you shouldn’t feel bad (insert mine):
“An estimated 23 million people live more than one mile (more than 10 miles in rural areas) from a supermarket or large grocery store in America today.”
And we want you to feel better so (insert mine):
“You can also use our confidential Benefit Finder to learn which benefits you may be eligible to receive out of more than 1,000 Federal and state benefits sponsored by 17 Federal agencies.”
The key parts of this: “you may be eligible to receive” and “more than 1,000 Federal and state benefits.”
Prequalification at it’s best!
Now that we’ve defined the Food Deserts, what kind of money are we talking about (besides SNAP and the other giveaways suggested in the Benefit Finder)?
“$400 million Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which will bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities across America.”
Let’s take a closer look at the Healthy Food Financing Initiative:
Two points of interest in this document:
The Leadership Structure
USDA, Treasury and HHS will create the Healthy Food Financing Working Group comprised of senior policy officials and program staff from each department, with policy oversight from the Domestic Policy Council and in consultation with the First Lady’s office.
Where is it written that the first lady has authority to initiate, consult, and/or oversee any kind of government program? And under what authority is Michelle Obama authorized to manage or dispense any government funds or to have any say so in their disbursement?
We went through this during theClintonyears when Hillary Clinton took it upon herself to reform the Healthcare system and she was told she had no authority to undertake such a project. How is it then the Michelle Obama has the authority for this project?
And how is the funding going to be distributed?
It will be issued to blind funding outlets with different names and spread out over the country through the CDFIF (Community Development Financial Institutions Fund) to the tune of $275 million.
Thankfully this funding was held up to begin with, but the Obama Administration will continue to press for this $400 million. They will just hide it in some other place or change the name of it. Michelle Obama did get $32 million in seed money to get started. And where is this money being spent?
According to Obamafoodorama (warning this link is to a liberal rag).
We will continue to follow this project because I feel this is only the beginning of this story.
I indicated in my previous story this Food Desert program was a farce, and this map is proof! Not only do the 2 areas NOT meet the definition of a true Food Desert by distance, they do not meet the definition of a Food Desert by tract census either!
This whole program is just another way to expand the already bloated welfare system in this country under the guise of making sure people have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
I challenge you to use the Food Desert locator map to find designated Food Deserts in your city or town and see if your research reveals the same blatant lie that mine did.