This information was prepared as background material for a lecture at the Watsonville Public Library given by Kristal Caballero, Executive Director of the Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes on Monday, November 9, 2015.
How Can an Agriculturally Abundant Area Be Considered a Food Desert? Read and listen to the resources below to learn more about the connections between food justice, food security, and nutrition.
Food security is a situation in which all people at all times have access to adequate quantities of safe and nutritious food to lead a healthy and active life.
Food deserts "are defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease." (USDA)
Watsonville is defined as a food desert because it meets the low-income and low-access thresholds (at least 500 persons and/or at least 33% of the census tract's population live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.)
What Being a Food Desert Means
The 2010 White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity cited research that limited access to healthy, affordable food choices often leads to poor diets and high levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. People living in food deserts also face higher levels of food insecurity, increasing the number of low - and moderate-income families without access to enough food to sustain healthy, active lives.