I live in East Nashville, which has quickly become one of the most gentrified areas of the city. There are houses that are being sold for close to $500,000 on the same block with Section 8 housing. The dichotomy of this extends beyond the property values to something more essential – food. A food desert is defined as any census tract that isn’t within half-mile to a mile of a full-service grocery store or supermarket and are serviced instead by convenience and corner stores.
In East Nashville, the closest grocery store to the low income housing is a natural food market with prices geared towards the upper and middle income families that have moved into the neighborhood. The closest chain supermarket is about two miles away and due to the nature of Nashville’s public transit, would take four buses for a return trip. That leaves two convenience stores that are at least six blocks in either direction and neither carries a selection of fresh vegetables or fruit.
The solution to the issue of food deserts is multifaceted and requires not just access to affordable, fresh fruit and vegetables but education on how to prepare quick and meals using these items.