-- For more than 40 years, residents of North Philadelphia's East Germantown neighborhood had no place to buy healthy, affordable food. The nearest grocery store was a 20-minute bus ride away. The neighborhood corner stores were filled with unhealthy, and often expensive, options. Fast-food wrappers littered the streets.
And residents' health suffered.
Nationally, almost one out of every six children between ages 2 and 19 is obese, a number that has tripled in the years since a grocery store last served the East Germantown community. In East Germantown, almost one out of every two children is overweight or obese. The number of people suffering from other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, is also high.
The story of this Philadelphia neighborhood is not unique. It is the story of the thousands of communities, both urban and rural, all across the country that lack access to healthy, affordable food. And it is the story of the nearly 30 million Americans, the United States Department of Agriculture reports, live more than a mile from the nearest grocery store.
For more than 20 years, The Food Trust has worked with partners to improve food access throughout neighborhoods in Philadelphia and across the country. The Food Trust's comprehensive approach includes improving food environments and teaching nutrition education in schools, working with corner store owners to increase healthy offerings and helping customers make healthier choices, managing farmers' markets in communities that lack access to affordable produce and encouraging other fresh food retail development in underserved communities.