Debunking the “food desert” myth

No, this isn’t the first time the fashionable, First-Lady-approved theory has been debunked — see posts here, here, and here — but it’s gratifying to see the NYT’s formidable Gina Kolata get front-page space for a thorough treatment. One study found poor neighborhoods “had nearly twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile” as wealthier ones; another “found no relationship between what type of food students said they ate, what they weighed, and the type of food within a mile and a half of their homes.” [Tyler Cowen, Jacob Sullum] And Katherine Mangu-Ward notes the juxtaposition of Kolata’s piece with an opinion piece in the paper the very same day: “Food Deserts Are Not Real. Also, We Can Fix Them.”

One Comment

  • My anecdoral take on the one study which sited Camden NJ:

    I work in Trenton NJ and Camden NJ and live relatively near to Camden.

    The article cites to the Pathmark and Sav-A-lot supermarkets in Camden. I would have never guessed that either of these stores were in Camden. (They are indeed within city borders). They are both located far closer to the upper-middle-class suburb of Collingswood than to downtown Camden, about 5 miles by highway from downtown in fact.

    “Wedged in” among fast fooderies seems to me an inapt descriptor as these stores are not wedged in to town at all but rather hanging onto the [out]skirts of the town.