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Introduction & Food Deserts | SOCY 327 – Week 1

Introduction

 Hello! My name is Jaelyn Pride and I am a junior here at VCU majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. My professional goals include going to grad school for counseling psychology with hopes of becoming a counseling psychologist that works with preventing different health issues and encouraging healthy behaviors over all. I chose this course because I think it will be a helpful aid in what I hope to do professionally. A few fun facts about me is that I’ve loved music and singing since being young, as I’ve always been in some sort of choir whether it be at church or school. I also have a big love and interest with anything to do with astronomy. Over all, I consider myself to be a pretty laid back individual who just loves to spend time with family and friends and much of my free time is spent listening to music, reading, and/or watching Netflix.

My Instagram username is @jpridesocy

Social Issue

 An issue that I care much about is gender equality and women’s rights. Over time our society has come a long way with viewing women as equals to men, however that does not mean we are anywhere near where we should be in 2019 as far as how our society views women and their place in society. There are still issues such as unequal pay, unequal advancing in careers, laws that prevent women from making their own decisions about their own bodies, and the overall viewpoint from society that women are unable to do some of the same tasks that men are able to do. As a young woman who is coming into world as a working professional but also just simply a woman in this world, it is often discouraging to see the inequality of women that is plagued around society. However, I am encouraged by women’s rights leaders and figures such as Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai, and others who bring awareness to girls and women all around the world that they are capable of doing anything they want to do regardless of what society says they should do.  The video I’ve attached is of Michelle Obama discussing women’s rights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIN1F0TyadM

 

 

Food Deserts 

A. Definition and Scope 

A food desert is an area that does not have easy access to affordable and healthy, fresh foods. Food deserts are often in minority or urban communities that are  low-come and in many cases impoverished. These areas usually also contain many fast food restaurants or convenient stores where it is very difficult to obtain healthy options at all, but especially at an affordable cost. Because of the lack of affordable, healthy options, people living in food deserts develop health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes among other preventable diseases. Over $70 billion is spent on healthcare in the United States yearly, but this can be lowered with implementing more fresh foods especially in food deserts. Of those who live in wealthier areas with a greater selection of healthy options, their chance of developing health issues decreases by 45%.

Image result for food desert

 

B. Data Analysis 

The Food Access Research Atlas is a tool provided by the United States government that allows people to locate food deserts across the country. It measures food availability by detecting where supermarkets are located and what sorts of foods are available in those supermarkets. It is often used by groups and organizations in the community who try to alleviate the lack of nutritious foods in food deserts.

 

C. Food Apartheid?

What stood out to me during Clint Smith’s spoken piece was how he described how children are effected by food deserts. Children in urban communities grow up not being aware of what it truly means to eat healthily and have fresh foods in their diet. They are a part of a cycle that began way before they were even born of institutionalized poverty and the problem of being ignored in minority communities. Karen Washington uses the term food “apartheid” because of the long history of inequality and lack of opportunity in minority communities. It is an injustice that not everyone in America has access and rights to healthy foods that will drastically change their lifestyle and wellbeing. Both of these pieces from Smith and Washington made me realize that food deserts are a part of America’s history of inequality and lack of empathy for those who are struggling to provide the best they can for their families. With good health being something that is so important and vital, it is unfortunate that not everyone gets the same opportunity to have healthy foods to eat, and thus living an overall healthy life.

 

D. Food Deserts in Virginia

“It’s about advocacy, public policy, and building political systems, social structures that build equity…” In watching the documentary I mainly took away that food deserts are areas that are characterized by poor, impoverished people with the injustice of not having healthy food options which adds to the many other problems in minority and urban communities across the United States. One solution that was attempted was a program called Lynchburg Grows and Renew Richmond which helps to bring fresh foods to urban communities that lack them. “This an epidemic, and everyone needs to recognize that it is a threat to human health and development.”

E. Reflections 

What I took away from this whole topic was that there are people who live not that far away from where I am that struggle to find foods that are essential to their good health and over all well being. Many of the problems regarding food deserts starts with simple advocacy and education about why healthy food options are so important. We also need to be aware that our political system makes it increasingly difficult for impoverished areas to have the same opportunities as wealthier areas. It all comes down to equality of opportunity.

 

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