In recent years the term “Food Desert” has become popular. Exactly what is a “Food Desert”?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “food deserts” as areas where people live more
than 1 mile from a supermarket in urban areas, or ten miles away in rural areas. This often
translates into families shopping at ‘mini-marts’ or gas stations for their routine groceries
creating poor access to healthy food. The Center for Disease reports that “food deserts,” areas
characterized by relatively poor access to healthy and affordable food, may contribute to social
disparities in diet and diet-related health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity .
Although the term “food desert” can mean an absence of retail food in a defined area, studies
of “food deserts” more commonly assess differential accessibility to healthy and affordable
food between socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged areas.
Several areas in Prince George's County are identified as “food deserts”. Included in the list
of food desert areas are Suitland, Camp Springs, Temple Hills, Capitol Heights and areas
adjacent to or near Andrews Air Force Base. The absence of nutritious foods creates a
challenge for the citizens living in these areas. Prince George's County government reports that
the existence of farmers markets can be a great help. Studies continually show that food and
produce purchased at Farmer’s Markets are a more healthy choice than foods purchased at
grocery stores. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend to their clients to purchase fresh
food from a farmer’s market when available.
The Beltway Church of Christ, located at 6000 Davis Blvd, Camp Spring, MD is within a food
desert. Because we are dedicated to supporting our neighbors, our Healthcare Ministry will be
hosting four farmers markets this year. We are partnering with Greater Baden Medical
Services and Shlagel Farms to offer the community the opportunity to purchase fresh, healthy
foods straight off the farm. We encourage you to visit the Farmer’s Market from 10:00 a.m. –
1:00 p.m. on the dates listed on the attached flier.
Submitted by Mae Johnson, Healthcare Ministry