Even the liberal Boston Globe published an editorial that cast doubt on so-called food deserts.
“The so-called ‘food desert’ may actually be an untapped oasis,” The Globe editorialized.
But that won’t stop Michelle Obama from continuing to politicize food deserts while on her book tour.
Obama, to promote her new book American Grown, which NPR describes as “a diary of that garden through the seasons and a portrait of gardening in America, past and present” has been on “The View,” “The Daily Show,” and “Good Morning America” already, and there are many more mainstream bookings that are scheduled.
During her supposedly non-political book tour, the first lady has made it a point, like she did on NPR, to discuss so-called “food deserts.”
“I’d like to take a couple of those researchers and drop them in several neighborhoods where I grew up and say, ‘Go get a head of lettuce. One that’s affordable, that’s fresh’ — and see what happens,” she said on NPR.
But while there are areas — urban and rural — where people have to trek to get produce, the Obama administration has politicized food deserts, even creating a “food desert locator” that includes many “food deserts” that have multiple grocery stores within walking distance.
In fact, many people have been surprised to punch in their addresses into the “food desert locator” to find, unbeknownst to them, they are living in a government-designated “food desert.”
As the Globe noted, “The phrase originates with public health advocates, who connect child obesity rates in inner cities to a dearth of fresh produce and glut of unhealthy fast food in those areas,” but “food deserts aren’t as common as the rhetoric suggests.”
The editorial cites two recent studies that found urban areas “also had more large-scale supermarkets” and concludes, “the fact that ‘food deserts’ are not so arid after all has an upside: An oasis of healthy foods awaits America, even in inner cities, if people develop a taste for them.”