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Extension helping to put an end to urban food deserts

photo of community garden

Community gardens such as this one are helping Richmond City residents combat the challenges posed by food deserts.

The young woman named Special from Richmond City had no idea she was in an urban food desert when she walked in to a Virginia Cooperative Extension symposium set up to tackle the problem.

Special’s father had recently died from a heart attack and she was looking for ways that her family could start eating healthy, so she attended the event at Fifth Street Baptist Church that featured a number of tips on eating well. Special not only learned that she was one of the thousands of Richmond residents living in a food desert, she also learned how she can work with VCE to combat the issue.

“Today’s event has really inspired me to get involved to work with VCE and others to address this concern,” she told her local Extension agent.

There are more than 25 food deserts in Richmond, where people do not have easy access to fresh and nutritious food within 1.5 miles of their homes. Though grocery stores or farmers markets may be accessible by car, many people do not have a means to get to one, so they are dependent upon their corner store, which often carries fast or junk food.

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