Letters to the Editor: Eliminate food deserts in the state

Letters to the Editor: Eliminate  food deserts  in the state
August 27
00:00 2015

To the Editor:

There are more than 340 food deserts across 80 counties in North Carolina. These deserts are defined as communities with limited resources of fresh, healthy and affordable food.  

Food deserts affect the overall health of North Carolina citizens, young and old.  This makes it difficult for people with limited mobility or no transportation to get the nutritional food they need to be healthy.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Department of Sociology and Criminology noted that North Carolina has the fifth-highest rate of food insecurity in the United States. Communities with limited access to fresh produce and other healthy food see higher rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Supermarkets certainly offer nutritious food for many, but not every community has a supermarket. That’s where community partnerships and legislative action can help.  

We need to work together to get healthy food to low-income areas or to people with limited mobility through food banks, farmers markets, farm stands and corner stores.  Strong legislation like that sponsored by my colleague Representative Yvonne Holley (D-Wake) helps strengthen these efforts and promote broad partnership.

The scourge of hunger and food insecurity can be cured by creating sources of healthy food in every low-income neighborhood and giving opportunities to people to provide for themselves.

This bill addresses food insecurity and has helped drive awareness and discussion about solutions. The initiative to help mom-and-pop convenience stores sell fresh, nutritious food aids businesses and farmers and can improve public health.  North Carolina companies have taken the initiative to provide some of the funds we desperately need for refrigeration and fresh, healthy food to help eliminate food deserts.

Access is critical.  It’s time for us to work together to take these nutritional basics to the poor.  I encourage all North Carolinians to volunteer at their local food banks, donate food or money, and call their state representatives.  Every action will draw us closer to our ultimate goal:  The elimination food deserts in our state.


Rep. Edward F. Hanes Jr.

North Carolina General Assembly

District 72


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