Eating healthier foods isn’t a matter of individual choice if there isn’t a reasonable choice to begin with. That’s the upshot of a recent community-driven effort to implement the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey in Maryvale and Canyon Corridor. Less than a third of stores in the 38 square mile survey area offered healthy options like fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and healthy meats. On top of that, affordability was poor: out of 21 possible points, stores averaged a score of 1.
Solutions to the issue of providing healthy, affordable foods won’t be simultaneously quick and obvious. There are quick options, like planting community gardens. There are obvious steps, like convincing businesses to offer more healthy and affordable foods. It will take public-private partnerships, projects of different shapes and sizes and policies that address the overall built environment. Does that sound like a general plan to you?