Wednesday, July 07, 2004

No supermarkets grow there 

Courtesy of Jeffrey Tucker from the Mises Institute, this story jas jad me laughing all night long: Residents do without in America's 'food deserts'. Dateline: Pittsburgh NH, which is up on the Canadian border. My friends and I used to go up there in the summer in high school so that we could go over to Canada in search of cheap Molson (more often returning with Old Vienna, actually.)
William Laste thinks nothing of driving more than 400 miles roundtrip to buy groceries, or of supplementing his shopping with fiddlehead ferns and dandelion greens gathered in fields near his home.

In this mountainous outpost of 870 people along the Canadian border, good food at fair prices is hard to find. There are no supermarkets, and the community�s two convenience stores offer little fresh produce and plenty of high prices.

Laste�s fixed income can�t accommodate $2.99 for his favorite cheesy crackers. He gets around it by combining shopping with monthly visits to friends in cities to the south, where the same crackers cost half the price.

�Up here, you�re so far out they�ve got you over a barrel,� the 69-year-old retired plumber said recently. �I couldn�t afford to shop up here.�

Such is life in �food deserts,� increasingly common rural � and sometimes urban � areas where supermarkets with healthy and affordable food are many miles away.
Oh the inhumanity! And wouldn't you know it, at the end of this sob story comes the inevitable:
[Andy] Fisher
[executive director, Community Food Security Coalition, Venice, Calif.] thinks the blame � and responsibility for fixing the problem � goes to local and state governments, few of which have recognized supermarket access as a basic need.

�They haven�t really focused on food as being a public issue,� he said. �Planning departments aren�t out there drawing maps of where there are food deserts.�
Somehow all I could think of is Sam Kinison.
Stop sending these people food. Send them U-Hauls! Nah! Send me. Everybody on board! We'll make one trip. See this stuff! (he is scooping up imaginary SAND) Nothing grows in this S---! Nothing's gonna grow in this S---! Get your kids, get everyone aboard! I'll take you where the FOOD IS!!!! You live in a f(ood) Desert!
Oops, edited just a bit.