Food Deserts Causing a Drought of Healthy Food in Duluth

By KBJR News 1

February 15, 2012 Updated Feb 15, 2012 at 11:18 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- Research has revealed a lack of access to food supplies in some parts of Duluth.

One University of Minnesota-Duluth Professor has labeled Lincoln Park and the West end of Duluth food deserts after months of surveys and research.

Food Desert can be defined as a low income neighborhood that has poor access to healthy and affordable food but does has access to fast food.

Lincoln Park and the west end of Duluth fall into this category with the closet grocery store three miles away.

Professor Pine's study reveals that 15 percent of people in that area have significance barriers to acquiring healthy food, and often have to grocery shop at gas stations where food is limited and expensive.

This 15 percent of the population has to borrow a car, take a bus or a taxi to get to a grocery store.

Most make the trip only once or twice a month.

Pine says these barriers are forcing some Duluthians to eat unhealthy food which can lead to dietary consequences.

"People that don't have access to a secure source of healthy food, they tend to eat more unhealthy diets, and that's then connected to obesity, diabetes and all sorts of health problems later on."

Many Lincoln Park residents today and almost 100 percent of them said a neighborhood grocery store is needed, and hasbeen needed for years.

UMD researchers are in the middle of investigating the Morgan Park region, where they feel the problem could be worse than in Lincoln Park.

Professor Pine says the people in Morgan Park have an even longer trip to get to a grocery store than those in the West end