I regularly travel to different cities in the United States. I think about food as I drive through poor neighborhoods because the choices are so stark: fast food and junk food are all that's available in whole stretches of urban poverty. Whether it's Chicago or Baltimore, Philadelphia or Atlanta, what's obvious is that the poorer the neighborhood, the fewer food choices available. I drove through a stretch of urban decay in Philadelphia last week and as I drove I looked and looked for a grocery store. I didn't see one. What I saw were fast food restaurants and corner convenience stores with cigarettes, beer, lottery tickets and junk food. I didn't see a store where you could buy a sack of flour, yeast, lettuce, whole tomatoes, potatoes or cabbage.
Fast food is expensive food, too. Dinner for five at McDonald's costs more than making dinner at home, and the McDonald's food isn't good for us, either. Good, healthy food is the cheapest food.
And what are the public health costs of not eating well? People living in poor neighborhoods with a preponderance of fast food restaurants are also the least insured. Obesity, diabetes, and other health risks associated with a poor diet are exacerbated by insufficient health care. The people with the least access to quality health care are the same people exposed to the worst food choices.
birch and grasses alone on the snow, grey sky indistinguishable. the flat world falls into the edge of time, lifeless, dull wedge of horizon and soundless ...