All About Food Access
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN defines food access as “access by individuals to adequate resources for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.” The concept basically encompasses the ways someone can or cannot access healthy food. The Sustainable Food Center separates this into four aspects of food access:
- Geographic access: “Can you get the food?” Some neighborhoods may have limited access to grocery stores or other places where fresh food may be sold.
- Affordability: “Can you afford the food you want to buy?”
- Availability: “Is it food you want to eat?” In some areas, food access may be limited to certain foods or cuisines, with ethnic dishes or ingredients unavailable.
- Preparation: “Can you prepare it?” Cooking healthy food “requires time, knowledge, skills, and equipment” that may not be available or achievable for all.
By considering all of these dimensions, we can get a better picture of how feasible it is for individuals to acquire healthy food. We discuss this access—or lack thereof—with the terminology below.
Defining Relevant Terms
The USDA defines food security and food insecurity as follows:
- Food security: “No reported indications of food-access problems or limitations.” Or, “one or two reported indications—typically of anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food in the house. Little or no indication of changes in diets or food intake.”
- Food insecurity: “Reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.” Or, “reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”
The food desert definition is more vague, referring simply to an area “where people have limited access to a variety of healthy and affordable food.” However, it’s easy to see the interconnection and overlap between these ideas. A food desert means limited food access, which can in turn cause individuals and households in the area to experience food insecurity.
How Appetite For Change Is Helping
The issue of food access is a complex one, with many different problems—from environmental racism to economic issues—contributing to the outcome. However, food access can also be improved through many different strategies. At Appetite For Change, we promote food access in North Minneapolis with the following initiatives:
- Urban agriculture
- Community gardening
- Cooking workshops
- Training programs and employment opportunities
- Community meals
- Food justice organization
Here at Appetite For Change, we use food as a tool to build health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis. We bring people together to learn, cook, eat, and grow food, creating change that lasts. Learn about our own urban agriculture projects and explore what we do for our community. Browse our shop, consider volunteering, or donate today to support our incredible impact in North Minneapolis! Together, we can create well-rooted and flourishing change!