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food deserts

Moratorium Passed To Fight 'Food Desert' In Northeast Oklahoma City

May 22, 2019
Graphics on the front window of a Dollar Tree are shown next to graphics illustrating fresh produce on the front windows of the closed Save-A-Lot in the Northeast Town Center in Oklahoma City.
Molly M. Fleming

The Oklahoma City City Council passed a 180-day moratorium to combat what some council members have called a 'food desert' in the city’s northeast side. Journal Record reporter Molly Fleming discusses the city’s next step in making fresh meat and produce more accessible to the area's residents.

Fry bread is greasy fried dough, and it’s a Navajo staple and a source of pride. But it’s also a source of poor nutrition on a reservation labeled a food desert by the U.S. government.

Sherry Laskey stands near land she bought in a north Tulsa neighborhood. Laskey is hoping to turn the empty lot into a profitable community garden that provides healthy food for the area.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Low-income areas of rural Oklahoma are blotched with food deserts, where fresh, healthy food options are scarce. It’s a problem in cities, too, but entrepreneurs, educators and legislators say newly signed legislation could help fill grocery gaps with community gardens.

School just let out at Walt Whitman Elementary in north Tulsa and a group of third and fifth graders is eager to brag about the garden they helped plant on a hillside behind the school.

Geary, Oklahoma, Family Dollar manager Jacquie Hogue running the register in her store.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are epidemic in Oklahoma, and lack of access to fresh, healthy food is a big reason why. Scarcity is most severe in regions known as food deserts, where going to the grocery store often means taking a road trip. But new legislation awaiting the governor’s signature could bring more healthy food to areas that need it.

The Smart Saver grocery store at NE 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

 

A bill that passed the Oklahoma Senate would establish a fund to get more fresh, healthy food into underserved areas.

Senate Bill 507, by Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City,  would create a mechanism to help small retails like convenience stores and grocers to stock fresh, perishable items.