Numerous areas in the U.S. have suffered from decades of abandonment, illegal dumping, and disinvestment. As a result, food deserts have begun to arise in these areas. Defined as impoverished areas that lack an adequate supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole foods, food deserts can negatively affect the health of surrounding communities. In fact, diet-related health problems are significantly higher in food deserts than communities with access to healthy, high-quality foods.
The Mount of Olives believes that urban farming benefits members of these food deserts in a myriad of ways. Through strategic planning, properties that were once vacant can become modern gardening oases. Learn more about how urban farming benefits these communities in an effective and sustainable way in our latest article.
The Importance of Providing Sustainable Solutions for Food Deserts
Urban Farming Benefits the Community and Improve its Overall Health
According to the American Nutrition Association, food deserts are impoverished areas that lack an adequate supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole foods. In these communities, there are no proper grocery stores located nearby. Economic forces sometimes push expansive grocery stores away from cities and toward suburban or rural areas where public transportation is scarce. As a result, affordable and healthy food is difficult to find for people who lack their own transportation or who are stuck in urban food deserts.
Food deserts are typically found in black and brown communities as well as low-income areas where most people do not have their own cars. White neighborhoods, on the other hand, contain as much as 4x the number of supermarkets that predominantly black communities do. Many of the stores in these food deserts are smaller too.
Health Issues That Can Develop as a Result of Living in a Food Desert
Due to the lack of convenience and high costs associated with purchasing food from grocery stores, many people in these communities end up shopping at convenience stores or fast-food restaurants offering cheap options instead. These unhealthy diet choices can lead to numerous health issues, including:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular Disease
Urban farming communities are designed to address these issues in an empowering and sustaining method.
The Mount of Olives and its Role on Empowering Low-Income Communities
Who Are We?
The Mount of Olives is a U.S. based non-profit organization that is committed to providing innovative solutions to food deserts both locally and internationally. Our headquarters are located in Pittsburgh, PA, where many of our urban farming communities are located. However, we also work with numerous countries in Africa struggling with food insecurity.
What is Our Mission?
It is our core mission to change the world, one person at a time. In order to empower and sustain the underserved communities that are faced with food insecurities, we must commit ourselves to:
- Critical Thinking: Observing, analyzing, reflecting and evaluating our methods and goals
- Strategic Planning: Creating a baseline for measuring performance, compiling a well-thought-out and thorough plan
- Proper Education: Educating ourselves on effective and sustainable techniques for supporting underserved communities through urban gardening
These three key components will be very instrumental in highlighting the deeper economic issues within food deserts so that these problems can be addressed effectively from the ground up. This approach will also serve as a catalyst for job creation and entrepreneurship in the communities that we are looking to serve.
What Are Our Goals?
We seek to breathe life and hope into areas that have suffered from decades of abandonment and disinvestment. We have worked with communities both here, in the city of Pittsburgh, as well as in certain African countries.
Our goal for the city of Pittsburgh is to bring awareness toward the numerous ways urban farming benefits communities. Most of our efforts are directed toward the younger generation of Pittsburgh residents. Much of our focus revolves around emphasizing the importance of urban farming and how the skills it teaches can positively translate into other areas of life. We also aim to encourage young residents to contribute their efforts and talents to helping these communities flourish.
The goal for our farming communities in Africa is to provide them with innovative solutions and adequate resources. These solutions are designed to improve traditional farming practices and allow members of the community to live a more substantial life.
Many underserved communities in Pittsburgh and around the world suffer from food insecurity. These food deserts make it difficult for residents to find affordable, healthy foods. Urban farming benefits communities and empowers them to cultivate flourishing gardens that successfully address these issues. At The Mount of Olives, we are dedicated to revitalizing the agricultural sector and partnering with these communities to create positive change. Contact one of our team members today to learn more about how urban farming benefits communities.