Charlotte N.C., March 31, 2016– Key findings for the collaborative research project, State of the Plate assessment were presented to an audience of community members, policy makers, health practitioners, and researchers in JCSU’s HealthPlex, yesterday.
Speakers included Dr. Romano, Food Policy Council Chair Young-Sun Roth and Elliott Royal of the Mecklenburg County Health Department. Members of Charlotte City Council, Mecklenburg County Commission, and community stakeholders will also be present.
This year’s food assessment analysis focused on food insecurity, based on availability, affordability, and quality within neighborhood environments, which is a more nuanced understanding of households and food access than the previous study. While “food desert” is primarily a geographic distinction that refers to food availability within a low-income community, food security is more about the lived experience of households. The study, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield and Wells Fargo, found many households lack proximity to traditional full-service stores that sell a variety of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh meat, fresh dairy and processed foods.
Researchers identified five key areas with opportunities for change: high food insecurity risk areas, healthy food access based on geography, healthy food access based on cost, food insecurity and values around the local food system, and neighborhood economic development as an aspect of food access.