I didn’t know anything about food deserts. I didn’t understand that that was a thing. I only knew that my students ate a lot of cheetos. Especially the hot ones. Especially for breakfast. That didn’t make any sense to me.
I didn’t know anything about food deserts, but I did know that when I went to the gas station, my students asked me if I was going to the store. I remember thinking that was weird.
Then my car broke down and I started taking the bus, and it all suddenl. Why a person wouy became clear. I would buy food at a gas station instead of taking two buses and a train to get to the most MARTA accessible grocery store. How grocery shopping that way is pretty much an all day endeavor and you had better be fully-able-bodied or you aren’t going to be able to get your groceries all the way home.
But I still bristled when my students asked me if I was going to the store. No. The gas station is not the store. Except it was, for them anyway.
I don’t really have any answers. Just a lot more understanding. I grew up and only knew how to cook what my mother cooked too. But my mother had access to a real grocery store. So I knew how to cook what came out of a grocery store and not a gas station. We had access to grocery stores because it was profitable to put grocery stores in our neighborhood. The pendulum swings the other way too. Not profitable turns into no access turns into the gas station functioning as a store and virtually no vegetables in your diet.
I didn’t know that it was a called a food desert, but I did understand all my students had for breakfast was hot cheetos. I used to blame them, think they should know better. Now I know better. Everyone is usually making the best choices they know how.
I’m hosting the spirit of the poor link up. We are focusing on access to food. If you don’t know much about it, start here and then let me know what you think by linking up below!