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Food Deserts and Grocer Gaps

While you may be aware of what a food desert is, many visiting this site are not - so we will begin with what we believe to be a fairly simple and relatively well accepted definition: Food deserts are areas where people have limited accessibility to affordable nutritious food - typically this means that a person lives further than 1 mile from a supermarket in an urban area and more than 10 miles from one in a rural area. Around 13.5 million Americans live in a food desert and nearly 10% of census tracts (65,000) are considered food deserts. [USDA Food Desert Reference]

Compounding the general problem of distance in regards to food deserts is the fact that they disproportionately affect the least fortunate amongst us which also are, as a whole, the least mobile amongst us - with rural minorities living in poverty being the most likely to live in a food desert.

What drives this? Well, for the most part it is profits, corporatism, and opportunists. As more and more of our groceries are overtaken by large chains with high profits driving the majority of their decisions the less populated and less wealthy areas of the country become less attractive to them. This leaves people living in these area with fewer options and higher prices. Additionally, destructive trade wars and mega farms have ravaged the family farms that were once able to help fill the gaps in certain areas. View our Farmer's Market Listings for 9,000 farmer's markets throughout the US.

Interested in seeing if you are in or near a food desert?
Try the USDA's Food Access Research Atlas

Need help now?
Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273)
These numbers are operated by the USDA and are available in English and Spanish
They are available Monday through Friday 7AM - 10PM eastern time
Feeding America offers a food bank and food pantry finder at: Feeding America Food Pantry Locator
You may also wish to try the Food Finder at WhyHunger's website: WhyHunger, Find Food
The USDA Summer Meal Site Finder can help you find summer meal sites for children. You can also text "Summer Meals" to 97779 or call them at 1-866-348-6479
Local SNAP contact information Nearly 42 million Americans are part of SNAP - many people are unaware that they may qualify for this assistance. The USDA provides an interactive map that provides links to SNAP resource sites, contact numbers, applications, and more.

What can I do to help?
Below are a variety of resources where you can learn more about your community, your options, and your opportunities to help.

  • Healthy Food Access - Learn about your community and find ways to launch a business, advocate, and plan.
  • Farmers Market Directory - a USDA directory of farmers markets throughout the united states. Many rural areas have farmers markets that can help provide nutritious food in underserved areas.
  • WhyHunger - provides a wide array of food resources and ways to get involved in helping.

  • And something (nearly) everyone can do: Vote for candidates who support expanding food safety nets and who will fight to end food deserts and food insecurity in the United States. Links to register and additional voting information can be found at the bottom of every page on our site. Vote at your town level, vote at your state level, and vote at the federal level.

Grocers, Supermarkets, and Food Locations

Do you live in a food desert? Do you know all the options you have near you? Below we provide over 200,000 grocers, supermarkets, convenient stores, and general goods locations. Every location on our website also accepts EBT/SNAP. All profiles provide driving directions, their address, and ratings. Over 40,000 of our listings have business hours, phone numbers, and most importantly price levels.

Food Deserts and Grocer Gaps