The G.R.E.E.N Basket Project (Getting Relevant Education, Exercise, and Nutrition)
Even before the pandemic hit, some 13.7 million households, or 10.5% of all U.S. households experienced food insecurity at some point during 2019, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means that more than 35 million Americans were either unable to acquire enough food to meet their needs or uncertain where their next meal might come from. The numbers have increased during the pandemic.
Childhood poverty and socioeconomic inequalities have health implications that carry through into adulthood as well — for example, lower childhood socioeconomic status is associated with chronic disease, poor mental health, and unfavorable health behaviors in adulthood. Poverty in childhood also has been linked to serious, longterm consequences, including higher healthcare expenditures, lower educational achievement (e.g., not completing high school and college), lost productivity and lower earnings in adulthood, and increased risk of poverty later in life.
Rural, minority, and low-income areas are often the sites of food deserts because they lack sizeable retail food markets and have higher number of convenience stores where healthy foods are less available. Studies have shown that food deserts can negatively affect health outcomes. The consequences are also clear: decreased access to healthy food means people in low-income communities suffer more from diet-related diseases like obesity and diabetes than those in higher-income neighborhoods with easy access to healthy food, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables. Seven states within the central area shows the highest projected percent increase in food insecurity in the past two years.
The Central Area, The Links, Incorporated addresses these issues with our GREEN Basket initiative. Our goal is to impact 5,000 individuals in the 72 communities in the Central Area.