It amazes me, not in a good way, that in one of the riches countries in the world we have “Food Deserts”.  Places were fresh fruits and vegetables are not easily available.  Given the importance of children having a healthy diet programs like the Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp. “Peaches & Greens” are providing a vital resource for their community.

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A article in the Christian Science Monitor, by Judy Lowe:

http://features.csmonitor.com/environment/2009/08/17/taking-fresh-fruits-and-veggies-to-food-deserts/

The environmental community often speaks of “food security,” but a couple of recent news items drive home the point that this isn’t just a problem in developing countries.

Here in the US, where suburbanites generally have a choice of grocery stores vying for their produce dollars, some inner-city areas have access to few if any full-service supermarkets. And that makes it hard for residents to eat fresh foods such as apples and lettuce instead of junk food from the closest convenience store.

Detroit, for instance, has beeen called a “food desert” for its lack of  chain stores that carry fresh fruits and vegetables. (An oft-quoted statistic for one neighborhood is 26 liquor stores but only one grocery.) And public transportation options are few for anyone who wants to travel to a neighborhood with more food choices.

One group decided to do something about it this summer.  The nonprofit Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp., which runs its own produce market, Peaches & Greens. It also stocks a truck with edibles ranging from cabbage to corn grown in community gardens and takes them to inner-city residents.

Sorta like a Good Humor truck stocked with tomatoes instead of ice cream bars.

So far, says Lisa Johanon, CDCCDC executive director, the project is working well. “We’ve seen the stereotype that urban communities won’t eat healthy, and we’re seeing that isn’t true.” A steady stream of customers is flagging down the truck, which is equipped to accept payment through food assistance cards.

But a group in Washington State has found it more difficult to provide fresh produce to residents without access to any.

According to The Seattle Times:

There may be only one thing harder to do along Delridge Way Southwest than finding fresh produce for sale: giving it away for free.

Such was the case Sunday at a temporary produce stand on the main drag of a Southwest Seattle neighborhood so bereft of grocers that one local resident calls it a “health-food desert.” Passers-by waved off offers of peaches, apples and homegrown squash with the quizzical air of people surprised to have free organic bounty thrust upon them.

In a way, it’s easy to see why. Two teens hired to man the produce booth for the Delridge Produce Cooperative,  which wants to help residents add fresh foods to their diets, didn’t recognize zucchini.

What is your favorite summer salad.  I found a great new receipe in the New York Times. Pan-Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad, with bacon of course.  🙂

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/dining/191mrex.html?ref=dining

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1/4 pound bacon, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

4 to 6 ears corn, stripped of their kernels (2 to 3 cups)

Juice of 1 lime, or more to taste

2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes

1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped

2 fresh small chilies, like Thai, seeded and minced

Salt and black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, more or less.

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to render fat; add onion and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes, then add corn. Continue cooking, stirring or shaking pan occasionally, until corn begins to brown a bit, about 5 more minutes; remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Drain fat if you wish.

2. Put lime juice in a large bowl and add bacon-corn mixture; then toss with remaining ingredients. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings.

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