The food deserts of Memphis: inside America's hunger capital | Divided Cities

[Music] right now there are 20 3.

5 million Americans who live in what we call food difference we wanted to come up with priorities what were the needs in the larger South Memphis area and one thing that came up over and over again was access to food you can easily get to a McDonald's and there's food on every block it's just not high-quality food we blame the individual for so long and it's not the individuals fault [Music] there's a lot of money Memphis and there's a lot of poverty you know we have parts of South Memphis where whole streets and blocks are just vacant it's like a war that people left due to some catastrophe but it was just white flight and sprawl and so what used to be a small family-owned grocery store is now a vacant building and on one end of it they have a liquor store that's typical of South and North Memphis nobody is going to be attracted and in terms of grocery stores retail to an area that is sparsely populated and looks and feels dangerous so a food desert by basic definition is a place where the majority of residents don't have access to what we call a supermarket and a large percentage of the residents don't have transportation [Music] from our office in South Memphis our closest supermarkets are 2.

3 miles and 2.

5 miles away respectively and one-third of our residents don't have access to an automobile [Music] my name is de Louis Bateman I have five children I stay in South Memphis I work for elementary school as a janitor a couple of years ago it was a grocery store right up here across the street but it's been shut down for over ten years now it's just an empty building without transportation I have to call and egg someone to come and take me to the grocery store or maybe kiss your bus and it takes like 45 minutes to an hour just to get to the grocery store so when I go to the grocery store this is some of the basic food that I buy buy lasagna spaghetti rice their new loose I have our canned vegetables the basic meats right here chicken pork chops about Nick bones checking necks basic foods and over here I have their kind of quick food we have corn dogs burritos things like that when I go to the convenience store it's not much I can feed them there I have to feed them like something quick they're not gonna get full offer but if I go to the grocery store I get a chance to cook a full course meal hey how are you this is a typical Memphis convenience store they have the little produce which I'm proud they have some potatoes and onions but if you notice right behind there are sodas two liter sodas and snack foods so cookies and chips and candy and kool-aid holes of chips even more soda sugary American breakfast food cereals mechanically separated chicken which is already kind of scary sounding contains 2% or less of beef pork and so those are the type of ingredients that you're getting this is pretty typical of what people have access to just walking up in their neighborhood so the ingredients in grape drink I don't know what anything is other than water [Music] my name is chell William I live in South Memphis I've been here in all my life [Music] they use a hell grocery store in a setting up now they don't so I had to go to the bus stop and I had to wait on the floor Walker and I read it till the North Terminal and then I transfer it to two [Music] your journey to the grocery store takes I'll say I wouldn't hate it if the bus come on time when I goes to the grocery store I get everything that I needed having to take two buses ear stressful and he's frustrated but I still had to go know to have food in the house [Music] East Memphis is a majority white upper middle class and wealthy area affluent people who own multiple automobiles have choices and much access to fresh food and so we're in a parking lot of a well-known brand Whole Foods and across the street there is a national grocery store chain that same chain has a very upscale store on the other side of the movie theater and just a mile and a half away it's a sprouts grocery store not even a mile east of here is a Fresh Market this is very different from the experience of Memphians four or five miles north of here six miles southwest of here in South Memphis and the most distressed neighborhoods [Music] the irony is that as integration the neighborhood's became more prevalent a lot of folks moved out of those neighborhoods are the people that remained and these where we now have as food deserts are people that simply did not have the resources to move the challenges are of multiple when grocery store operators look at can they make money the answer from their perspective is possibly but probably not so this site is one of the sites that we identified as a potential location for a grocery store in South City this probably would have been the most ideal site for a grocery store operator the property was on the market it was at a price point frankly that was just above our ability to pay as well as try to provide incentives to the grocery store operator to make it a economically viable opportunity so overtime is now been acquired by one of our local craft brewery companies and they're building a brewery that hopefully will provide some jobs for the residents whether it will help them from an economic standpoint it'll be a great addition to the city but unfortunately it won't be available for a grocery store [Music] redlining is a federal policy from the 1930s the Federal Housing Administration and policy makers decided to work with the lending institutions to draw maps to talk about where it was best to lend their money for residential mortgages that talked about the high-risk areas where they did not want to make investments because the chance of them being repaid were low and those areas and cities looks like areas were moderate and poor people live and we're black and minorities lived when banks won't make investments in residential mortgages they also don't make investments in small businesses the sad part is that this redlining map is almost identical to how lenders make residential mortgages in 2019 [Music] you help me find all the grains or starches and I was trained to educate families on healthy eating common health issues we see with our patients range from pre-diabetes to full-blown type-2 diabetes to hypertension to elevated blood pressure these are things that we commonly were thinking of with your middle-aged parents or even grandparents and now we're seeing them in children that are eight nine and ten and fourth grade and middle school zucchini that's a weird word zucchini bikini yeah that's what we're chopping today every corner you turn is always a fast-food restaurant but if we can get more restaurants in our city words you can eat healthy food especially in certain communities in certain areas we will actually loved it we blame the individual for so long and we have to start seeing that that's not working it's not the individuals fault it is our entire environment and we're not going to see changes in health until we go out into the community and great change [Music] South Memphis farmers market is innocent season it came about because of a neighborhood plan called the South Memphis revitalization action plan we wanted to come up with priorities what were the needs in the neighborhood and one thing that came up over and over again was access to food I'm one of the seniors that over the years things have just moved away from us so when works brought this to us this was a godsend we should have more of these [Music] gatekeeper of income you lured pilot-house in my home is a fear China in the second king the next time my dad gotta pay for our food with stamp show mouth better stay shut your eyes better stay glued to get a grocery bag to the woman who said my cousin was affirmed to the man who said my EBT card is an eyesore and this American flag looking at me ain't enough imagine [Music] you.

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