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Access to Healthful Food

In recent years, the importance of convenient access to fresh food has emerged as both a public health issue and a new priority for urban planning. Food deserts are areas where a... Read More

In recent years, the importance of convenient access to fresh food has emerged as both a public health issue and a new priority for urban planning. Food deserts are areas where a substantial number or share of residents have low access to supermarkets or grocery stores with fresh, healthful foods. Access to a nearby grocery store does not guarantee improved nutrition and health. However, access is an essential component, especially in areas where convenience stores and fast food restaurants are the most prevalent alternatives.

This indicator requires participating communities to map food deserts and assess physical and economic access to fresh, healthful food. Data is collected locally.

Devens, Massachusetts

Although there are limited healthy food shopping options for a large number of residents in Devens, we have a number of initiatives that promote locally grown produce and we are working on a regional farmers market in Devens to bring local fresh fruits, vegetables and food to Devens residents, businesses... Read More

Although there are limited healthy food shopping options for a large number of residents in Devens, we have a number of initiatives that promote locally grown produce and we are working on a regional farmers market in Devens to bring local fresh fruits, vegetables and food to Devens residents, businesses and the more than 300,000 people that come to Devens on a yearly basis for our recreational resources. The Parker Charter School has a greenhouse which supplies their kitchen with produce grown on-site for their lunch programs. Excess vegetables are donated to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Devens which serves individuals and families in need in the region. In addition, Devens recently permitted the development of a 220,000 greenhouse to grow hydroponic baby lettuces. The first phase of this greenhouse is fully operational and is supplying numerous local grocery stores and restaurants with fresh, locally grown lettuces. This significantly reduces the food miles traveled and the carbon footprint of lettuce (most of which comes from California) and is a much more sustainable approach to growing vegetables. The facility also harvests rainwater which supplies over 80% of the irrigation water for the lettuce crop - adding even further to the sustainability of this project and product and making healthy food more readily available in the Devens region.

Supporting documentation: indicator19_food-desert-map-devens-2016_Qcrz.pdf (447.29 KB)