Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lack of Food Options in Black Chicago Neighborhoods

In Chicago, Black neighborhoods are far more likely to have fast food restaurants than a grocery store, according to the news article:

In South, West Chicago, More Fast Food Restaurants than Grocery Stores.


Ann said...

Couldn't link to the article you referenced but, here's my take on black neighborhoods:

Junk/fast food places; no farmer's market stalls/places

Liquor stores; no GNC vitamin stores

Garbage/waste/refuse/dead animal incineration plants; not enough parks and swimming pools for recreation

Nightclubs/dives/juke joints; not any bookstores

Police command stations; no community centers for adult and child enrichment/education

Convenience stores that sell out-dated or rotten foods; no Kroger's, no Safeway's, heck, no major grocery chain stores

Nights filled with no outside entertainment; no major movie theater chains for viewing movies (have to go outside of the neighborhood to go see a movie)

Poor, substandard roads, freeways; most construction to upgrade roadway systems, residential streets done first in non-black neighborhoods

Sub-standard schools (out-dated textbooks, computer-illiteracy, teacher illiteracy in teaching "technology rich" curriculum; across town, high quality technology-advanced schools with well-stocked libraries and more elective subjects (art, music, language)

Stephanie B. said...


That's exactly what my neighborhood in NW Dayton have except that we have a substandard department store and a Kroger. We don't have Chipotle's, Ruby Tuesday's, etc. Shoot, the mall is gone. It's in the process of being torn down for a new town center.

I could say more on this.

Stephanie B. said...


Here's the original article from ABC7Chicago that was printed in Chicago Sun-Times last week:

Study: "Food Deserts" exist in Chicago communities By Rob Johnson

July 18, 2006

Some parts of Chicago are being called "food deserts" because of a lack of grocery stores in certain Chicago communities -- which has been linked to an increased risk for chronic health problems and even early death.

A new study concludes that these "food deserts" primarily exist on Chicago's west and south sides. While there are food choices for residents of those neighborhoods, many times those choices are not healthy.

Along 63rd Street in Englewood and West Englewood, food and liquor stores, and fast food joints dominate every street corner. Full service grocery stores are rare. That's why LaSalle Bank is meeting with community leaders to discuss a study it commissioned about so-called "food deserts" -- areas in Chicago, primarily on the west and south sides, that have few options for healthier foods.

"If you lived in one of these food deserts, where would you buy your food? You can buy it at a convenience store or fast food establishment or liquor store or gas station, drugstores," said Mari Gallagher, research consultant.

Gallagher's research shows the average distance to a grocery store in predominately white neighborhoods is .39 miles, for Latinos it's .36, but for African Americans it's .59. That means parents and especially children are opting for more fast food, which can lead to dire health issues like diabetes. In fact, the diabetes death rate in food deserts is 1.27 for every 1,000 people. In well served areas, it's less than half of that.

"It is nice to think about all of us sitting down to a meal that is cooked by those of us who are working mothers when we get home from our busy, busy days. But the reality is that we're picking it up on the way. And the question is, where do we go to pick it up?" said Wanda White-Gills, Teamwork Englewood.

Tanja Fields of West Englewood says being a single mom with no transportation makes it difficult to buy healthy food for her family.

"You have to buy less because I got to carry it all. So you buy less," said Tanja Fields, West Englewood Resident.

Elmira Davis says this has been going on for years to the detriment of her neighbors and loved ones.

"You aren't getting healthy food because there's no place over here to get healthy food. You have to go further to get it and wind up not going to get it so you wind up eating junk which means your health is not as good as it could be," said Elmira Davis, West Englewood Resident.

So just what can be done to correct this problem? LaSalle Bank Vice President Robert Grossinger, who moderated Tuesday's panel, says the next step is to privately finance grocery stores and food delivery systems in those underserved neighborhoods.

Ann said...



Was I on target, or was I!
And I hadn't even read the article before I posted.

The article just says what I already knew: predominantly black neighborhoods are abandoned or just plain not looked upon as places merchants would locate their businesses, i.e., Baskins-Robbins, Randalls, AMC or Regal or Cineplex movie chains, Shoneys, La Madelaine, Bed-Bath and Beyond, Barnes and Noble, Walden's Books, Academy Sporting Goods Store, Bath and Body Works, Petco, Petsmart, Marble Slab Creamery, Chik-fil-A, any Chinese, East Asian or Arab restaurant (they put there stores/gas stations/$1.00 stores in our neighborhoods, but put their restaurants in the white neighborhoods, and by restaurants, I do not mean Timmy Chans, by restaurants, I mean nice sit-down restaurants, like Hunan's, a Chinese restaurant), Marshall-Fields, Mervyns, Macy's, Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, Pappas/Pappasitos, Candylicious, and I could just go on and on and on.

About the two things you are guaranteed to see in a black neighborhood, is a Jack-in-the-Box or a Walgreens drugstore.

And that's it.

Many major busisnesses do not consider black neighborhoods as worthy of locating their companies there, because they are not only locating their businesses in non-black neighborhoods, they are forcing black people who would otherwise patronize these business, to go out of their neighborhoods to get to these places of business.

Not to mention, the jobs that many blacks could have if many of these companies located in a black or predominantly-black neighborhood.

Locating these businesses would do more than just create a standing building; it can do the following:

-bring employment to the neighborhood residents;
-bring a mix of various ethnicities into the black neighborhood to conduct their shopping, just as the black residents leave their neighborhood to go to other neighborhoods to do their shopping;
-bring some economic stability and viability into black neighborhoods.

But, who am I kidding.

This country has written black people off for centuries; no chance of the merchants not changing their tune anytime soon.

Stephanie B. said...


This doesn't surprise me about the ethnic restaurants. I haven't seen any Indian putting their India Palace restaurant in our neighborhood, yet my brother goes out of his way to buy Indian food there. While my neighborhood has a Lowes, Home Depot, Kmart, Sears, Target, Kroger, Cub Foods, it doesn't have a Starbucks, Macy's, Panera Bread, Bath and Body Works, etc. There are absolutely no movie theaters in my area. 13 years ago there were four movie theaters and multiplexes here. Now there are none whatsoever. I have to go either to Huber Heights up north or to Miamisburg south of town just to see a movie. Something to think about.


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