Relief sought for food deserts

When you think about Catawba County, deserts aren’t the first things that come to mind.

However, they are here — in one way or another.

The far ends of the county are populated by small food deserts, or areas that aren’t in close proximity to fresh produce.

Food deserts are urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options.

In Catawba County, there are several small communities located more than eight or nine miles from the nearest grocery store. With limited transportation options for those people, access to healthy foods can become an issue.

To read more of this story, pick up the Thursday print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.