Food Deserts in DC? No Problem, Let Walmart Handle It. Bonus: Thousands of New Jobs As Well
The United States Department of Agriculture has recently released a "Food Desert Locator," which is an interactive Internet mapping tool that pinpoints low-income neighborhoods across the United States with high concentrations of residents who have limited access to a local supermarket or large grocery store. From the USDA's May 2, 2011 press release:
MP: Who needs "public-private intervention" to make "fresh, healthy and affordable food more readily available" in poor neighborhoods when you have Walmart willing to do a "private intervention" by opening stores in food deserts and solving the problem?
A case in point: The pink shaded areas on the map above show the food deserts in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Walmart is planning to open four new stores next year in the Washington area, and two of them are in the city's food deserts (see map above). And Walmart will not only solve the poor neighborhood's food desert problem, it will also address some other problems like bringing 1,200 new permanent jobs to the District with benefits available to full and part-time associates, 400 constructions jobs to build the stores, and affordable $4 prescription drugs.
Bottom Line: If you care about poor people, are concerned about food deserts, and want more Americans to have jobs, you just gotta love Walmart. For all of its ongoing efforts to eliminate food deserts and bring affordable, fresh and healthy food to poor neighborhoods across the country in cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C., I hereby nominate Walmart for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.