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Cool Tools: USDA Food Access Research Atlas

Part of our mission as young farmers is to make a difference in the place that we live. It’s why we’ve chosen this path. Further, Christina and I have a unique opportunity to select where we end up living among almost limitless choices, and we must consider many different factors in picking a place. This means not only selecting a place that we’d enjoy living, but one that needs us. I don’t mean to sound preachy here; we don’t expect to swoop in and become someone’s savior, but we want to work to make a place better and that means finding a place with poor access to healthy food. Well, thanks to the USDA, we can drill down into an immense data set with this awesome new visualization tool.

This mapping tool illustrates the census tracts that have poor access to healthy food. In other words, neighborhoods we can help. If you select a few of the layers on the right, you’ll see a lot of color emerge from the map. This is good news and bad news for us: our options for future home towns are nearly everywhere, but that means that there is poor access to healthy food nearly everywhere in the US. I had no idea the problem was this widespread. Well, time to get to work.

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