Mapping the Basics in Detroit: You’ve heard about food deserts — this is what they look like


The Take Away with John Hackenberry • Feb. 22, 2013

In northeast Detroit in the neighborhood of Osborn, Robin and Donald Hudson can feed up to ten hungry grandchildren ages three months to 16-years-old on any given day. With five children and 15 grandchildren they stock their basement freezer with 40 pound boxes of chicken. But finding healthy affordable food can often be a challenge.



This is the sort of conversation Robin and Donald Hudson have when they’re shopping:

“I wouldn’t get my wheat bread from here — this is $1.79. I’d go to Aldi’s and get it for 99 cents. This is $2.49 a pound…that’s not going to feed a family.”

Not too far away, single mother Tiffany Evans relies of food assistance to feed her two-year-old, and the options for groceries are limited:

“This is the only grocery store that I know of in the neighborhood that has good prices and good groceries. I would have to go far out — like Southgate or Taylor — to go to a Wal-Mart… There’s nothing in our neighborhood.”

Those two stories highlight the bigger problems of food deserts in Detroit, a problem that’s being documented through a new data mapping project in collaboration with WDET and our partner station WNYC.

Laura Weber-Davis is the lead reporter for “Back To Basics,” and Tracie McMillan is the author of “The American Way of Eating” and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.

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