number of Chicago food deserts, or areas where
it's hard to find healthy foods, has dropped by 21 percent over the past two
years, according to the mayor's office.
Food deserts in the
city are defined as census tracts located more than one mile from a food
retailer larger than 10,000 square feet, not including gas stations and
fast food restaurants.
In June 2011 there were 100,159 food deserts, according to the mayor's office, but that number has dropped to 79,434 today.
2011, Emanuel launched the Healthy Chicago agenda that looks to
curb obesity by providing greater access to healthy food options and
eliminating food deserts in the city by 2020.
As part of the city's efforts,
15 new grocery stores with fresh foods have opened since 2011, and two
CTA buses have been converted into mobile produce markets serving seven
food desert neighborhoods. The city and its partners have also licensed
14 fresh produce carts, with half being stationed in low food access areas. Additionally, former food deserts
on the West Side have seen five new farmers markets sprout up in their respective areas.
The city's two-year progress report on combating food deserts can be found here.