Analyst: Look to Wal-Mart to Turn Food Deserts Into Oases
By George Anderson
are not the answer to bringing nutritious food to poor towns and neighborhoods
in the U.S., according to an agricultural policy analyst at a libertarian
think tank. No, if communities and government are serious about converting
food deserts into oases then it’s time to stop fighting Wal-Mart and invite
the chain to open stores in underserved areas.
an analyst with the Cato Institute, told NPR that local
sources are not enough to feed Americans in many places. She pointed
out that 75 percent of all agricultural production in the U.S. comes
from less than four percent of farmers. The concentration of production
in so few farms is due, Ms. James maintains, to the subsidy system
in place in the U.S.
“It may well
be that if we did away with production subsidies that we may see a different
breakout of production patterns in America,” she told NPR. “But
certainly that suggests that, for efficiency reasons, agriculture depends
on economies of scale.”
to achieving the economic efficiencies
that will enable poorer consumers to get good food at low prices is Wal-Mart,
according to Ms. James.
is they have a very good distribution network. They can get fresh produce
into rural and exurban areas very well,” she told NPR.
as seen in Chicago and other citites, however, is getting approval for
Wal-Mart to build.
Questions: Do you believe Ms. James’ assessment of what it will take
to bring economical food choices to cities is realistic? If not, what solution(s)
do you have for eliminating food deserts in the U.S.?