My name is Flannery Rokeby-Jackson, and I am a high school student at the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville. I am writing about the importance for our government to act in the interest of its citizens’ health and, by doing so, address the issue of food deserts in our state.
Food deserts, areas where community members have little to no access to affordable and nutritious food, directly impact our community’s and state’s health; those who do not live in close proximity to a full-service grocery store are at a much greater risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Though the issues associated with obesity and access to healthy food are complex, they aren’t impossible to solve. The government could work with the private sector to provide economic incentives to create a healthy and sustainable food system in North Carolina. The House Food Desert Committee’s recommendation to further study food deserts is a step in the right direction, but we have to take action as a community and support the extension of this research.
As a youth staff member at Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) and a high school student, I see food insecurity every day; many youths at my school only have access to packaged food from the local corner store. The lack of food access and security in our state is an issue that cannot be ignored. If you support this message, please call your local representatives and voice your endorsement of extending the work of the General Assembly’s Food Desert Committee!