In an attempt to bring things closer to home, I have analyzed how food impacts students and how they perceive food. In this particular case study, many of the students shared some of the concerns that we have all commonly said or heard of. Many of the students had expressed a deep concern in that the food on campus was rather expensive especially the healthier options so they instead opted for things like hamburgers. In some instances, it was less of an economic concern but rather a “why waste my meal plan on something I won’t like”. Some students are used to a way of living or eating and for them it may not be a natural part of their dieting to actually use vegetables or fruits.
This particular case study was conducted in an area where the students where in a “food desert”. As defined by the USDA a food desert is anywhere that is urban but 33% of its residents do not have access to nutritional food within a one mile radius(Dhillon, et al., 2019). As students we all know the impact even a five minute break can have. When the students are at least a 4 mile drive it becomes more of a hassle. It is especially hard for students who cannot afford a car and depend on public transportation it is time consumed that they feel they could’ve spent studying. In considering healthier option such as a Farmer’s Market it is seen that students don’t have the time to go to these areas where there is healthy food. Most people who go to Farmer’s Markets typically are there more so as an entertainment where they can walk, shop, and spend their leisure time.
In Philadelphia, there is an initiative in the right direction to create more Farmer’s Market at low-income neighborhoods. Not only is there the convenience of being located where people can walk or bike to but they are equipping vendors to be able to have customers use things like Philly Bucks or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs (Young et al., 2011). What was found was that more people of color due to proximity and affordability were using these assistance programs to be able to access healthy food.
For students around colleges or universities like Cal Poly Pomona there are vast options that can aid in closing the gaps that people of color have when it comes to food insecurity. When considering the topic of minorities we do not typically consider students as a major group. This is interesting as students can fall under more economic stress than they may have experienced before and can be of a minority group. There are options in areas like Mt. Sac College, La Verne, Brea, Rancho Cucamonga, Claremont and more.
Having this food security in this crucial stage where students become autonomous in all regards even their diets sets them up for their future. Now it is up to us to see how we can spread awareness of food nutrition and figuring out alternatives that are affordable and delicious.
Young, Candace R, Aquilante, Jennifer L, Solomon, Sara, Colby, Lisa, Kawinzi, Mukethe A, Uy, Nicky, & Mallya, Giridhar. (2013). Improving Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Low-Income Customers at Farmers Markets: Philly Food Bucks, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2011. Preventing Chronic Disease, 10, E166–E166. https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd10.120356
Dhillon, Jaapna, Diaz Rios, L. Karina, Aldaz, Kaitlyn, De La Cruz, Natalie, Vu, Emily, Asad Asghar, Syed, Kuse, Quintin, & Ortiz, Rudy. (2019). We Don’t Have a Lot of Healthy Options: Food Environment Perceptions of First-Year, Minority College Students Attending a Food Desert Campus. Nutrients, 11(4), 816. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040816