Our campus sits comfortably on the edge of Pomona with multiple healthy eating options such as PolyFresh, the Farm Store, Hibachi San and even Qdoba, if you do it right.

Having access to meals made with nutritional value is a luxury that students take for granted.

(Valerie Mancia | The Poly Post)

If you go down the road further into Pomona, you will see the options for high quality and nutritional foods diminish.

Lower income areas are less likely to have access to healthy food.

These “food deserts” are racially unjust and oppressive to marginalized groups.

Instead of having access to fresh, high quality produce, most urban communities rely heavily on fast food as a source of nutrition.

Other food sources include liquor stores and mini marts as quick access to food.

Many people in these urban food deserts to have low quality or highly processed diets.

Many people from these communities travel outside of city lines to get their groceries.

For those who cannot afford or do not have access to transportation suffer more.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 13.5 million people in this country have low access to high quality and nutritious food, with 82 percent of those people living in urban areas.

These urban areas are largely populated by minorities and the restricted access to food makes for another form of oppression on an already disenfranchised group of people.

As much as people in this country want to deny that racism is thriving in America, the food system in this country is undoubtedly racist.

Large food retailers are hesitant to open up stores in low income neighborhoods because of the fear of shrink and presumed lack of demand.

The assumption that lower income neighborhoods have more theft among them has deterred a lot of bigger healthier chains from opening up urban locations.

Then there’s the assumption that because their health is so bad that people with low incomes don’t want to eat healthy, so there’s no demand for it.

These two reasons are linked, because a lot of people want to eat healthy or high-quality food but cannot afford to.

Processed foods and crops affected by pesticides are so easily accessible and cheap because the production cost is so low.

We outsource or farmed foods to countries that don’t pay their employees a living wage and cut corners by using pesticides.

To even have organic crops and grass-fed beef, someone has to go and authenticate that the food is being made in such a manner, thus driving up the price.

If organic and high-quality food was more affordable then lower income residents would want that in their neighborhood.

While fixing the system isn’t a good short-term solution, there are small things these under served communities could do to help their situation.

Growing your own food is a big help.

A community garden would benefit these neighborhoods.

While it’s a great idea to grow food, a lot of minorities are reluctant to do so because of the stigma associated with blacks and Latinos as field workers.

Black Americans don’t want to seem as though they’re reverting to slavery and see farming land in this country as a form of regression.

While Latinos are reluctant because they want to show that it’s not all their people do for a living.

These stereotypes have been detrimental to the psyche of the minority groups they target, but it shouldn’t inhibit them from growing their own food.

People should get over the past completely, but they should not limit themselves to eating processed, unatural and harmful foods just to prove a point.

It can be argued that choosing to limit oneself of the nutrition they need to avoid stereotypes is giving the stereotype more power.

Instead we should embrace our past while making sure we have a healthy and hearty future.

We must overcome these views to build a healthier community.

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