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Join us for a Presentation on Food Deserts in Chicago with Mari Gallagher

April 25th, 5:30pm

Congress Lounge
2nd floor
Auditorium Building

Interested in learning more about food issues across different academic disciplines? Check out these courses available in Fall 2012.

SUST 230

EDUC 303

HOSM 230

SOC 212


Hunger and food insecurity are significant social justice issues affecting individuals, families and communities across the country.

According to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, thirty-seven million people nationwide rely on emergency food and grocery assistance. Chicago and its surrounding suburbs are no exception. In Cook County, nearly 700,000 people annually rely on emergency and supplemental food provided by the Food Depository and its member network of 650 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.

Hunger is linked to multiple systemic social issues including health, education and, employment. As a result of poverty and unemployment, many people skip meals or cut back on the quality or quantity of food they purchase. Hunger is not just an issue affecting the homeless and unemployed. Over a third of the households served by GCFD include at least one employed adult, and still many families often have to make the difficult choice of choosing to buy food or pay for housing or medicine.

Children who are hungry have more difficulty focusing in school and learning. Individuals who are hungry are more likely to consume high calorie, low-cost food items that can lead to obesity and chronic disease.  Community and geography also play a central role in the opportunities families have to access healthy food options and fresh produce.

Mari Gallagher's research popularized the term “food desert” with her 2006 breakthrough study, “Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health in Chicago.” She developed a block-by-block metric for “food deserts” and “food balance” linked with health measures which has since expanded nationally. Mari recently published a 5-year follow up report on food deserts and will share highlights of her research at Roosevelt on April 25th.

See Mari’s recent TED talk on food deserts: