You can’t choose healthy food if you don’t have access to them. If you often find yourself stepping foot into a liquor store rather than an actual market because there aren’t any grocery stores located closer to your home, then you may live in a food desert.
Many residents in parts of Central, West and North Long Beach live in food deserts. According to, grist.org, a food desert is defined as “low-income neighborhoods far away from grocery stores.” Grocery stores generally stock much healthier food options than liquor stores, who may only provide foods that are rich in preservatives and other unhealthy substances. Liquor stores most certainly don’t carry enough organic produce.
For many Long Beachers, it’s not only hard to get healthy food near their homes, but high schools are also often surrounded by convenience stories like 7-Eleven and fast food joints. For young people, this lack of fresh food can lead to unhealthy eating habits, obesity and diabetes.
In the video above, VoiceWaves spoke to a few Long Beach youth about what how they are impacted by limited access to fresh food and what solutions they think would help improve access. While all agreed that the clear solution is more food markets and less liquor stores, they also stress the importance of working with existing liquor and corner store owners to improve health.