Missing Fruits and Vegetables

What is your favorite fruit? How about your favorite vegetable?

Where is the best place in your neighborhood to buy fresh fruits and vegetables?

Right off the bat, I can tell you that my favorite fruit is a juicy, McIntosh apple, and that I could eat celery sticks every day. When I step out of my apartment in the morning, I only have to walk a few steps down the street to find the best little grocery store where I can easily get fresh McIntosh apples and celery sticks whenever I desire.

For many DC children however, these are questions that are not as easily answered. This is because some DC neighborhoods have many assets that enrich children’s lives, while others do not.

According to our 2012 DC KIDS COUNT data book, more than 46,000 (46 percent) of DC children live in neighborhoods of high child poverty. Shockingly, about 35,000 (35 percent) of DC children live in neighborhoods without a grocery store, making access to fresh fruits and vegetables -- and the answer to my questions -- challenging.

Yet, DC Action for Children was glad to see this inspiring Elevation DC article detailing one woman’s efforts to promote healthier eating for the children of DC. The launch of her MicroGreens program enables these children to gain the necessary exposure and resources for nutritious cooking habits. This place-based approach is a step in the right direction towards providing DC’s children with sustainable neighborhood assets that will allow them to grow into healthy, successful adults who can easily answer the above questions.

Our 2012 DC KIDS COUNT data book is based on a similar philosophy of a neighborhood focus to improve outcomes for children and families. This approach aims to address these problems that children of DC face through focusing on the social and physical environment of a community, and striving for more integrated and accessible service systems.

This focus isn’t easy, though, and will take a joint effort. We need your help!

Whether you are a parent or grandparent, a teacher, a policy maker, a city leader, an advocate or just a concerned citizen – please join us.

Working together, all of us who care about our city’s future and our children’s success can collectively help increase access to grocery stores and healthy food and improve our neighborhoods.

How do you plan to help your neighborhood? Let us know!

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