Homeward Bound: Food-Related Transportation Strategies in Low Income and Transit Dependent Communities
In 1993, a UCLA research team published a comprehensive study of the food system, Seeds of Change: Strategies for Food Security for the Inner City. The study included a detailed case study evaluating the ability of the food system to meet the needs of the residents of one South Central Los Angeles neighborhood. As part of that evaluation, the study documented a wide range of food insecurity indicators:
- 27% of area residents reported they went hungry an average of five days every month;
- The absence of nearby supermarkets was compounded by lower than average vehicle ownership. Further, bus lines did not correspond to market location. As a result, the lack of transportation for food buying purposes was defined by residents as a major community problem;
- Food prices for residents of the case study area – who spent 36% of their annual income on food – averaged $275 more per year than residents of a selected suburban area who spent 12% of their income on food;
- The lack of fresh quality produce illustrated the issue of nutritional deficiencies and related health and learning problems that are endemic in low income areas.