food desert

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

In a large bright gym at the Mountain Fellowship Center in Markleysburg, Fayette County, Laura Thresher sorts cans of mostly non-perishable items and passes them to volunteers nearby. 

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

It’s Neighborhood Table night in Sharpsburg, and about 60 people are packed into a former Main Street shop to eat fried chicken, salad and Italian bread. Dozens of Styrofoam dessert plates are waiting on carts in the back room.

Scores of Sharpsburgers, many of them over 50, regularly show up to the free event at the Roots of Faith center for the first three Thursdays of each month. Not only are they given meals, but they’re also offered free services: some nights it’s a medical screening from UPMC St. Margaret; sometimes it’s a legal clinic from local law firms.

Cristina Sanvito / Flickr

In a new venture, nonprofits Grow Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Land Trust are teaming up to preserve the city's urban farms. The Three Rivers Agricultural Land Initiative will give long-term support to select a handful of garden projects in the community.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

New research from the Rand Corporation shows that who you are – including your race, education and income – is a big predictor of how healthy you eat. But where you live matters, too.

Since 2011, Rand has compared the health of residents in Homewood, a food desert, with the Hill District, which went 30 years without a grocery store before finally getting one in 2013.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gina Merante grabbed a banana bunch from a red wall lined with gradually ripening fruit. She shuffled past boxes of apples and red peppers and pointed outside, past the large display window at the front of her store, Linea Verde Green Market.

Courtesy of Carlow University

Oakland residents looking to buy groceries might not have to drive or ride a bus to the nearest supermarket anymore.

ereyesleblanc / Flickr

Joining cities such as Amsterdam, Shanghai and Barcelona, Pittsburgh has signed onto the “Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.” It’s a worldwide effort to examine the system of how food is produced and distributed as demographics change.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It’s been nearly two years since a Shop ‘n Save grocery store opened on Centre Avenue in the Hill District. For decades, the neighborhood was considered a food desert, which the federal government defines as an area where residents lack access to healthy, nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

Courtesy Dianne Shenk

It’s been several years since Hazelwood’s last grocery store, Dimperio’s, closed. According to Chatham University food studies graduate Dianne Shenk, the neighborhood now officially qualifies as a food desert.

Community members, farmers, government officials and school administrators will gather in Pittsburgh Friday for the second Farm to Community Conference.

Hosted by Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE), the conference will focus on ways to make farm fresh food available in local schools and underserved communities, or food deserts.

Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director for WHE, said eight workshops are scheduled throughout the day, each focused on a different fresh food challenge.

Food trucks are commonplace in cities such as Los Angeles or New York, but Pittsburgh has had a hard time embracing the mobile eateries.

All that could change with Farm Truck Foods.

Awesome Pittsburgh, which gives grants to people "with brilliant ideas," this week awarded the company $1,000 for its proposed solution to the city’s food desert dilemma.