For the past year, I have engaged in research on the topic of food deserts. For my Capstone, I decided to extend the research I’d collected on the topic and make my research actionable. In my original plan, I wanted to work with community centers in Camden, one of the worst food deserts in America. I planned to work with teens, teaching healthy eating techniques. I also wanted to work with the centers to start community shuttles to regional farmer’s markets and large grocery stores. Finally, I wanted to engage the NJ Department of Agriculture to design mobile farmer’s markets. However, after repeated conversations and email to community centers and the NJDOA, the lack of response hindered large portions of my plan.
Instead, I reconfigured my plans to reach as many teens as possible, beyond Camden. I created a website for teens where I: condensed my research (nationwide statistics, health risks, preventative measures) for informative reading; and compiled an index of teen friendly, healthy, quick and inexpensive recipes for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The site also challenges users to think about ways they can combat food deserts through education, advocacy and accessibility, my three areas of action. I will share the site with representative centers in the top ten food deserts in the country along with a request that we make combating this problem a joint priority.
Throughout the project, I learned the difficulties of working with outside organizations and the importance of flexibility, perhaps increasing your original outreach capabilities.
Capstone found here
Annotated Bibliography found here