Neighborhoods like the San Francisco’s Tenderloin are often referred to as “food deserts,” but some public health experts say the moniker has it wrong. They propose a different term for these areas, which often claim the highest rates of obesity, chronic disease and alcohol abuse.
“It’s actually more accurate to call them food swamps,” says Susana Hennessey Lavery, an educator with San Francisco’s public health department, said in an interview with Next City, “because they are swamped with a lot of food, but not much that is healthy.”
Enter Healthy Retail SF, a program designed to help retailers in the Tenderloin and other high-poverty neighborhoods transform their markets into places that offer a variety of affordable and healthy food options. (To see a transformation unfold, watch the video at the top of page.)