By Stephanie Sierra and Lindsey Feingold
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Ahead of the holidays, the ABC7 News I-Team found hundreds of neighborhoods across the Bay Area where food access is low.
“It’s tiring,” said Natasha Hardman. “I have to walk miles to get to the grocery store.”
Hardman lives off 14th St. in Oakland, which is one of the 600 neighborhoods in the San Francisco metro area that are considered low food access, otherwise known as a food desert. That term doesn’t mean there aren’t any grocery stores in the area, but that at least one-third of the area’s population is living more than a half-mile away from the closest supermarket or large grocery store.
In the San Jose metro area, 289 neighborhoods are considered low food access.
Unemployed from the pandemic, Hardman is struggling to get by. On a good day, her walk is a mile to St. Vincent De Paul. But when the shelter is closed on Sunday and Monday, the nearest grocery store is a couple miles away.
At the time of the interview, she said her last meal was a couple of days ago. The area where she lives is not just a food desert, but is also low-income as well. While 65 percent of neighborhoods in the two local metro areas are considered food deserts, only 18 percent of the two metro areas are considered low-income and also food deserts.
ABC7’s data analysis found there are 171 low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco metro area that also have low food access. The San Jose metro area has 79 of these neighborhoods. That’s about 17 percent of neighborhoods in the San Francisco area and about 21 percent of neighborhoods in the San Jose metro area.
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