Creating Problems Where They Don’t Exist: “Food Deserts.”

When you can’t deal with the real problems in this country, which mainly revolve around government getting too big, spending too much, and interfering too much with people’s lives, it’s easier for people to create non-existent problems for people to solve.

More than a third of Baltimore neighborhoods don’t have ready access to healthy foods, leaving one in five residents to rely on high-fat, high-calorie meals from corner stores and carryout restaurants, a new assessment shows.

City, academic and nonprofit officials have worked for years to eliminate so-called “food deserts,” but they say the latest data from Johns Hopkins University researchers shows the scope of the problem and where good food options are most urgently needed.

“You can see on the ground that a lot of areas are lacking,” said Holly Freishtat, who became Baltimore’s first food policy director about two years ago. “The next step for the map is to use it for policy.”

City officials and other groups already are launching programs to provide healthier eating options for Baltimoreans. They’re highlighting healthy foods in city-owned markets and farmers’ markets. They’re trying to lure new grocery stores. And they’re expanding a system for low-income residents to order healthy food online for delivery in area libraries, senior living facilities, and soon, public housing.

Over time, Freishtat said, the initiatives should eliminate food deserts – areas where a grocery store is more than a quarter-mile walk, there are few other places to buy fresh or healthy foods, the median household income is no more than 185 percent above the poverty line, and at least 40 percent of households lack access to cars.

If people in those areas want healthy food and have the money to buy it, someone will be there to sell it to them. That’s how capitalism works and it’s extremely effective when the government doesn’t get in the way. If the complaint is that not enough poor people want to eat broccoli and arugula to make it cost effective to sell it in certain areas, that’s not the government’s business and it shouldn’t be spending taxpayer dollars to interfere with the market. All that will happen in the end is a lot of money will be wasted, a lot of bureaucrats will pat themselves on the backs for making progress on a completely arbitrary problem created by a bunch of wonks as opposed to a real problem, and it won’t make a hill of beans’ worth of difference.

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