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Keywords

Food insecurity; food access; corner stores; food desert; African American

Abstract

For many people, the corner store remains the main grocer, or the only source of sustenance in minority communities. This study examined the distribution of corner stores as a future reference point to provide healthy food access to predominantly African American communities that lack full service grocery stores. Business data was obtained from respective county by use of Standard Industrial Codes. Each corner store was then categorized by either being Full Service (Stores that sell fresh produce, fresh meat, fresh dairy, and processed foods) or Non-Full Service (stores that do not sell all four categories of foods included in the full service store definition). Addresses were geocoded and mapped to census tracts and census block groups (CBG) using ArcGIS. Of the 249 names and addresses of corner store within the 230 census tracts in Mecklenburg County, 113 census tracts are without a full service store. 37 of the 113 census tracts have a corner store located within them. These 37 census tracts are located within predominantly African American communities (47.55%) with a median household income 27.46% less than the county median household income. 36 of the 37 census tracts have a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) approved vendor, while only 21 or the 37 census tracts have a Women, Infants, and Child (WIC) approved vendor. Using this data, county-wide discussions can begin on providing corner stores the necessary subsidies and support to assist them on offering a wide variety of healthier foods at affordable prices to low income, minority communities.

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