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Food Deserts in Tucson, Arizona

Food deserts are a significant issue in the Pima county area and are defined as urban areas in which it is difficult to access affordable or quality food within a one mile radius of residence. In Pima county there are approximately 156,000 (17% of the population) people living in food deserts according to information from 2014, including many of those living on the Tohono O’odham nation.

The areas of Pima county that are in food deserts can be seen in the image provided. Those living in food deserts are mainly from low income communities and are racial minorities. People in low income communities have limited access to transportation and thus not having access to food in close proximity leads many people to obtain their food from inadequate, unhealthy, options such as convenience stores and fast food restaurants.


This results in those living in food deserts having negative health effects such as higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. In Tucson groups such as the Heirloom Farmers Market, Market on the Move, and Produce on Wheels Without Waste (POWWOW) work to mitigate the food dessert problem by providing produce readily available to the community.

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