Food Deserts & Solano County: Facts and Futures

What is a Food Desert?

“Food deserts” are geographic areas where access to affordable, healthy food options – fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lowfat milk and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet – is limited or nonexistent, typically because grocery stores are too far away or these is a lack of transportation.

Are there Food Deserts in Solano County?

Yes. By a stringent standard (10+ miles from a grocery store), the USDA has identified several food deserts across Solano County ( By more practical standards (such as 2+ miles from a grocery store with no private transportation, or not counting corner grocery stores that offer liquor and food as “grocery stores”), there would be scores more of these food deserts in Solano.

Why do we need to do something about Food Deserts?

Food Deserts are linked to increased levels of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases that compromise or shorten life. In food deserts, people’s choices about what to eat are severely limited by the options available to them and what they can afford. Many food deserts contain an overabundance of fast food chains selling cheap “meat” and dairy-based foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt, or processed foods (such as snack cakes, chips and soda) typically sold by corner delis, convenience stores and liquor stores are usually just as unhealthy.

What can we do to reduce or eliminate Food Deserts?

We can create “Food Oases!” A Food Oasis exists when residents of food deserts gain access to fresh, healthy affordable food choices. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that communities come together to:
  • Increase and improve availability of healthier food/beverage choices in public service venues and at more affordable price points;
  • Improve geographic availability of supermarkets in underserved areas;
  • Provide incentives to food retailers to locate in and/or offer healthier food/beverage choices to residents living in underserved areas; and
  • Improve ease of purchasing foods fresh from the farms, and provide incentives for the production, distribution and procurement of foods from local farms.

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