Urban communities, as well as low-income communities, are becoming increasingly at risk for health issues due to the lack of healthy and unadulterated foods. There are very few grocery stores in urban communities, and people often find themselves having to travel a great distance just to get to the nearest grocer to access fresh fruits and vegetables (Gottlieb & Joshi 2011, pg. 547). How can this be? Fruits and vegetables are extremely important for people of all ages, whether for the development of young children or for the adult who is trying to maintain a healthy and long life. These foods help us grow strong both physically and mentally and need to be readily available in all communities.
With fast food restaurants popping up everywhere you look, families are spending less time and money buying and preparing healthy meals, and more time buying the quick, easy and unhealthy food. In fact, one woman from New York, who was going to a large food pantry, actually said that vegetables are the first things that get cut out once the budget gets tight, and she said that she would buy broccoli and carrots “from time to time,” but only as a “special treat” (McElee & Winter 2011, pg.3a). We cannot possibly grow and thrive as a healthy society when buying and eating vegetables is a “special treat.”
While lowering the price of fruits and vegetables may be difficult, and demanding that more grocery stores be built in urban communities might be out of our immediate control, we can still help. For my act of social justice I am going to create a mobile application that will help families prepare healthy meals that fit their budget. The application is going to be called “MY Healthy Meals” and is going to serve as a database, filled with healthy meal options that you can search for by specific fruits and vegetables. For example, if you have carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and broccoli, the application will give you recipes for meals that include those vegetables for you to prepare. The application will also tell you how you can store the meals in your refrigerator/freezer and for how long they will stay good. The same will go for fruits, offering recipes that can be made for children to take to school and even as healthy dessert options. Not only is this an application for adults to use when they are preparing meals, but children can also join in and help choose what they and their family will eat.
With the MY Healthy Meals application children and parents alike, from all financial backgrounds and geographical areas, will be able to access a directory of healthy snack, dinner, and dessert options. This app will help the user choose what to make based on what they already have on hand, as well as give ideas for meals that they can make before they head to the grocer, based on their budget. Also, by offering information on how long these meals will last in the refrigerator/freezer, it will help cut back on wasting food and throwing good fruits and vegetables out unnecessarily. I hope that this application will spark a movement of healthy eating and living in both low-income and urban communities by showing that no matter what you have in your pantry, fridge, freezer, or wallet – everyone should and can eat a healthy meal.
Bernau, C. (2011). Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi: Food justice. Human Ecology, 39(4), 547-549. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10745-011-9402-2
McElwee, J. J., & Winter, J. (2011, November 25). Getting healthy food to low-income people. National Catholic Reporter, 48(3), 3a+. Retrieved fromhttp://go.galegroup.com.libproxy.temple.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA274229386&v=2.1&u=temple_main&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=77873bb72dcc0f1f06fc1ec5f2b5b564