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Transforming D.C.’s Food Deserts Into Urban Gardens

Capital One is teaming up with DC Urban Greens through grant funding to better equip D.C. residents with access to healthy foods.

The District’s two lowest-income neighborhoods, which are overwhelmingly Black, have one supermarket for every 70,000 residents compared to one supermarket for every 12,000 residents in two of the District’s highest income and predominantly white neighborhoods.

Limited access to supermarkets, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food may make it harder for some residents living in D.C. to eat a healthy diet. This in turn can lead to health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

“In my neighborhood there is only one big grocery store and it may be up to six miles away from some residents,” says Taboris Robinson, director of DC Urban Greens. “That is the only supermarket for the 100,000 people that live in this community.”

Local organizations like DC Urban Gardens are striving to increase healthy food access and replace the food deserts within these communities with greenspace ripe for harvesting fresh produce.

“The freshness of the produce there is inadequate because a neighborhood in a food desert simply isn’t the first priority,” Robinson said. “DC Urban Greens is here to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the people living here. Every week we take the food we grew and pass out roughly 100 bags of fresh produce. The people light up every time they receive this fresh produce because they can’t get it anywhere else.”

In addition to these local efforts, Capital One has launched a multi-year commitment to advance socioeconomic mobility through the Capital One Impact Initiative. Launched in October, the Capital One Impact Initiative seeks to create a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper through advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives.

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