Oct 25, 2007 3
Last year Jean Carter Hill told Newstips about an informal survey of food availability in Englewood that she conducted with a group of young people.
“We took the kids to the neighborhood stores looking for vegetables,” Hill said.
“We told them to write down what they saw. All chips and candy. Way in back there might be a bruised banana or a potato.”
Then they took the children to a South Loop supermarket. “Their eyes got so big,” Hill said. “They told us, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this.'”
Results of an in-depth survey of food availability in Englewood will be presented to residents by researchers Saturday, one of several community presentations of a new broad-based study of access to food in the six-county Chicago area.
The report will be presented at the annual Make A Difference Day sponsored by Imagine Englewood If and its partners at Kennedy King College (U Bdg.), 640 W. 63rd, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 27.
Daniel Block of Chicago State University will report (at 11 a.m.) on the new study, which fleshes out a detailed picture of South Side “food deserts” identified by previous studies.
Researchers visited neighborhood stores, conducted market-basket surveys, went door-to-door to talk with residents about how far they travel for shopping and other issues, and held focus groups. Similar in-depth studies were conducted in six other communities, and report-backs are being held in Pilsen, Altgeld Gardens, Hegewisch, and Portage Park. A citywide meeting on the topic is also being planned, Block said.
“There’s not much there” in Englewood, Block said, although he noted that one Food For Less opened during the two-year period of the study, “which definitely improved access.”
“Still, that’s one full-service supermarket for 84,000 people,” he said.
Along with access to healthy food, lead contamination has been a priority for Imagine Englewood If, and Saturday’s event will include a workshop on lead screening and lead abatement. The event closes with a Halloween celebration for children.
With violence against Englewood’s youth eliciting growing concern, IEI has stepped up youth programming. The group is reaching out to local churches, urging them to open their doors to youth, said Jean Carter Hill. And IEI works with youth in a community garden and a journalism program, and is planning a new program on poetry and spoken word, she said.
“We’re really tired of our children getting killed,” she said. “We haven’t done enough for our kids.”