There’s truth to the adage “you are what you eat” – our diets and health are closely related.
But many Chicagoans in underserved neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides have limited access to nutritional food due to a lack of grocery stores or healthy, affordable food options within walking distance – areas known as food deserts.
A lack of nutritional options can lead to diet-related diseases, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
A free public event Friday will focus on food inequality across Chicago’s 77 community areas. Academics, nonprofits, activists and city officials will participate in a series of lectures and workshops as part of the 15th annual event hosted by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council.
The nonprofit’s stated priority areas are procurement, which focuses on from whom and how food is obtained, land access for food-related efforts, urban agriculture, licenses and permits and urban farmland.
Rodger Cooley, the group’s executive director, said a lack of healthy food options not only negatively impacts residents’ health, but their economic outlook, as well.
“The quality of food impacts the health of folks which impacts their quality of life which leads to less job opportunities,” Cooley said.
The 15th annual Chicago Food Policy Summit takes place Friday form 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the South Shore Cultural Center.