AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin is starting new initiatives to remove food access barriers. It comes as new research reveals the majority of food deserts in Austin can be found in one part of town.
The goal is to create a way for people to easily get to places with healthy food. Officials hope to do this by partnering with Austin Public Transit and adding bus routes that can drop people off at destinations with nutritious food.
Austin has 33 spots that are classified as food deserts by the USDA. That means in those spots that at least 500 people live at least half a mile from a grocery store.
The research shows that the areas in Austin are concentrated east of I-35, where most residents have lower incomes and are a part of communities of color.
The Civics Lab, the group behind the research from St. Edwards University, says that these communities suffer from higher rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Overall in Austin, the rate of food security is higher than that of the nation.
City officials say the second part of their plan is to declare today as Austin Food Insecurity Awareness Day.