Food Insecurity in Chicago: Finding Solutions

Food Graphic by Monica Macellari

: Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011

The numbers don't lie. Chicago is a city in a food crisis.

Food deserts -- low-income neighborhoods with high concentrations of people who are far from a grocery store -- cover all areas of the city. Many of them are found on the South and West Sides.

A study released by the Greater Chicago Food Depository in September 2011 showed that the food insecurity rate in Cook County is 16. 1 percent. Englewood tied with North Lawndale for the county's highest food insecurity rate at 31.2 percent.

The Red Line Project examined Chicago's food insecurity issue -- with a specific focus on the South Side Englewood neighborhood -- and how people are working to solve the problem: 

Brian Anderson and Samantha Sutton PhotoShepherd's Hope Works to Alleviate Food Insecurity 
Brian Anderson (right, with Samantha Sutton) opened a food pantry in his Englewood home three years ago. And it seems to be working. The Greater Chicago Food Depository reports that visits to the pantry have increased by 59 percent during that time.


Hoop House Photo by Amanda BolemanGrowing Home Expands Urban Farming 
A nonprofit organic agriculture organization that strives to erase hunger and employ individuals who have had problems with job sustainability and homelessness. It  began farm development in October and production on Honore Street Farm, a new urban farm that will serve as an extension to their Wood Street Urban Farm in Englewood.


LINK Card Photo by Holly PennebakerExperimental Station Ties Residents to Nutritious Food
Woodlawn neighborhood residents have been gifted with an oasis of healthy food choices in their usual “food desert” neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side. The not-for-profit Experimental Station partnered with volunteers to create a way for LINK card-holders to buy nutritious, affordable food like fruits and vegetables.


Kendra Hardy Photo by Monica MacellariGrowing Power Building Urban Ag on South Side
Growing Power, a corporation that originated in Milwaukee, Wis., by former pro-basketball player Will Allen, has taken root on the South Side. Kendra Hardy (right) works on the farm, developing locally-grown food.




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