Monday, May 19, 2014

The Food Deserts of West Knoxville

Update: I forgot about the Trader Joe's #663 located in the center screen green blob.
UPDATE II: In that same green blob is Target store #151 that sells groceries too.
UPDATE III: Ebisu Asian Market (now called Lucky Asian Market) is also inside the green area.
UPDATE YET ANOTHER (IV): Mi Pueblo Super Mercado in Downtown West
UPDATE V: India Market in Downtown West
More on the Three Rivers Market food co-op here, along with the Super Walmart/Sam's food desert.

Stay tuned for the food desert video!

Seems that the First Lady is making a bunch of hay about "food deserts" in America, and has been for years.  I was wondering if there are any around where I live, and just exactly where they were.  This is what I found while checking the United States Department of Agriculture map just moments before this post:

Some interesting areas are, well, all of them.  In the center of the frame, the one that is orangish has a Super Walmart and a Sam's Club on the southeastern corner, along with a giant bus stop between them (stop #7).  In case you are unaware, the Walmart has a large grocery area with an incredible produce department.  Sams is in large part a food warehouse.  Right across the interstate from Walmart and Sams is the the Sunrise international supermarket.  Farther to the west is the Far East Asian Market.  The shaded area is predominantly office parks and such, with a decent number of apartment buildings too.

The green area is more interesting.  It meets the USDA's original definition of "food desert" and a large portion of the northeast portion is the West Town Mall complex (complete with a food court and artisan food sellers), directly across the street from a large Food City grocery store (#694).

But wait, it gets worse as you get closer to more stores and eateries.  Just take a look at what the shape of the rest of the city!
It turns out that we live right in the middle of one too, the next one east of the two mentioned earlier.  Notable destinations in this area are the Timbercrest subdivision, Pilot Oil headquarters, and the Bush Beans headquarters, along with numerous other businesses and single family homes.  There are a few apartment buildings in the area, and they are located on the edge closest to the Oriental Supermart, and the Knox Plaza Kroger supermarket.

If the federal government wants to be taken seriously, they really need to try harder.

Special thanks to Glenn Reynolds for mentioning this on his blog.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ


  1. Are there Federal incentives for a food vendor in those specified areas? Tax credits, subsidies, ?

  2. Their math skills are not so good, either. I checked an area near me and got this:"This tract has a relatively high number of households (240 of 2370 total households(20%)) without vehicles that are more than one-half mile from a supermarket."

    That really works out to 10.1% (240/2370). You only get to 20% if you round any number higher than an even % up to the next 10%. Most of us were taught to round down in such a case but apparently not these folks.

  3. If being taken seriously by us was important to them, we wouldn't have shipped guns to druglords, accepted presidential election financing anonymously from overseas, passed ObamaCare, paid fortunes for non-ready shovels, given new amnesties to illegal aliens, settled on carbon dioxide as Satan . . .

    . . . and a bunch more stuff.

  4. Checked Chula Vista, and a green area is over the top of a mall with food court, and Target that sells groceries.

  5. I don't want them to try harder. I want them to knock it off.

  6. Don't let a crisis go to waste, even if you have to create one to do it.

  7. Pretty sure Ebisu closed several months ago, unless they moved to a new location or someone has reopened it under the same name.

    1. There was an open Asian market next to/close to Blue Chips just a week or two ago (same location as Ebisu website shows). I couldn't remember if that was the same name. Could be a different name now.

    2. It is now called the Lucky Asian Market, and the Ebisu sign is still up above the entrance.

  8. I just checked my own neck of the woods (Columbus Ohio). I would estimate that half of the city counts as a "food desert" by the green and yellow measures. Which is insane. Funny how the real countryside, where you can really go tens of miles from food, doesn't count as a desert. Only urban areas.

  9. I checked my neck of the woods. One bright orange area contains no residential areas, it's a huge office park that also contains a Walmart Supercenter, a Target with groceries, a Sam's and is across the street from an Aldi.

    Is it a desert if nobody lives there?