Substantial Increase in Fresh Food Access for Atlanta Residents
The City of Atlanta recently released its annual Fresh Food Access Report, which shows that 75 percent of city residents lived within half a mile of fresh food in 2020 – a 23 percent point increase over this percentage in 2015. The Bottoms’ Administration set a goal to ensure that at least 85 percent of Atlanta residents live within a half-mile of fresh food by 2022.
“For Atlanta to be a place where all residents can thrive, we must ensure that residents have access to fresh food,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “This report highlights the progress we have made toward reaching our goal of ensuring that 85 percent of residents have convenient access to fresh food, as well as how we can best focus our future efforts.”
The 2020 report’s other key takeaways include:
Neighborhood markets played a key role in expanding fresh food access to low-income, low-access areas since 2015.
Increases in fresh food access have occurred unevenly throughout the city, with areas near Midtown seeing the greatest increase in fresh food access, while less densely populated areas in the south and west seeing less gains.
COVID-19 impacted the local food system by creating challenges with indoor food access, but also opportunities with innovations in food access seen in fresh food sites that adapted to social distancing and moving operations outdoors.
The report recommends ways to expand fresh food access throughout the city by allowing on-site sales at urban farms, expanding the MARTA Markets program, and launching a “healthy corner store” program.
“When residents can easily access fresh food, it creates a more healthy, resilient city,” said J. Olu, the City of Atlanta’s Urban Agriculture Director. “The Fresh Food Access Report helps us understand where to target resources as we continue advancing our goal of ensuring a greater and more equitable distribution of fresh food access in the city.” To increase access to fresh food across the city, there is currently legislation being considered that would allow farms to sell food directly to residents.
This legislation was reviewed by Neighborhood Planning Units in June 2021 and would substantially increase the number of residents in Atlanta who can access fresh food near their homes.
The Fresh Food Access Report is led by the City of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning. To view the report, visit https://www.aglanta.org/ffar and explore the interactive dashboard of fresh food locations at bit.ly/ffar2020map.