Smaller New Jersey towns listed as food deserts

SOUTH JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority has officially named 50 food deserts in the state after a comprehensive study that was designed to redefine the term. Several of those are smaller towns.

When people hear the term “food desert,” there’s often an assumption that it’s an urban area lacking a grocery store. While that is sometimes the case, with Camden and Atlantic City topping the list, it’s more complex than that.

Some food deserts are actually in rural areas. Salem, Paulsboro, and Egg Harbor are all on the list, for example. People there are facing different challenges when it comes to getting food on the table.

The NJEDA‘s Tara Colton said technology is the key to better outcomes.

“They may actually benefit the most from that kind of innovation, because they don’t have enough residents to necessarily support a full supermarket, and that’s often where the solutions have sort of started and ended,” posited Colton.

“So our hope is that by being able to be more creative about the kinds of interventions, that some of those communities will be able to improve the way that food gets to them, even if we aren’t impacting as much how they get to the food.”

New Jersey is providing $240 million over the next several years to these food desert communities, with delivery services a key to getting food on the table in small towns.

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