The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) labeled Binghamton’s North-side a food desert in 1997 when the Great American, a grocery store, closed. A food desert is defined as an urban area in which is is difficult to find affordable and quality fresh food. Since then many brand-name companies have been hesitant to establish another grocery store in the area due to the fact that it is considered a generally low-income region. Even if a company had the capital to build a store the profit margin would not be high enough to be considered justifiable by many brand-name companies. However, this does not necessarily mean that the profit of a grocery store would not be menial to the local population nor the other benefits a grocery store in the area would provide.
PROJECTS TO AID FOOD INSECURITY
Since 1997 there have been a number of organizations which have dedicated themselves to assisting the North-side area in various ways. With the absence of quality food and the difficulty for many residents to leave the area for groceries–either due to financial stress or time limitations–several organizations have put forth their own remedies to the situation.
VINES (Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments):
Local Food Pantries: