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Feeding the 21st Century City

Experts and leaders collaborate to address healthy food options for all
Posted February 25, 2015

Watch the full panel discussion

For some Baltimoreans, buying fresh fruit and vegetables is as simple as driving a few blocks to a local grocery store. But for city residents living in urban food deserts — underserved communities without easy, local access to fresh food markets — the struggle to find an apple or a banana within even a quarter mile of where they live is a hard reality.

Feeding the 21st Century City, a recent panel discussion by experts and leaders in the fields of food policy, sustainability, and economics, marked the inaugural event of the 21st Century Cities Initiative, one of the universitys signature initiatives and a priority of the Rising to the Challenge campaign. Building on and supporting Baltimore’s legacy of resilience and transformation, the initiative will foster partnerships with sister cities in the U.S. and internationally that face similar opportunities and challenges.

So how do we provide accessible, affordable, nutritious food to everyone, across demographic groups, in the 21st century city? Panelists and experts all agree that access to fresh, wholesome foods, affordability, and education are crucial components to change.

Adam Sheingate, a Krieger School associate professor of political science, suggests, “A big, radar‑jamming operation that would protect the consumer from the relentless marketing of fast food outlets, the soda industry, and the candy industry. He adds, you can put up the best supermarket with the healthiest foods and you're going to have a clientele that has been relentlessly exploited by marketing.”