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Much of Florence, AZ is considered a food desert, lacking easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Latinos make up the largest minority group in Florence and feel the realities of having to drive over ten miles one way just to buy fruits and vegetables.
Elizabeth Kizer, a public health doctoral student at the University of Arizona, has been researching the food environment in Florence, hoping to find trends and get the community involved in proposing and implementing solutions to get healthier food into the community. She met with interested members in the community to share her findings and brainstorm possible solutions.
Kizer found, among other things, that Florence lacked enough local food production to have a farmers’ market, restaurants offered poor to no healthy options, and kids’ diets were to high in processed sugar.
The group came up with some goals they would like to see the town work towards:
• establishing a farmers’ market,
• backyard gardening classes,
• expanded healthy menu items at existing restaurants,
• a student-supported eatery,
• a community interest group focused on healthy eating,
• a community cooperative.