UNCG's Mobile Oasis Farmers Market provides fresh, local food to people living in food deserts.

As a communication expert, UNC Greensboro’s Dr. Marianne LeGreco understands that the way we talk about food impacts the solutions we put in place.

For example, “there’s a difference between ‘availability of’ and ‘access to’ food,” explains the associate professor of communication studies.

In North Carolina, fresh vegetables and many fruits are available year-round. But while food may be available, it’s not always accessible. In Guilford County, many residents live in “food deserts,” or areas in which most residents live more than a mile from a grocery store, and below the poverty line.

People living in food deserts can feel stuck there. Residents are not in walking distance to a grocery store, and some cannot afford transportation.

“The idea of ‘access’ seems easy to wrap our minds around,” LeGreco says. “And we think we can fix that easily by starting a food pantry, a community garden or a mobile market. But really, there’s more to it than that.”

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Originally published February 06, 2018.

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