Food Lion partners with NCAT to combat food deserts


Courtesy of SGA

Akilah Kafele, theYard Lead Reporter

Every day in Greensboro, thousands of residents live unable to afford a proper amount of nutritious food for themselves and their families.

Many low-income communities within Guilford County, like East Greensboro, are in a food desert. This is defined as an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, especially fruits and vegetables.

In 2016, NC Policy Watch found that Winston Salem and Greensboro had the fourth and fifth highest rates of hunger out of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the nation, with North Carolina in total having a 15 percent food insecurity rate.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 24 different areas of Greensboro and High Point as food deserts, where local food banks and pantries are providing millions of pounds of food per year. However, this still can not fully meet the needs of the community.

Some residents living within a food desert are subject to shop at small corner or dollar stores, which may lack fresh fruits and vegetables due to actual grocery stores being more than a mile away.

“You have to drive much farther out to find the nearest grocery store with healthy food at a decent price than a person should have to, but we have a ton of fast food,” said Ashlyn McIver, senior speech pathology student.

In recent years, there have been major strides of improvement against food insecurity in Greensboro, and students at N.C. A&T are working to feed not only fellow students but the communities that surround the university as well.

Through a partnership with Food Lion Feeds and North Carolina Campus Compact for Collegiate Challenge, various campus organizations and student ambassadors will be hosting events on campus to raise awareness about hunger in the community and to collect food items.

To combat hunger in various communities, Food Lion started the program, Food Lion Feeds in 2014 with the goal of donating 500 million meals by 2020 through various food banks, shelters and partner organizations all over the country.

Miss Senior Nicole Gregory a food and nutritional science student will work as the MVP ambassador and campaign leader for the Food Lion Feeds program throughout the school year. The program directly relates to her campaign slogan of “Feed The Future,” and she is excited to work towards ending food insecurity in the community.

Competing against 18 other UNC system universities including North Carolina Central University and University of North Carolina Greensboro, N.C. A&T will have the opportunity to win up to a $10,000 prize based on the engagement and creativity of programs on campus, as well as another $10,000 based on the number of food donations raised. All proceeds will benefit the new food and supply pantry, The Aggie Source and other hunger-related programming.

“People hear that Greensboro is in a food desert and it kind of confuses them because right down the street on Summit we have every fast food option available,” said Gregory.

“However, when you drive down a little towards Friendly you see less fast food restaurants and more grocery stores. That’s where the food desert and food insecurity problem comes from.”

To get involved with the program, students can donate a portion of their purchases at a local Food Lion to contribute to the university’s food drive through the Food Lion app. Students can also attend various events and food drives occurring throughout the semester.