Food deserts are now back in the national conversation thanks to a viral video.
TikTok user Griffin Green went viral for a video he posted, and later deleted, on the social networking app. In it, he explains that he recently moved to New York City and had trouble finding a grocery store in his new neighborhood. He complained that his Apple map directed him to bodegas instead of grocery stores.
“Where are the Krogers and the Whole Foods at,” Green said in the video. “I’m bout to eat cereal and ramen for dinner, what the f**ck.”
After the video was shared on Twitter, it quickly went viral on social media with many users condemning it for being culturally insensitive and for epitomizing everything that’s wrong with gentrification. However, some users came to the defense of Green, saying he is dealing with culture shock and didn’t know any better, while others called it satire. Yet, most users felt the video was an arrogant attempt to berate and belittle the people that live in these NYC neighborhoods.
While Green’s viral video has irked many, it has also sparked a necessary conversation among online users around the lack of access to healthy foods for urban dwellers—especially for those in lower-income neighborhoods.
As many social media users are calling out, the bodegas that Green appears to be bashing might actually be the only accessible food option for someone in a lower economic area. There are in fact numerous neighborhoods across the United States that are systematically deprived of convenient options for securing affordable and healthy food. These food deserts, as they’ve come to be known, are a serious issue in society and should be spoken about more.
Here’s some information on food deserts, the communities they most impact and strategies for alleviating them.