Following a weeklong orientation program focused on health disparities and public health, first-year medical students got into the weeds on one topic raised during orientation: food deserts. Food deserts are areas that lack affordable, healthy food options, increasing residents’ risks for malnutrition and chronic diseases. Food deserts are most common in low-income rural or inner-city areas.
To help a program that is tackling this issue, the students volunteered at City Seeds Urban Farm. There students tended to gardens of fruits and vegetables that the farm distributes to local food pantries and sells at a market in the Grove neighborhood.
The farm is a program of Gateway Greening, a nonprofit organization that establishes and sustains green spaces in neighborhoods across St. Louis. One goal of the farm is to make fresh fruits and vegetables available in areas with poor access to healthy foods.