Follow the Soapbox
Mickey Z.
World News Trust/SPN
Feb. 14, 2015

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.”

- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Embracing a life of activism means being a teacher and student at the same time. I was recently reminded of this while re-watching a talk I gave last year at the NYC March Against Monsanto. In that speech, I told the several thousand attendees how the first step in the fight against GMOs is to “not buy them.”

I can only imagine how privileged and oblivious and unhelpful my advice sounded to anyone in that crowd who lives in a food desert. For me, this can only mean one thing: Back to school.

“Low-income and low-access thresholds”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food deserts are defined as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.”

The USDA's Economic Research Service estimates that 23.5 million people live in food deserts and more than half of those people (13.5 million) are low-income.

Census tracts qualify as food deserts if they meet low-income and low-access thresholds:

1. They qualify as "low-income communities" based on having: a) a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater, OR b) a median family income at or below 80 percent of the area median family income; AND

2. They qualify as "low-access communities" based on the determination that at least 500 persons and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract's population live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (10 miles, in the case of non-metropolitan census tracts).

For more info, please check out and share the USDA food desert locator here.

Define “Easy”
As I re-acquainted myself with the above information, I recalled (and cringed at) how many times I’ve publicly declared something like: “It’s so easy to go vegan” or “If you buy organic, you’ll easily avoid GMOs.”

(insert sad trombone here)

Thus, I say again: I can only imagine how privileged and oblivious and unhelpful my advice sounds to anyone who lives in a food desert.

The primary lesson here is: Check your privilege. The parallel lesson is equally as crucial: Checking our privilege requires 24/7 diligence.

If activists of all stripes become more inclusive, less arrogant, and much more willing to listen, we can learn plenty from those who endure oppression every minute of every day. From there, deep solidarity is not only possible… it’s inevitable.


Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

© -- Share and re-post this story. Please include this copyright notice and a link to World News Trust.



I remember this valuable and a very unique post in my mind so that i get a good review about stocks in nice manner


Nice Post !! I like Your well written and useful information...

04/18/2016 4:02am

Good post. It is really help to us. Its give us lots of interest and pleasure. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy. Its really a good article. It gives me lots of pleasure and interest..!!

04/21/2016 11:45pm

It is best to take part in a contest for among the best blogs on the web. I'll suggest this web site!

06/21/2016 11:57pm

Tiny Tanks is a popular game that all of you will enjoy. In which you can play Tiny Planes] with different versions as Tiny Planes or Tiny Planes Beta , or the gaming Run 3 Unblocked or Run 4 Unblocked and Hacked unblocked Games

07/04/2016 2:57am

I loved what you've done here. The design is elegant, your content classy. Appreciate this post. I'm interested in your article..!!


I read your blog really its informative and unique blog which provide awesome information.!@


This post is really astounding one! I was delighted to read this, very much useful. Many thanks..!@


Excellent post share with us and this blog is impresses more people to reading that blog.!@


Leave a Reply