By Ryan McGreal
Published December 12, 2007
Rural exurbia is broken. From a depressing Newsweek article:
Fannie Charles, 46, lives six miles from the nearest grocery store in rural Orangeburg County, S.C. She doesn't own a car, so she pushes a cart along the side of the highway. (There are no sidewalks.)
It's difficult, since she weighs 240 pounds and suffers from asthma and type 2 diabetes. That's why she usually goes only once a month. About once a week she supplements her grocery-store purchases with pricier, less healthy food from the convenience store, just a mile and a half away.
At both places she forgoes fruits and leafy greens. "They're too expensive," she says. Skim milk is often unavailable. "I get the whole milk, or I'll get a little can of Carnation evaporated," she says. Though she often worries about going hungry, she is obese. "I'm stressed. That's why I'm eating a lot," she says. "And I've got to eat what I have."
Total car dependence plus industrial food and big box retail minus actual neighbourhoods, family farming or even gardening equals an ecological and public health disaster in slow motion.