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Robertson County considered ‘food desert’ due to lack of grocery stores

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 3:09 PM EDT
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ROBERTSON COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - Hundreds of people who live in Robertson County cannot regularly put food on the table because of the lack of major grocery stores in the area.

The USDA labels these areas “food deserts,” which is when residents of rural areas live farther than 10 miles from a grocery store.

In Robertson County, it is about 30 miles. The main grocery store closed a few years ago.

Director of the Senior Center Linda Edwards says they only have a Family Dollar store and a gas station that has some groceries.

Almost everyone in the area lives at least 30 minutes from a Kroger or a Walmart.

Many senior citizens rely on free charitable meals delivered in a van by volunteer Bill Robinson.

“Sometimes it hot, sometimes it’s cold. Today was a cold sandwich day,” Robinson said.

It is far from a balanced meal, so every trip to the grocery store is essential.

“Frozen foods that can be easy to fix or some of the basic at least canned vegetables and those kind of things. We’re kind of in the middle of nowhere here,” Robinson said.

Before 2020, food insecurity impacted about 10% of U.S. residents. Experts estimate that number has at least doubled since the pandemic.

“To us, to go 20 or 30 minutes away, 45 minutes to go to Cynthiana, Maysville, Flemingsburg, it’s not… it’s not that big of a hardship cause we’re used to doing it,” Edwards said.

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP is also a challenge because it is sometimes cheaper and more convenient for families to eat unhealthy food. In Robertson County, there are only two places where SNAP is accepted.

One-quarter of the adults in Robertson County have diabetes-which is double the national average. They also have heart disease at a much higher rate than most of the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, eating healthy and exercising can prevent diabetes and heart disease.

Robinson says that he and his wife have a garden.

“It does provide the plants that we get that help raise a good bunch of foodstuff that we use.”

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