Tuesday, December 22, 2009
South LA Fast Food Ban is Junk
LOS ANGELES-- The LA City Council has extended a ban on new fast food restaurants in South Los Angeles. Experts, however, believe the ban won’t do much to curb obesity and other health problems that exist. While I agree that the plan is taking the wrong approach with the ban, the city council should make efforts to expand the availability of local, healthy food options, instead of outlawing fast food.
The damage by fast food restaurants has already been done in South LA. The area already experiences higher concentrations of obesity than the rest of LA, especially for African-American and Latinos. One of the problems is that there are fewer healthy food options. Grocery stores in South LA aka “the hood” are few, and their produce is far from the freshest in the land. Farmer’s markets, too, are scarce in the hood.
Farmer Larry Williamson, of LA, who sells his produce at the struggling Harambee farmer’s market on Crenshaw and Slauson in South LA agrees that the city could do more to promote farmers like him and markets like Harambee.“The system is not geared to help us, but they need us,” says Williamson, who feels that politics often interfere with making healthy food available via farmer’s markets.
The City has identified fast food eateries as “the enemy,” which it is. Instead of battling enemies of healthy eating, however they should be seeking allies of healthy eating. This strategy is wrong because several fast food chains are making more healthy food available on their menu. The ban doesn't prevent liquor stores and snack stores from opening, and those places are doing more damage to South LA than Big Macs.