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Food Systems

With a population of 86,277, Duluth is home to 43% of the population of St. Louis County and is a regional economic hub.  St. Louis County ranked 72nd out of 84 counties for overall health outcomes in the 2012 County Health Rankings developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. This low ranking is largely attributable to what the study authors class as “Social and Economic Factors” (the county ranks 70th)  and the “Physical Environment” (73rd) and not to available “Clinical Care” (10th).

The Bridge to Health report from 2010 showed that 9,489 people in Duluth are obese, and 28,000 are overweight. At the same time, among people with household incomes below 200% of the federal poverty guideline 55% experienced food insecurity, 34% use food shelves, and 67% eat two or fewer servings of fruits or vegetables daily.

Morgan Park (census tract 37), Lincoln Park (census tracts 24 through 28), half of Central Hillside (census tracts 16 and 20), and half of West Duluth (census tracts 31 and 32) are characterized as food deserts by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA Food Desert Map). Food deserts are characterized by a high number of low-income people, living more than a mile from a full scale grocery store.  The topography of Duluth creates an additional physical barrier to accessing healthy food. Steep hills, harsh winters and an infrastructure unsuited to active transportation affect Duluth as a whole.

What is Duluth LISC doing about access to healthy food?

Fair Food Access Campaign in Lincoln Park

Seeds of Success Transitional Employment via Urban Agriculture

The Lake Superior Food Charter

National LISC: Resources available to support expansion of food retail businesses (call Pam Kramer at Duluth LISC 218-727-7761 if you are interested in learning more about these funds).

Food System Advocacy Allies: (links)

Lake Superior Sustainable Farmers Association

Duluth Community Garden Program

Institute for a Sustainable Future

UMD's Sustainable Agriculture Program

Hillside Public Orchard (Facebook Page)