The Food Desert Impact on Northeast Florida

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food deserts as locations without easy access to fresh, healthy, and affordable foods. Food consumed in food deserts is often high in cholesterol, sugar and fat.

Areas considered to be food deserts are prominent in Jacksonville, as indicated in green on the USDA Food Access Research Atlas. The majority of Jacksonville’s food deserts lie within the I-295 beltway. Strategically, that is where the Feeding Northeast Florida distribution center is located as well.

The need across Florida is vast. According to Feeding Florida, 3.3 million Floridians are food insecure, including 1.1 million children. Food insecurity rates in Duval County are among the highest in the state.

In Duval County, there are 177,000 food insecure individuals – these are children and families, senior citizens and veterans who don’t know where their next meal will come from. Many of these individuals also live in food deserts where it is difficult to access grocery stores. These families are forced to spend their limited food budgets on cheap, canned or processed foods because fresh foods are not available. A recent study on the effects of food deserts found that communities who lack access to fresh, healthy foods will likely exhibit increased premature death and chronic health conditions.

Feeding Northeast Florida is working to ensure that those who are struggling with hunger have access to high-quality food. Roughly 60 percent of the food we distribute is produce.

Through our network of partner agencies, we distributed 12.3 million meals across eight counties in 2016. Feeding Northeast Florida also targets identified areas and deploys mobile food pantries to distribute food where it is needed most. In Duval County, 3.5 million meals were provided to families who live in food deserts last year.

New Town, located on Jacksonville’s Northside, is one of Duval County’s food deserts. New Town is a predominantly residential community with Edward Waters College located in its northern portion. In 2008, the New Town Success Zone was created to insulate families and support their children’s intellectual, emotional and physical growth from the “cradle to college.” With health being a primary focus of this initiative, Feeding Northeast Florida understood the importance of providing residents with access to healthy meals. In January, through a partnership with Mayo Clinic, the New Town mobile pantry was established, which brings food to the community on the fourth Saturday of every month.

Feeding Northeast Florida also has a regularly scheduled mobile pantry serving the Mayport community, which is a larger-scale food desert located outside of the I-295 loop.

The following represents all hunger-relief partner agencies located within Jacksonville’s food deserts that receive food from Feeding Northeast Florida, along with statistics for 2016. In total, Feeding Northeast Florida provided 4.2 million pounds of food to agencies in food deserts.

PARTNER AGENCY TOTAL POUNDS TOTAL MEALS ADDRESS ZIP
Alco Halfway House, Inc. 20,588 17,157 1120 Hubbard Street 32206
Bridge of NE Florida (The), Inc. 5,319 4,433 1824 N. Pearl Street 32206
Christian Fellowship Ministries on Evergreen 117,851 98,209 3302 Evergreen Avenue 32206
Community Rehab Center 46,823 39,019 623 Beechwood Street 32206
Greater Payne AME 16,290 13,575 1230 Claudia Spencer Street 32206
Holy Rosary Catholic School 1,583 1,319 4920 Brentwood Boulevard 32206
Household of Faith 106,724 88,937 1410 West Edgewood Avenue 32206
Operation New Hope 1,159 966 1830 N. Main Street 32206
St. Marys Episcopal Outreach 9,405 7,838 1924 N Laura St 32206
St. Matthews Lodge #436 34,880 29,067 2802 N. Pearl Street 32206
All People International Church 327,825 273,188 1995 Edgewood Avenue West 32208
Families of Slain Children FOSCI 54,291 45,243 3108 N. Myrtle Avenue 32208
Higher Ground Deliverance 3,406 2,838 2514 Van Gundy Road 32208
New Hope Assembly 32,117 26,764 5518 N. Pearl Street 32208
North Jacksonville Church of God 2,054 1,712 7600 Kenya Street 32208
Campus Towers 23,962 19,968 1850 Kings Road 32209
Operation Saving Our Children 2,295 1,913 2114 Kings Park Dr 32209
Caleb Park Mission 11,656 9,713 1720 Hamiliton Street 32210
St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church 32,756 27,297 4758 Shelby Avenue 32210
Sweetwater Church of Christ 50,677 42,231 7185 Esther St 32210
Vine Keepers Ministries 38,790 32,325 4200 Georgetown Drive 32210
WJO-Community Health Outreach 206,581 172,151 5126 Timuquana Rd, Bldg 4 32210
Bethany Ministries 17,464 14,553 8800 Arlington Expressway 32211
Central Church of Nazarene 56,096 46,747 2130 University Blvd. North 32211
First Coast International SDA 464,427 387,023 49 North Bowlan Street 32211
Five Star Veterans Center, Inc. 30,735 25,613 40 Acme Street 32211
L’arche- Greatfull House 7,501 6,251 700 Arlington Rd 32211
L’arche- Nouwen House 5,743 4,786 700 Arlington Rd 32211
L’arche- Peace House 2,842 2,368 700 Arlington Rd 32211
L’arche- Sunflower House 7,969 6,641 700 Arlington Rd 32211
Light in the World Jax 149,874 124,895 Oakwood Villa Apartments 32211
Christ The King 4,502 3,752 742 Arlington Road 32216
Peace Presbyterian 42,579 35,483 2300 Southside Blvd 32216
Center for Language and Culture (The) – DCPS 10,547 8,789 7401 Kings Road South 32217
Jewish Family and Community Services 560 467 6261 Dupont Station Ct. E 32217
Abyssinia Missionary Baptist 3,447 2,873 10325 Interstate Center Drive 32218
Aspire 2 Achieve 682 568 215 Bethel Baptist st 32218
Calvary Baptist of Jacksonville 17,927 14,939 4040 Dunn Avenue 32218
Northside Christian Service Center 137,122 114,268 10435 Biscayne Blvd 32218
Most Holy Redeemer- SVdPDM 141,716 118,097 8523 Normandy Blvd 32221
New Mt. Zion Church Inc. 206,877 172,398 5410 Nathan Hale Road 32221
Westside Christian Church 29,045 24,204 10123 Normandy Blvd 32221
Dream Center 105,394 87,828 6561 Firestone Road 32244
Hillcrest Baptist Church 13,786 11,488 7673 Collins Road 32244
Inman Memorial United Methodist Church 53,490 44,575 5334 Old Kings Road 32254
Jax Bridge (The)- Bridges of America 3,914 3,262 601 Agmac Avenue 32254
Palm Avenue Exceptional Center 16,464 13,720 1301 West Palm Avenue 32254
Paxon Revival Center 15,733 13,111 5461 Commonwealth Avenue 32254
Worship Center (The) 1,482,469 1,235,391 2669 Edison Avenue 32254
Morning Glory Christian Fellowship 7,644 6,370 3405 Atlantic Blvd 32277
St. Matthews Lutheran Church Mens Fellowship Group 13,206 11,005 6801 Merrill Road 32277
TOTAL 4,196,787 3,497,322