In 2010, food policy researchers documented an inadequate number of full-service grocery stores in Ward 8, with just one grocery store per 23,000 residents, a marked difference when compared to Ward 3, which boasted one grocery store for every 7,300 residents.
Today, the number has dwindled from seven stores in Wards 7 and 8 to a meager three, according to Beverley Wheeler, DC Hunger Solutions director. The organization is expected to update a six-year-old report later this month, which should amplify focus on the widening "grocery gap".
“The disparity has worsened for Wards 7 and 8,” Wheeler says in an email. The newer data shows a stark contrast in the sociodemographic and socioeconomic disparities between the parts of the city that have and do not have grocery stores, she says.
The gaps remain despite continuing efforts aimed at improving food access in these wards. That includes passage of the FEED Act, which targets food access in low-income neighborhoods, and the formation of D.C.’s own Food Policy Council, which was established over a year ago to coordinate citywide efforts to improve food access and grow the local food economy.