Food Deserts in Raleigh and Greensboro

food boxes at the SE Raleigh Y

The Hayes-Taylor YMCA, part of the YMCA of Greensboro, and the Southeast Raleigh YMCA, part of YMCA of the Triangle, both are located in a food desert where there is no access to healthy food.

“Many of the children go to school hungry every day, and in most families, the only nutritious meal they receive is in school,” according to Larry Burnett at the Hayes-Taylor Y. So the Y has a variety of programs to help, including its Tower Garden. This aeroponic tower garden grows vegetables, herbs and fruit with water only – no dirt – and produces plants faster and with a 30% greater yield. The produce goes to grandparents in need who are caring for little ones in foster care. 

Meanwhile in Raleigh, “COVID has hit hard in our zip code, so we opened a food hub at the Y to distribute food boxes. We were able to use government funds to engage our community, support our community and pay people who were otherwise looked over,” said Erica Porter, Food Hub Coordinator for the Southeast Raleigh Y. “We supported Black farmers with this money, and it’s been a game changer for them. Before they hadn’t been able to plan their season and buy supplies because they weren’t white farmers and couldn’t get credit in stores. We were able to contract with a few Black farmers and a Black grocer who supplies us with ground beef for the boxes.”