Monday, March 29, 2010

Census 2010: It's in our hands!

Take a look at DC's Census 2010 "Hard-to-Count" (HTC) census tracts.  The Census Bureau has developed a list of HTC's based on underlying demographic and socio-economic indicators. These are the areas where community-based "get out the count" efforts should be focused. The higher the score the more difficult the region.  We've got 3 days to get forms in!

How are you actually "counted?"

Marvin Gaye Park Music Festival on Census Day, April 1, 4pm-8pm for music, healthy cooking demo's, football, basketball, live art and more!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Food desert or Economic Oasis

In the last few weeks a study has been released by DC Hunger Solutions detailing Deanwood as a food desert. Food desert, you ask? Yes, food desert. Just as it sounds Deanwood, along with all of Ward 7, Ward 8, Ward 5, and Ward 4, have few full-service grocery stores and even less healthy food options. Dominated by "mom-and-pop" convenience/liquor stores, carry-outs, and fast food joints we are sorely under-served. Contrast our neighborhood with Wards 2 and 3 which have "one grocery store for every 7,300 people" not to mention a new eatery serving cereal (?!).

The grocery gap and food desert are astounding social policy topics that fall under food justice, which deserves attention and a solution. At the same time food justice intersects quite well with economic growth and development. In the world of bottom-line retail development the trite slogan "rooftops drive demand" before amenities like a full-service grocery (i.e., 60,000+ sq. ft.) rules the decision-making process. (Read between the lines "rooftops" = a high income demographic.) Because of this erroneous perception chains and the mom-and-pop stores are missing out on dominating the market and building brand loyalty.

Deanwood has an opportunity, though, during this economic downturn. Making an opportunity out of a crisis gives us a chance to strategize, engaging our neighbors join an advocacy campaign that gets the City to implement the Deanwood Strategic Plan, the Nannie Helen Burroughs and Minnesota Great Streets, and the street cars plan, marketing our neighborhood.

We're at a crossroads; a crossroads that I think we're ready to march through to make things happen for us!