Urban food deserts are communities where the majority of residents don’t have access to a supermarket. Basically, it is a city or a neighborhood without any access to healthy and affordable food. Across America, there are hundreds probably thousands. This excellent documentary produced by The Guardian illustrates it better
Access to a limited amount of fresh, quality, and affordable food can obviously create enormous challenges for residents. Health imbalance is probably the most common.
Throughout the country, many initiatives have been implemented to address this issue. In addition, this is how money circles can help urban food deserts.
What is a money circle?
Money Circle is a group of people that come together to pool resources for their common good. In this basic definition, two things stand out: resource pooling and shared interests. The shared interest here is the access to quality and fresh food for the community. That is a common goal and everybody has something to bring on the table.
How a money circle can help urban food desert communities?
Money circles have the power to radically transform an entire community. It might sound stupid for many but a money circle can help food desert communities in a very inclusive and sustainable way
The biggest problem with a food desert community is the lack of a dedicated ecosystem that includes food growers, the space to sell the product, for example, a food market or a supermarket, the space to learn how to grow and preserve food. Access to seed, inputs, and the financial infrastructure among others.
Of course, to go into action funding plays a big part. Through a money circle, members who are dedicated for example to open a farmer market can get the funding needed to start or those looking to explore farming will receive the extra help needed from the group. Those involved in logistics as well. Basically, every level of the chain can be identified and the circle will be a source of start-up funding, knowledge sharing, and support for implementation.
In a money circle group, the level of accountability is extremely high among members. That is consecutive, to the challenges of implementing and running a money circle.
In conclusion, money circles can help urban food deserts by creating a strong local ecosystem. However, people have to decide to work together. When we work together we are stronger together. Money circles facilitate job creations, put networking capital in the hands of people, and bring people together. More importantly, it is a local solution adapted to a local problem.