First Lady Michelle Obama claimed that 23.5 million Americans live in “food deserts” Wednesday, but the Department of Agriculture website that defines term says only 13.5 million Americans live in the Obama administration defined census tracts.
Obama’s 23.5 million claim came at a press conference designed to give giant retailers, like Wal Mart, the political influence they need to convince liberal-controlled local governments to allow them to open new stores in urban areas. The First Lady hopes that big retailers can bring more healthy food options to lower income Americans. “Today’s announcement means that more parents will have a fresh food retailer right in their community – a place that sells healthy food, at reasonable prices, so they can feed their families the way they want.” The Obama administration is apparently unaware that small businesses are perfectly capable of selling healthy food to low income urban areas.
Last year, when Obama unveiled her Let’s Move campaign, she claimed, “Right now there are 23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, who live in what we call “food deserts.” These are places and communities that don’t have a supermarket. This is true in the inner city and in rural communities.”
But by the time the Department of Agriculture managed to produce a map showing where these food deserts were this year, the definition of ‘food desert’ had changed. From the Ag Department’s Food Desert Locator: “An estimated total of 13.5 million people in these census tracts have low access to a supermarket or large grocery store—that is, they live more than 1 [for urban tracts] or 10 [for rural tracts] miles from a supermarket or large grocery store.”
Turns out that by simply extending the supermarket cut-off in rural areas from one to ten miles, the Obama administration managed to rescue 10 million Americans from food deserts. Problem is, no one clued the First Lady in on this stunning success.