Grocery Store Gap Persists in Washington, D.C., Report by D.C. Hunger Solutions Finds
WASHINGTON, November 1, 2021 – There are still disparities between wards with the lowest and highest incomes regarding residents’ access to full-service grocery stores, according to the Still Minding the Grocery Gap in D.C.: A 2021 Update report released today by D.C. Hunger Solutions. A year after the 10th anniversary of the original grocery store report, D.C. Hunger Solutions conducted another review of accessibility to full-service grocery stores in the District. The latest report evaluates the current status of grocery store access and reviews Washington, D.C. government policy changes in the last year. The findings affirm that it is still more challenging to access nutritious food in the Blackest and lowest-income neighborhoods in the city; however, the government is beginning to take steps to alleviate these challenges.
“Despite community interventions, the grocery gap and food insecurity continue largely unchanged since a decade ago,” said Beverley Wheeler, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions. “It is time to challenge that status quo.”
Key Findings from the 2020 report:
- There are significantly fewer full-service grocery stores in Wards 5, 7, and 8 than in the other wards
- Wards 5, 7, and 8 do not have significant disparities in the number of community-based food programs, such as Healthy Corner stores, farmers’ markets, and community gardens, when compared with the other wards, but still lack sufficient and reliable access to healthy and affordable food
- The racial wealth gap is increasing in the District of Columbia.
Key Findings in the 2021 Update:
- The number of grocery stores in Wards 7 & 8 has not changed in the past year, and stores in the pipeline have not been built
- The government of the District of Columbia has taken significant steps to help fund businesses to bridge the grocery gap, including
- Nourish DC Fund
- Food Access Fund
- East of the River Leasing Strategy
- Proposed legislation: Reopen Washington, DC Alcohol Act, and the Supermarket Tax Incentives Amendment Act of 2021
“There is no excuse for hunger or racial inequities in our nation’s capital when solutions exist,” added Wheeler. “We are excited to see the emerging efforts and political will to make it happen and will continue to advocate for improved policies to end the grocery gap.” The report includes recommendations on improving the grocery gap, including:
- Increase Funding for the Nourish DC Fund to focus on investing in locally-owned food businesses to help address the grocery gap
- Increase SNAP benefits by 30 percent in the District using federal and local funds
- Amend the Supermarket Tax Incentives Program to target areas with the highest level of need, including Wards 7 and Wards 8
The Still Minding the Grocery Gap in D.C.: A 2021 update can be found online.
About D.C. Hunger Solutions
D.C. Hunger Solutions, founded in 2002 as an initiative of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), works to create a hunger-free community and improve the nutrition, health, economic security, and well-being of low-income people in the District of Columbia. To learn more about D.C. Hunger Solutions, visit www.dchunger.org