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Organic Consumers Association

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How Baltimore Is Experimenting Its Way Out of the Food Desert

The city is fighting diet-related illnesses in its poorest neighborhoods one fresh tomato at a time.

Rosemary Johnson wheels a metal cart into the Family Food Market, a corner store in the rowhouse-filled Govans neighborhood whose three aisles mix groceries with a cornucopia of plastic-wrapped sugar and salt.

She passes the Cheez doodles and two-liter soda bottles, eyes focused on a refrigerator emblazoned with a bright yellow sign that reads “FreshCrate.” She reaches in, below the winter strawberries and Roma tomatoes, and pulls out two bags of green Bartlett pears.

“We all need more fruits and vegetables in our lives,” says Johnson, 57, who pays for the two bags with $8 in yellow coupons. “I love coming here to get [them] because they’re always fresh.” The price is right too. “You can’t go anywhere [else] and get a bag of pears like this for $4.”

At least, not too many places around this part of North Baltimore.

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