You can get corn, corn chips, corn syrup, cornstarch, mono-glycerides… no.. we have no fresh fruit.
The belief of rural American’s eating directly from the orchard or farm is a myth. A study completed by the University of South Carolina examined food-shopping options for Orangeburg County and found that 75% of food stores were convenience stores.

Of the 77 stores that sold food in Orangeburg County in 2004, when the study was done, 57—nearly 75 percent—were convenience stores. Grocery stores, which stock far more fruits and vegetables than convenience stores, are often too far away, says University of South Carolina epidemiologist Angela Liese, lead author of the study, which appeared in last month’s Journal of the American Dietetic Association. “Oftentimes a nutritionist will just say, ‘Buy more fruits and vegetables,’ when, in fact, the buying part is not simple.”

Sadly, the cost of eating healthy is also a barrier to food purchases for the rural Americans as the study of Orangeburg County indicated a median income of 30 000 with 22% of residents below the poverty line.

Ironically, people with low food security are often hungry—and fat. The reason: they binge on cheap, high-calorie foods that fill them up. “People don’t think of people who are obese as struggling with hunger, when of course many of them are,” says Weill of FRAC. “Poverty and food insecurity and obesity are often linked not because poor people are getting too much food from programs but because they’re not getting enough resources to obtain a healthy diet.” And according to a study published this month in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association by the University of Washington, the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is increasing faster than the cost of other foods.

In a nation as wealthy as the United States, fresh food should be the cheapest and easiest option. Government farming subsidies have insured that they are not. Do poor Americans, and those without access to properly stocked grocery stores have any real option to eat healthy?

  1. geder says:

    “Do poor Americans, and those without access to properly stocked grocery stores have any real option to eat healthy?”

    Yes… Move somewhere that has grocery stores located more conveniently. There are plenty of affordable options. Not to mention moving somewhere more populated would allow better & probably higher paying job opportunities.
    This isn’t rocket science…

  2. ECA says:

    Another THINK in this Thought, goes like this.
    EVEN in areas/states that have cattle and ranches, MOST MEAT is shipped in to the Stores from 6 states away, from Major Corps rather then those NEAREST to the area/state.

    And ANOTHER thought to this think…
    That the MAJOR corp that does all the making of GOODS..
    Potato Products makes 6-8-10 of the SAME product for other labels, and MOST sell there OWN label for about 1/2 the price, BUT you wont find THAT on the shelf.
    Vegetables, are all processed and packaged at 1 corp, and tagged with Different labels for MANY other companies ALSO. Finding the the MAIN company LABEL is generally 1/2 the price.
    MOST of these goods are SHIPPED out of state to the Main companies that Clean and process it. THEn shipped back. WHY?? its extra cost to SHIP OUT then SHIP BACK.

    Why are we paying for a LABEL??

  3. dwright says:

    It’s always, move you stupid hicks, isn’t it? Does one study justify all your life choices gedar?
    Why can’t everyone do what I do.

  4. Mister Justin says:


    Guess you missed the “poor” tag. Oh well.

  5. TIHZ_HO says:

    Gee, looks like its either the US having the East and West coasts clapping together under the weight of the mid-west or the weight in the Southeast prevails and upends the entire country to slide into the Atlantic ocean.

    That or the Earth axis gets knocked out of kilter by the off balanced load from the US and we lose the moon. 😉


  6. Les says:

    Ok, I live in SC and I think that USC (the school that I have a degree from) didn’t use the best county in SC to represent as the best place for the study. Orangeburg is between Charleston, and Columbia, but it is not known to be a financially rich county, tho it is not the poorest county either. It is a primarily African-American county which is among the norm for the state. It has a decent 2-year (technical) college, and a very good University, South Carolina State. Truth be told I do live in “more rich” county, Greenville. I do not shop at a “convenience store” as their prices are higher, I just sometimes need a caffeine fix. “Convenience stores” around here have about a $.10 price increase over a regular grocery store. I am not slamming Orangeburg County, I just think that USC should have widened their representative sample.

  7. Obvious says:

    ECA, you really need to invest in a keyboard that doesn’t have a malfunctioning Shift key.

  8. comhcinc says:

    i get what this study is saying. i live in north alabama and consider myself just about poor and heathly food is hard to come by. fresh fruits and veggies are out of my range. in the summer time i have access with all the farmers markets around but this time of year forget it.

  9. MikeN says:

    You have more convenience stores because they are easier to run. Who says you have to have more than x% be grocery stores? Having just one might be enough.

  10. ECA says:

    Mike are you old enough to remember when a GOOD store was within 1 mile Walking distance?? NOt 5-10 miles away..

  11. Sean H says:

    @ECA – I couldn’t imagine what it’s like to talk to you in real life, when you EXASPERATE every OTHER word WITH all CAPITAL letters.

    When you put emphasis on every other word in a sentence, the emphasis is lost.

  12. MikeN says:

    ECA, you mean things should never change? People will only go to stores a mile away? They won’t go 2 miles away to save a little money?

    We have more economies of scale now. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s bad.

  13. Named says:


    ECA types like that for whatever reasons he has. Don’t rage against them. Learn to appreciate them. Life’s too short.


    Sometimes you can’t get to a store 10 miles away… Did you even read the articles in the post?

  14. Personality says:

    What moron actually thought we ate from the vine?

  15. tchamp2 says:

    Sadly – it’s just much cheaper to eat fat than healthy.

    That’s why we have the strangest society in history – our poor are fat!

  16. Cursor_ says:

    Well of course it is easier to eat poorly than healthy. Healthy food is in fad and so they charge more for it.

    But there are still gardens that people can use to grown the veggies. Maybe not fruit so much, but certainly veggies.

    I know as a child living poor my mother would always have a garden, (she was from the Victory Garden days).

    We always had some veggies because of that. Lots of beans for sure as they were easy to grow. Tomatoes, radishes, etc.

    You can grow the stuff in 5 gallon paint buckets if you have to.


  17. Mister Catshit says:

    I live in a rural area. It is difficult to get decent produce simply because the stores around here don’t have the resources to stock the best.

    Another factor is Biscuits and gravy with a mound of bacon is still the preferred breakfast. The stores won’t carry something the locals won’t buy.

    Yes, we have our gardens. Want some tomatoes?

  18. ECA says:

    I mean they wont WALK to the store. They cant, its to far to carry 40+ lbs of food. And with the price of gas, a Bike with Baskets will SOON be the main transport.

    Have you ever Eaten “Ripe off the Vine”??? NOT, “ripened” on the Shelf??

    Go buy decent soil, not the weedy stuff in your yard.
    go buy fertilizer.
    Shoot the Cats that want to use it as a litter box, pay the fines for animal cruelty.
    Fight off the bugs.
    And you just paid for the vegetable/fruits 2 times over.

    I live in a rural area. Its cool, and I have been trying to get the kids to start Gleaming the fruit trees that are ALL AROUND THE TOWN.. No one picks them, and most of it ends up rotting, or the Squirrels get it.. They take 1 bite and throw the rest on the ground.

  19. Angel H. Wong says:

    “Do poor Americans, and those without access to properly stocked grocery stores have any real option to eat healthy?”

    NO, because if poor people could have access to healthy food, then the trophy wives, the gay men and the mac users would have nothing to eat.

  20. Li says:

    One graph says it all.

  21. Cursor_ says:

    #18 Would gladly take them off your hands.

    #19 The great plains when first settled were huge swaths of grass that you could not plant anything into until you plowed all that crap under.

    Further the best fertiliser doesn’t cost anything more than scraps. Yes compost. It was used for centuries and it can be used today. Mulching also helps. But this requires a dedicated amount of WORK. And well frankly bitching, whining and moaning while drinking your beer infront of a TV is the most often used method of Americans these days.

    They can afford a satelite dish out front of their double-wide, but can’t be bothered to start a compost heap or grow garlic and use it as a bug spray. Hell no, let’s whine and blame the government.

    Hate to see what they would say if there was another depression.


  22. DeLeMa says:

    #22 – You being sourcaustic there Bubbo ?

    I too appear to live as economically as most of the posters here as in I live in the upper mid-west in an area known more for pheasant hunting than people population.
    When you’re poor you have little time to tend a garden, especially if you work at more than one job. The majority of people in this community have more than one job and they’re still pretty poor compared to the so-called middle class qualification our government publishes.

    My parents went through the last depression and they’re still here advising me about the one that’s coming…I know how to cultivate “wild” seed to grow my own food crops and I do believe I can barter for most of the rest of what I might need to survive.

    How’s it hanging with the rest of you guys ?!?

  23. ggore says:

    I live in a small town in a rural area of Oklahoma. It is not a poor area, actually quite well off, and yet we do not have a grocery store in this town any more. The closest one is 9 miles away. Only two of the four towns in the county have grocery stores. The only other option is to drive 35 miles to a Wal Mart Supercenter.

    The local grocery stores can’t compete on price and selection with Wal Mart, and most of the best quality produce, fruit & vegetables, has been locked up by Wal Mart as well. Distributors just refuse to sell to smaller stores any more, it all goes to Wal Mart.

    As to #1’s silly comment of “Just move”, I and the other residents of this community and other rural areas have NO desire to move to a city and put up with the crime, pollution, crime, crowding, crime, traffic, and everything else that goes along with living there. I guess I’ll just enjoy the scenery, peace & quiet and little stress as I make the 35 mile drive to Wal Mart to buy my groceries.

  24. ECA says:

    Lets see,
    Work at <$10 per hour, and work 10 hours per day.
    Then go home for 8 hours sleep(maybe)
    6 hours left, for food, and abit of entertainment/cleaning dishes, clothes, house.
    Time with the kids IF’ they can stay up long enough.
    THEN be LAID OFF 4 months of the year, and PRAY that you have enough..
    MOST of the farm work can be done by machines, and IF’ you dont have the experience, you WONT be working harvest.

  25. Kristine says:

    I just came across this post. I live in an urban area but this issue concerns me very much. (Some urban people choose to eat quite poorly, when they have access to fresh food.)

    I wonder if this country needs a “Garden for Humanity” program, just like “Habitat for Humanity,” so that young, enthusiastic volunteers can start up a community garden for rural people who are working long hours. That way, the woman in the article with diabetes and obesity isn’t doing all the work to raise tomato plants. (I feel bad for her.) Once started, it could even turn into an annual town festival. Set the kids to work hoeing! I loved gardening as a kid (both my parents worked and didn’t have time) and we ate what I raised. It’s not a total solution, just a supplement, but once people get together with their neighbors and feel empowered, they could then lobby for a grocery store nearer them, or organize collective grocery runs. Just an idea.

    I think it’s a shame that after the “Green Revolution,” people are disenfranchised and exhausted, and don’t even have a grocery store. I felt angry, reading this. It shouldn’t happen in America.


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