July 24, 2012

In some parts of rural New Mexico, the nearest store may be a 70-mile drive, one way. Service member Kristi Silva knows her efforts to educate children about the importance of good food can only go so far when parents can't easily buy the stuff.

"We can say all day that kids should eat apples instead of French fries, but when the apple isn't available, or it isn't affordable, there really isn't much of a choice to make," Silva says.

Like her fellow service members, Silva is working to establish school gardens. She is also serving with the nonprofit Farm to Table to map New Mexico's food deserts. This information is used to educate the state's food-policy councils so they can see the direct effect a lack of fresh food has on health.

"The research clearly demonstrates that where these food deserts are, the rates of overweight and obese children and adults are higher," she says. "Until people have healthier options, we'll continue to face higher numbers of obesity and disease."

Kristi Silva is a FoodCorps service member serving with Farm to Table in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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