In the fight to increase food access in Dallas, area health nonprofits have a new weapon that will help them identify where Dallas faces the most urgent needs.
The City of Dallas Community Food Assessment, an interactive map that highlights key data like the concentration of diseases such as obesity and diabetes, was presented Friday at the seventh annual Dallas Hunger Summit, where dozens of area nutrition nonprofits gathered to listen to what Dallas’ hospital health systems and other health groups are doing to serve Dallas’ neediest.
Heather Lepeska, a manager at the City of Dallas’ Office of Economic Development, said during the presentation to about 200 attendees that the map took about a year to develop from data sources from the city, county, state and federal levels.
“We all have really good information and data on food access, hunger and health as it relates to what our interest areas are, but we hadn’t really coordinated and consolidated it into a document to give us a comprehensive snapshot of what we have here today,” Lepeska said.
The map highlights five key areas by ZIP code: concentration of grocery stores, community gardens, supplemental nutrition opportunities, income, and health indicators. It allows users, for example, to compare diabetes and obesity rates in north and south Dallas. It also shows things like how many grocery stores, corner stores and dollar stores are in a given ZIP code.