Are dollar stores harmful to poor communities?
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Tulsa, Oklahoma, city councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper believes they are contributing to food deserts, regions where people have limited access to food, usually in lower-income areas.
“I am not against dollar stores, I am only against their proliferation because when they are able or allowed to proliferate, then they cause food deserts,” Hall-Harper told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
In April of 2018, Tulsa passed an ordinance intended to promote “greater diversity in retail options” and increased access to fresh foods by requiring dollar stores to be at least one mile away from one another.
Hall-Harper argued that these dollar stores target “black, brown and poor communities,” causing food deserts to arise.
“We have several initiatives in our community where schools are taking some of their property and they’re farming. So they’re teaching children how to farm [and] how to harvest their food,” Hall-Harper said while discussing ways to combat the problem.
Hall-Harper also noted that she had protested the building of new dollar stores, which resulted in one location bringing in healthy food options, however, this approach was not ultimately fruitful on a large scale.
“When I first made those attempts to address this issue bureaucratically and diplomatically, the door was shut in my face,” she said.
Hall-Harper concluded by suggesting that more and more cities and organizations are taking recognizing the need to take action against the problem of food deserts and against dollar stores.