From FoodStore Desert to Healthy Eating: An Inner City Teen Perspective

Are you familiar with the term Foodstore Desert? TAPS Academy students learned about this term and how it affects their lives as inner city teens.  The term refers to places, usually in poor socio-economic areas, in which few major food stores exists. Instead, a variety of fast-food, packaged and processed food options are available. These packaged food options are generally unhealthy and full of fat, sugars and sodium. While these unhealthy foods taste good, they should be part of a healthy diet and consumed moderation. 

To help combat this growing unhealthy nutritional problem,TAPS Academy students planted an urban garden at Beechnut Academy-the home of TAPS Academy in Houston, Texas. Many of the students were amazed to learn about the planting process and specifically how a seed could grow into a watermelon, tomato, and other foods they enjoy eating. While planting the seeds and plants they asked about grow time, climate and watering needs. One student even commented "I don't eat stuff that comes from the ground." She soon changed her thought once she learned a majority of the food a person eats at some point came from the ground, and is safe. 

The students' work was well received and was awarded a local Jefferson Award from Houston Mayor Anise Parker on May 1. The urban garden project is now eligible for the national Jefferson Award which will be announced in June. TAPS Academy realizes the importance of teen involvement and their service to the community and hopes to make them civic-minded adults. TAPS’ goal is to assist teens in making a life-long commitment to improve their communities and make them better places to live. That also involves improving their ability to make wise and healthly food choices as well.


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