Neighborhood in La Crosse is a ‘food desert’

Local area 20 percent below poverty line, limited access to healthy food

A study found many La Crosse families are living without access to a healthy food source.

The study done by the Great Rivers United Way shows more than 5,000 La Crosse residents in the Powell-Pogue-Hamilton neighborhood live in what’s called “a food desert.” This means the neighborhood’s population is at least 20 percent below the poverty level and is located more than a mile away from access to healthy food.

A food desert also includes low income residents without access to a vehicle.

However researchers said the neighborhood isn’t the only problem area in La Crosse.

“There’s actually another food desert that has been identified in La Crosse around UW campus, and in the marsh area. In that area, some people the lower north-side of La Crosse probably has similar demographics but just didn’t make the definition,” said Gundersen Health System Epidemiologist Brenda Rooney.

Out of more than 2,000 households surveyed almost 14 percent were food insecure and living with hunger.