Bill Quick’s corner of San Francisco, he says, can be fairly described as a “food desert”:
No chain supermarkets anywhere to be found. And very little of anything else, either. First, San Francisco fights all national chains, trying to hold any new construction hostage to a host of extra fees, charges, and commitments to things like “affordable housing.” And second, in my specific (ghetto) nabe, any national chain probably needs to tack an extra 10% onto the cost of doing business above and beyond the bribes to the city to cover theft, violence, liability insurance, and security. Why? Because the people in my neighborhood amount to less than fifteen percent of the population, but commit more than fifty percent of the crime.
Meanwhile, midtown Detroit will be getting a Whole Foods Market, though not a large one, and 48201 is hardly the worst part of the Motor City. What’s more, the fellow who owns the Whole Foods site is apparently getting some big-time incentives.
Still: almost any desert can be irrigated, if you can make enough of a splash. Whether it can be made to pay off or not that’s another story.