The term “food desert” got a lot of play earlier this year, with the federal government focusing on the plight of areas without reliable access to fresh food, as opposed to convenience stores and fast-food joints.
It seemed like a legitimate focal point. Odds are, if you're looking to feed a family, you're better off doing it at ShopRite than you are 7-Eleven, since most grocery stores at least offer the option of fresh food, as opposed to entire aisles devoted to the lethal snacks food group.
Now, however, NJ.com has a report indicating Parsippany qualifies as a food desert. I happen to have a rooting interest in this one, as a Parsippany native, and I can tell you that nobody talks down about my hometown, unless it's me, because while I know you also complained there was nothing to do in your town when you were a teenager, believe me, your sorry 'burg was still more exciting than Parsippany, unless you liked how all the interstate highways come together.
But enough about that, unless I need to fill out the word count later on. Parsippany has three supermarkets and countless smaller fresh foods places that add some water to the desert, so to speak. Yes, they are mostly located on Route 46, and it is a big township, but for those without cars or bikes, there is bus service available to nearby locations. It seems ridiculous to include a relatively wealthy township with multiple grocery stores when you have much larger, much poorer cities like Newark that have almost nothing to offer in the way of fresh food, despite Cory Booker's endless courtship of Whole Foods.
Food deserts represent a serious problem. Lumping towns like Parsippany into the mix turns that into a punch line. I wouldn't be surprised if the town suddenly qualifies for grant money to lure a grocery store, but let's hope that money gets to neighborhoods in need, and Parsippany focuses on building a go-kart track. That would have been, like, awesome when I was 16.
I'm even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.