My Food Desert Experience

I was born and raised in Sunnyside!

I remember paying $1.25 for my transfer to catch the bus on a Saturday to make groceries at Fiesta Mart on Cullen.

We had to choose to either get a ride there and walk back or walk there and get a ride back because we didn't always have enough money for both ways. Or enough money to pay a relative, neighbor or close friend gas money to run us to the store.

After making groceries for the next two weeks, we would take the grocery basket and push it down the street for almost a 30 min walk, which was extremely embarrassing. When we arrived home we'd have to hide the buggy so the Fiesta employees wouldn't take it back.

Sometimes we'd even share the buggy with our neighbors who had a hard time getting to the grocery store as well.

Other days we'd get food from Citgo gas station ( some of the best egg rolls and fried chicken ) and fast food restaurants that were all less than a few blocks away from home.

Over 20 years later not too much has changed in my neighborhood. Many of today's families are still faced with the same hardship of not having access to fresh produce or having a supermarket closer to the neighborhood.

Unfortunately if you go to any other urban community, no matter the city or state, you'll see that the results are the same. We literally have over 4 beauty supply stores sitting across from one another on Cullen Blvd and but one grocery store. While farmers markets, farms, gyms, juice bars & healthy food restaurants are desolate in these areas.

Balanced Root hopes to be a community asset that provides not only fresh fruits and vegetables, but education, job training and a source of pride for the community one day.