Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sigh. Our Food Desert

Ok, this one isn't about Noah. It's about the topic we talk about only second to Noah - food.

There's all this talk of food deserts and the idea that in urban areas a mile is too far to go to a grocery store. Whatever.

We live in Northern Virginia, home to several of the richest counties in the country. We live in the working class part. Our neighbors in the ten houses in our cul-de-sac alone are from several different countries. There are lots of people who work with their hands in a part of the country not known for that. You would think there would be tons of mom and pop, hole in the wall, ethnic restaurants around here. There aren't.

You know why there aren't? Because our dear leaders would rather have PF Changs come to our neighborhood instead - because they're better for the tax base. So, they make zoning laws and tax structures and rents impossible for "the little guy" in the name of "improving our community".

It sucks. And I'm not even talking about the idiocy of DC in regards to something as simple as food trucks. I'm talking about our little suburbia fifteen miles south. I'd say there are enough people from at least fifty different countries that we should have some of the most diverse food choices anywhere. And there are none. When I talk to people who've moved here from anywhere, food comes up and it's always the same - there's no good Mexican food, or Chinese food, or soul food, or Southern food, or anything. The exception is Korean food. The Koreans got it going on. But for us to even go eat some Korean food is a thirty minute drive in traffic. The Asian grocery stores are a forty-five minute drive. And those are all in other counties. We're in the minority, most people won't drive as far as we will for food. So they're stuck with chain restaurants or fast food.

It doesn't have to be that way, but our local leaders aspire to being even more like the rich county next door than to serve the people who actually live in this area.

So, every night when we talk about what we want to eat, we list off ten or twelve places we used to go to in Austin and wish we were there. When people ask if we like living here, I say I love the weather, and I do, but the food situation, along with the traffic and cost of living, will lead to us moving eventually.

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