How food benefits a community: Health & Economy

How food benefits a community: Economy and health

Written by: Javier P.

Securing access to nutritious food has a ripple effect on an entire community and can lead to improvements in the local economy, health, education, and social well-being. Safe and easy access to food affects every area of life. All aspects associated with a strong community, such as resilience and unity, significantly depend on the accessibility of basic needs. If we want to develop safe and successful communities, we must secure basic needs! 

Access to basic needs plays a significant role in shaping a community’s health and economic stability. When a community has access to nutritious food, it fosters a healthier and more productive community that can contribute to the local economy in various ways. Please note that the details in the examples below are particularly relevant to Western culture. However, the positive impact of securing basic needs is true in every community around the world.

Health and Productivity

A well-fed community directly correlates with a healthier and more productive workforce. The greatest threat that many people in the workforce face is struggling with chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. A significant factor leading to these diseases is a poor diet that lacks proper nutrients. Trying to treat these diseases can become costly and poses risks to continual health issues. This results in families shelling out more money towards healthcare while raising the cost.

A well-fed community can lead to reduced healthcare costs, lower absenteeism, increased productivity, and decreased turnover rates. When everyone in the community is well enough to go to work and miss fewer days, this is good for community health and also helps the local economy trend upward, as less money has to be spent on health care.

This isn’t just beneficial for the workforce; it also benefits children in schools. Access to quality foods fortifies the community against the spread of diseases and reduces the frequency of illnesses among children and, subsequently, their parents. These children also represent the future of their communities, so having a strong foundation of health will benefit the community’s healthcare, workforce, and, as a result, the future economy.

The Power of Stores and Local Markets

Increasing access to healthy food can stimulate the local economy through the stores that exist in the community. Supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and local businesses that provide nutritious food options generate job opportunities, increase wages, and contribute to tax revenue. Research has shown that every 10,000 square feet of retail grocery space can lead to an estimated 24 new jobs. This can encourage economic growth. This can be pivotal in areas that are food deserts, where there is limited access to healthy food.

Furthermore, in rural areas, the consumption of healthy and accessible foods supports local farmers, benefits the local economy, and fosters a sustainable food ecosystem.

It is hard to separate the impact of a community’s health on its impact. Community members should have the confidence to take hold of their local economy to create deep-seated solutions that will benefit future generations. This is possible when they have access to nutritious food and have the ability to reduce the impact of chronic illness and other diseases. 

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