Candy is Handy: Food deserts in Oakland


Artist Statement

By: Pearl Stark, Soha Levert and Destiny Lloyd

Living in the Bay Area we have many farmers markets and stores that sell healthy foods, products, and more. However, only certain people have easy access to them. For many families living  in West and East Oakland, California, liquor stores are the only accessible places to buy “food”.  We choose to do our project on Food Deserts because our entire group was interested in environmental racism and food justice. We wanted to do something that currently effects our surrounding community and highlight the issue more personally to bring awareness.

The question we endeavored to address: What are the social, economic and health effects of food deserts in Oakland? Our question allowed us to approach the main effects that food deserts have on Oakland communities. For social impacts, we noted children going to school all day with only sugar and fats in their body’s, temporarily filling empty tummy’s. Economically, we researched families not having enough money to shop at health food stores or farmers markets, or to even be able to get to them. Lastly, for health, we examined the extremely high rate of diabetes in low income children and people of color.

Through out or research project we used several methods to address and better understand our topic. We used essays to define food deserts, and a narrative essay to show how someones real life experience could be effected by food deserts. We also created an satirical pastiche of the movie poster of the animated film Rango. Lastly we produced an original video about community gardens in Oakland and what benefits they offer local communities. We hope to shed some light on this issue, and spread awareness about food deserts.

No Real Food, Only Desserts : This essay defines what food deserts are and how they impact East and West Oakland communities.

Ms.Beverly’s Garden:  This essay depicts a story  about living in a West Oakland food desert.

Annotated Works Cited


33 Comments Add yours

  1. Destiny says:

    I really enjoyed reading the essays, good job guys 😊


  2. Josh Kluger says:

    I hope Oakland implements more community gardens.


    1. Sarah Marlin says:

      You should start building greenhouses everywhere


  3. London Haines says:

    I love how you guys answered your artist statement very detailed and I also learn something from just you guys artist statement when you guys said ” Children tummy are going to school with empty stomachs because of the sugar and fats” Which are making them feel full, which was interesting.


  4. Erez Frank says:

    After looking into this topic so deeply, what would you say the best solution for these food desserts is? After all, it is the company that gets to decide where they place their stores. How can this problem be fixed?


    1. pearlstark says:

      Education in schools, and at home on what healthy eating can do for you, and your body. More community gardens in low income neighborhoods wuld also help combat this problem.


  5. Looking through the whole project it was well done all of elements and how important is to pay attention to your health.


  6. jackgnelson says:

    Great job with the poster, it’s very eye catching and made me wan’t to learn about your topic.


  7. Jade Grisby says:

    I love your poster and your essays were very well put together


  8. Chaia Wyatt says:

    I really liked how you focused on the local communities because it gave background and made it more relatable and your poster turned out really well!


  9. Latimer Smith says:

    I never even noticed how many convenience stores there are around the bay are, but thinking back I am now remembering a lot. The essays did a good job of reflecting your individual knowledge on you topic, and you video is the amazing result of bringing you knowledge and creativity together.


  10. luke says:

    I like the community gardens but do they acctually help feed the poor unhealthy people of oakland or do they just feed the people who work on them.?


    1. pearlstark says:

      They are open to the public anyone can go get fresh veggies if they want. They also feed the people living on them, its a combonation of both.


  11. Lauren Wood says:

    This was interesting to hear about because I didn’t know about food deserts until now. I also thought the video was really well made 🙂


  12. Lauryn Franklin says:

    Some hot cheetos sound reeeaall good right now! lol Great photoshop!


  13. Sarah Marlin says:

    I like the poster! I like how the lizard guy is from a desert but his desert is now a convenient store.. = food desert. well done.


  14. justinowenss says:

    I LOVE the movie Rango! I think that this project really gives insight to the disparities within communities of the same city. smh.


  15. Kyla Butler says:

    The music got my attention!


  16. REBECCA LIN says:

    Love how you guys change the yellow fish to hot cheetos!


  17. Henry Gong says:

    After reading this i can tell that you researched a lot relating to food deserts and i can see how it is a problem and enviromental racism. I liked your definition essay the most.


  18. Tennessee Tillery says:

    I like how the video included people from outside that you interviewed yourselves!


  19. leeandrajnaecross says:

    I really liked the movie poster. It was a lot done to it but I couldn’t tell I thought that it was almost close to the original that i almost couldn’t telll you created that yourself.


  20. YESHI GYAMTSO says:

    Although this is a big issue, why do you guys think it’s best for low-income families to make the healthier choice which they have to pay more when they can just get fast food for a dollar?


    1. pearlstark says:

      I do think that they should make the healthier choice, but clean, fresh healthy food also needs to be cheaper so they can afford it.


  21. Tina says:

    The essays are really well written


  22. kailajenkins17 says:

    This project was very informative. I had to realize how many liquor stores were where I lived and it is waaay too many!


  23. luwamkidane says:

    What can we do to ensure everyone is getting healthy food? It’s a basic right to have!!


  24. Devanae adams says:

    I really love this video on top of that you guys covered everything !


  25. Indigo says:

    You guys talked about how food desserts cause a lot of health problems, but did you also look into how they correlate to obesity rates? I went to Louisiana over winter break where the access to healthy food is extremely bad, and I noticed that 4/5 or more people seemed to be obese and it really struck me the difference that it is from around the Bay Area.


  26. tenzin nyodrup says:

    I’m actually surprised about the liquor store being less in rich neighborhood and more in poor. Now im starting to notice it when i go around town.


  27. Evelyn says:

    I liked how your topic was focused in Oakland


  28. Taisia says:

    I didn’t know this was happening


  29. Ravyn Gistarb says:

    I love that you guys did your topic on this. There are a lot of issues surrounding this topic and people need to learn about it.


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