Areas of low food access
Geographic areas with limited access to sources of healthy and affordable food that affects a person’s ability to eat a healthy diet.
Systemic and human-made intersecting root causes that create inequalities in food access. These root causes include racism and economic disparities
Healthy Food Priority Area: Geographic areas where it is harder for people to access healthy foods due to barriers including increased travel and low economic means.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
A program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides federal nutrition assistance for those who are eligible through a low income and state specific requirements. SNAP participants use a reloadable card to purchase certain foods at retailers who participate in the program.
A nonprofit organization that ensures donated food makes it to the specific geographic communities they serve. Food banks are warehouses that store food and distribute it by working with various logistics personnel including truck drivers.
A nonprofit organization where individuals can obtain the food and products provided and distributed by food banks.
The following terms are based around food systems rather than individual nutrition choices. These are important to understand as food systems largely determine what food people have access to, individual perceptions of food, and ultimately people’s food choices. They frame food systems in a global capitalist context and recognize the unnecessary dualism of ‘consumer’ and ‘producer.’
A view of food systems that sees healthy food as a human right and acknowledges the systemic issues that prevent people from obtaining that right. It aims for equitable access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods within sustainable and equitable food systems.
“The right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” It refocuses the locus of control within food systems to those who produce, consume, and distribute rather than to markets and corporations.
Are of low food access
Healthy food priority areas
Desert implies a naturally occurring phenomenon rather than a result of systemic issues
Food apartheid acknowledges the intersecting root causes that lead to areas of low food access
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
The former is an outdated term with the program officially renamed to SNAP in 2008. Furthermore, the term ‘food stamps’ carries stigma
Associating certain types of sexual activity with a person’s moral character has historically led to groups being excluded from society or being seen as “abnormal” or “amoral.”
Using neutral language in sexual health does not make suggestions as to who someone is as a person. Rather, it provides information in a way that does not shame, judge, or assign blame.
Providing accurate, empathetic, and non-judgmental sexual health information is the first step in preventing unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV through the promotion of healthy sexual behaviors.
Food is a basic human necessity. It fuels us and ties us together, and it’s a human right. However, millions of people around the world are unsure where their next nourishing meal will come from.
In order to end this evolving crisis, we must first understand how the food system works — and it can be complex. That’s why we’re breaking down some crucial terms to help unpack these issues while also ensuring that we’re prioritizing the individuals experiencing these conditions. We always want to lead with dignity, empathy, and respect because people are more than just labels.
The Healthy Living Coalition suggested these terms, and Healthline Media defined them. The Healthy Living Coalition is a collective of business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and advocates that combines the resources of its members to tackle nutrition gaps, help improve food systems, and combat food insecurity.
While it would be much easier to list the definitive do’s and don’ts of language, that is not possible — context is critical. Language is always changing and evolving, and any list would soon be out of date. This is why we're always listening for changes. Additionally, there are no definitively "right" or "wrong" answers about what language to use. Context is important, and what works for us might not work for you. While specific word choices will change over time, our community approach first ensures that we are prioritizing those who are the most important to what we do: our readers. See full approach here.