And the Winner Is...


Max Chen, Mayra Cruz, and Zohra Roy's "Invest, Educate, Empower" won Planet Forward's GW Campus Challenge.

The GW community has spoken! “Invest, Educate, Empower,” a video which examines the growing issue of food deserts in Washington, D.C., received the most votes in our monthlong GW-Campus-Challenge voting competition. For their accomplishment, Planet Forward will award the creators, Max Chen, Mayra Cruz, and Zohra Roy, one year of Capital Bikeshare membership!

Food deserts are urban or rural locations where people lack access to healthy food, according to Melissa VanOrman, professor of Lifestyle Nutrition at George Washington University.

As the United States struggles with obesity rates of more than 30 percent, the Obama administration has called attention to food deserts. In August, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) participated in a healthy-eating event at the District of Columbia (D.C.) Ward 8 Farmers Market. Also, in May the White House blog highlighted Stockbox Grocers, a startup based in Seattle which utilized Kickstarter to launch their innovative business plan--establishing shipping-container food markets in isolated neighborhoods.

In “Invest, Educate, Empower,” Erin McCluskey, development director of Ecofriendly Foods Foundation, describes three key components to addressing food deserts:

1) Investment - getting all stakeholders involved
2) Education - promoting what healthy food is and how to access it
3) Empowerment - getting residents to demand that healthy food is accessible in their communities

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