"I knew that I wanted to work in food (and public health) when I realized there was an actual term for what I had known existed in Philadelphia all my life. I grew up in Philadelphia, but unlike many residents, I had the fortune of growing up near a supermarket. It was located in a suburb that bordered my neighborhood in Northwest Philly, a section called Cedarbrook. As a child, I remember my mother pointing out that in other sections of the city, residents did not have access to a supermarket.
Fast forward about 15 years, when in graduate school I learned that there was an epidemic of chronic disease in communities with limited access to healthy, affordable food. These places were called “food deserts.” I remember having an ‘aha’ moment and thinking to myself, “You mean to tell me this thing has a name??!!”
Access to healthy, affordable (and delicious) food seems like common sense to me – a very simple concept. That’s why focusing my work on food access, especially in under served communities, just makes sense to me…why shouldn’t everyone have access to healthy food? (Also, I love to eat. LOVE IT.)"
Learn more about Nija and the work she does to improve access to healthy affordable food in the rest of her interview.