Local Food Hero: Aaron McMullin
Written by Melissa Vatterott, Food and Farm Coordinator. Originally published August 2015.
Her Food Story: Aaron McMullin, a native of the St. Louis metro area, is a social and environmental justice advocate, an engaged and passionate adventurer, and a lover of small-scale, sustainable agriculture. From March 2013 until November 2014, Aaron McMullin was an AmeriCorps VISTA with SLU Food Corps, a program through St. Louis University Department of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her primary task was to illustrate the state of food resources in St. Louis by demonstrating food access points in the city. She created the “St. Louis City Food Access Points” map, illustrated below, which displays the city’s SNAP retail locations, food pantries, and gardens. In addition, the map illustrates by census tract the areas of St. Louis with the highest need of food assistance (≤ 200% poverty level or ≥ 30% households receiving SNAP).
Aaron’s map is an incredible tool, helping to illustrate that many of the neighborhoods with high need do not have many healthy food outlets. In fact, you will see that areas that have the darkest colors of red and orange (illustrating high need) have few supermarkets, suprettes/small groceries, healthy corner stores, or supercenters. Aaron’s map helps identify areas of greatest need and the types of outlets needed in those areas to assist with greater access to healthy food. It is great to see that Aaron incorporated gardens on this map as well, a great tool for accessing healthy local fresh food, especially for individuals who seek to eat healthy on a tight budget.
MCE is very fortunate that Aaron shared her map with us to make it available on our Interactive Local Foodshed Map webpage. You can also learn more about her map and view the map in a larger view on SLU Food Corps Webpage, Saint Louis City Food Access Map.