Geography of Food Security

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[Note: The data and report presented here are for informational purposes only. This report does not represent the current strategy and operations of CCS.]

Crossroads Community Services (CCS) works to ensure that all people in Dallas County have ready access to nourishing foods and to provide life-skills education to help reduce obesity in impoverished areas. To help serve those in need, CCS participated in the 2013 - 2014 class of the Data Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute hosted by the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT). The D3 Institute works to give organizations the skills and tools necessary to incorporate data into their work serving low-income working families.

Following their participation in the D3 Institute, D3 participants were eligible to submit letters of interest to receive an analytics package from bcANALYTICS sponsored by CFT. In their LOI, CCS sought to identify small areas of Dallas County most at risk of food insecurity for possible expansion of their network of Community Distribution Partners (CDPs). bcANALYTICS staff worked with CCS to refine the research needs into a data driven, actionable research question and a work plan to answer the question in three months.

The three month project was split between four main phases – Connect, Discover, Analyze, and Deliver -- in order to perform a literature review, data collection, analysis, and compilation of a final report sharing contextual information and recommendations for CCS’s expansion strategy. This project required a considerable amount of background research on food deserts, food insecurity, and CCS’ client base in order to understand the myriad issues relating to the food landscape in Dallas County.

Ultimately, the report produced estimates of food insecurity at the Census Tract level and used geospatial techniques to identify areas underserved by grocery stores and food pantries. The intersection of food insecurity and food deserts was the starting point in identifying specific neighborhoods in Dallas County where CCS could focus on expanding the CDP network. Five neighborhoods were selected and explored at a more fine-grained level: the Los Encinos and Westhaven neighborhoods in far west Dallas; and parts of Pleasant Grove, Pleasant Mound, and Pemberton Hills in southeast Dallas.

Selected findings from the report:

  • 34% of food distributed by CCS to CDP sites flows to southeastern Dallas County. 
  • Children under 19 make up 31% of the overall population in Dallas County, but this same age group makes up 46% of CCS clients between 2012 and 2014. 
  • Roughly ¼ of the food insecure population in Dallas County, 133,00 people, live in areas of concentrated food insecurity (Census Tracts with food insecurity rates greater than or equal to 20%).
  • Much of Dallas County’s food insecure population live in areas that have low accessibility to grocery stores and food pantries.