Amongst the 12,000 people in attendance at the OKC Heartwalk were 2 teams who had agreed to take on an extra challenge. Between them they hauled 3 grocery bags stacked high with veggies, canned goods, a gallon of milk, and other routine grocery items for the entirety of their one mile walk.
To raise awareness about the desperate need for access to healthy foods here in OKC.
We define low access by the USDA standards, meaning living a mile or more from a market that sells fresh and healthy foods. A lot of times when we say this out loud, coupled with the statistic that 62% of OKC meets this definition, we are often met with the argument that a mile really isn’t that long of a distance.
So we decided to put that to a test. How long does a mile feel when you are walking home from the store carrying groceries? Eventually I found two teams who agreed to carry a few bags between them. There was a team of 5 sharing 2 bags and a team of 2 carrying 1 bag.
As the teams returned I asked them a few questions about their experience. Overall, both teams found this challenge to be... challenging.
The team of two replied that it actually wasn’t that bad. I then asked them if it would have been harder if they couldn’t have shared the load, they replied with a resounding “That would have been horrible!”
A woman from the team of five said to me, “I think that was more than a mile!"
The truth is, this experiment to raise awareness is the reality for many in our city and it’s not going to get better until something changes. All 7 of our participants after their weighted walk enthusiastically said they would support a measure to increase access to healthy foods in corner stores and convenience stores. This small change would allow many to not have to treck many miles with heavy bags in order to provide a healthy meal for their families.
But we need your help to make that change. We aren’t asking you to pick up a heavy grocery bag, only to take 2 minutes to send a letter to your city council member letting them know that healthy foods need to be accessible and affordable for ourselves and our neighbors.
Check out the video to see more about the grocery carry!