Mapping the Basics in Detroit

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Map of food stores in Detroit, Michigan.
From and

In northeast Detroit in the neighborhood of Osborn, Robin and Donald Hudson can feed up to ten hungry grandchildren ages three months to 16-years-old on any given day. With five children and 15 grandchildren they stock their basement freezer with 40 pound boxes of chicken. But finding healthy affordable food can often be a challenge.

This is the sort of conversation Robin and Donald Hudson have when they're shopping: 

"I wouldn't get my wheat bread from here — this is $1.79. I'd go to Aldi's and get it for 99 cents. This is $2.49 a pound…that's not going to feed a family."

Not too far away, single mother Tiffany Evans relies of food assistance to feed her two-year-old, and the options for groceries are limited:

"This is the only grocery store that I know of in the neighborhood that has good prices and good groceries. I would have to go far out — like Southgate or Taylor — to go to a Wal-Mart… There's nothing in our neighborhood."

Those two stories highlight the bigger problems of food deserts in Detroit, a problem that's being documented through a new data mapping project in collaboration with WDET and our partner station WNYC.

Laura Weber-Davis is the lead reporter for "Back To Basics," and Tracie McMillan is the author of "The American Way of Eating" and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.