In 2013, a group of community members established The Greater Carlisle Project (GCP) in an effort to increase the sustainability and livability of the greater Carlisle area. The greater Carlisle community has identified eight priority areas where they feel they can better livelihoods including community building, economic development and jobs, food and farms, and housing, health, and human services. One issue that has been brought before the GCP Steering Committee is access to healthy food. While some areas of Carlisle have access to healthy foods, others do not, or at least they perceive that they do not. An area where residents cannot easily access fresh produce, an indicator of healthy food availability, is identified as a food desert.
This study looks at the urban areas of the Borough of Carlisle and North Middleton Township, PA, areas with more than 2,500 people/census tract, to identify if people are living in food deserts, any location that does not have a store that sells healthy food within 1 mile of it. The study finds that less than 0.5 mi2 of area in the study area can be defined as a food desert. Given this information, other factors should be investigated in future studies to understand why people feel that they cannot access healthy food.