Imagine being part of an Oklahoma family living somewhere near the poverty level. Budgets are tight, vacations don’t exist and feeding your loved ones is a stressful endeavor.
That endeavor would be even more stressful if you lived in what’s called a “food desert” — a Census-defined area where at least 33 percent of people (or 500 total) are miles away from a supermarket.
That’s a serious situation, and food insecurity remains one of America’s most troubling problems, especially considering our nation’s vast wealth and its disheartening food waste rates.
Put another way, food deserts are no laughing matter.
Enter Jones PR
Food insecurity is no laughing matter unless, apparently, you are a well-fed fat-cat public relations professional with the firm Jones PR.
In its Sept. 1 email blast called “The Oklahoma 100” that hypes clients in “100-word stories” and “100-second videos on topics of intrigue,” Jones’ PR flack praise the opening of a Buffalo Wild Wings at East 15th Street and I-35 in Edmond as a development that “ends the food desert in east Edmond.”
There’s just one problem: This new spot for chicken wings isn’t in a “food desert” at all. In fact, it’s veritably connected to the parking lot of a Wal-Mart supercenter and a Braum’s.
While the Jones PR statement also refers to the situation as a “dining desert,” the unfortunate use of “food desert” seems insensitive to the issues that lower-income Oklahomans face across the state.
This story by Jaclyn Cosgrove of The Oklahoman in 2014 can provide further details about Oklahoma’s food desert issues, and it features a nice map. If food insecurity is an issue that speaks to you, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma fights against it more than anybody else in the metro.
Point taken, however
While east-Edmond residents are luckier than many to have access to a Braum’s and a Wal-Mart supercenter for groceries, Jones PR’s attempted point still comes across.
It’s shocking how many homes — and churches — exist within a mile of Edmond’s I-35 corridor when compared to the number of restaurants. Despite its status as the Burger King of sports bars, Buffalo Wild Wings will likely be a smashing success for suburbanites looking to get the hell out of the house.
Still, while BWW might be welcome news if you live near the intersection of East 15th Street and the North American Supercorridor, the PR pros hired to hype its “wild” finger foods should have gone into overtime before using the term “food desert” in their press release.