The food mapping project launched by Sustainable Long Island is designed to identify which towns in Long Island have a paucity of food options. The map indicates the locations of supermarkets and big box retailers like Costco. By pointing to holes in Long Island’s food system, the map enables agencies to identify which neighborhoods are underserved. In response to such efforts, in 2010, Gov. David Paterson allocated $30 million statewide to help bridge the gaps that food maps reveal.
The darker areas on this map of Suffolk County census blocks indicate higher concentrations of low-income households. Food retail options are shown as blue dots surrounded by a quarter-mile radius.
Due to the Great Recession, affordability and access issues have become especially acute on Long Island. Since 2008, enrollment in the number of households receiving SNAP benefits has more than doubled, and an additional 250,000 residents are estimated to be food insecure: living on the bubble between hardship and poverty with no federal assistance.