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Study ranks Anchorage last when it comes to affordable produce

By Kirsten Swann 5:19 PM April 8, 2014

A recent survey of 189 metro areas nationwide places Anchorage at the bottom of the list when it comes to accessing “affordable fruits and vegetables.”

The Gallup-Heathways Well-being Index, which gathered information from at least 300 Anchorage adults between January 2012 and December 2013, shows only about two-thirds of respondents reported easy access to fruits and vegetables.

Since Gallup began measuring fruit and vegetable access in 2008, it said the nationwide average has hovered around 91 percent. Anchorage comes in at 67 percent — more than 15 points behind the next runner-up. Olympia, Wash., where 96.6 percent of respondents reported easy access to fruits and vegetables, placed first on the list.

A pound of regular carrots at an Olympia-area Fred Meyer store goes for 59 cents, while the same pound sells for 99 cents at an Anchorage Fred Meyer. Gallup said there are several reasons behind Anchorage’s low ranking.

“This isn’t particularly surprising given Alaska’s extreme seasonal variations and generally colder climate and distance from the continental U.S.,” Gallup wrote.

A 2011 study by the Food Research and Action Center placed Anchorage at the top of the list when it came to difficulty accessing affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. According to that research, 30 percent of respondents reported difficulty accessing fresh produce, more than double the rate of the next community.

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