A Qualitative Analysis of Food and Nutrition in the Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta GA

he Old Fourth Ward community is a primarily African American, low-income community in the metro-Atlanta area that contains a USDA-certified food desert. The non-profit organization Truly Living Well, has set up an urban garden and farmers’ markets aimed at serving this community. Additionally, Wholesome Wave has implemented a 50% discount at farmers’ markets to WIC and SNAP recipients. It has been found that neither of these programs has been consistently utilized by the community residents. In the spring of 2013, data on health and nutrition knowledge and practices was collected through qualitative interviews (11 participants) and focus groups (4 focus groups and 19 participants) with heads of households that reside in the Old Fourth Ward, and residents of Wheat Street Towers, a subsidized housing facility for seniors in the community. It was found that participants were knowledgeable about healthy foods and preparation activities, though food practices were more influenced by their family backgrounds and doctors. Organic or local food options were not a priority, and participants were influenced more by price, transportation and food selection, when choosing where and what to purchase. While there are opportunities in the community to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, participants feel pressured by high prices and poor selection of the foods available to purchase groceries outside the community. In conclusion, there is a demand for more healthy food options in the community that is not being met as community residents are not familiar with Truly Living Well’s resources and the Wholesome Wave discount for WIC and SNAP recipients.


Date Published: 2013

Author Affiliation: Emory University- Laney Graduate School, Truly Living Well Center

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