Health | National

ABC News: Few healthy food options at Pine Ridge Reservation





"When entering the vast 2.2 million acre expanse of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, it's hard to miss the picturesque surroundings of windswept plains and sharply eroded foothills. But go deeper and prairieland too arid for farming and poverty that rivals that of the third world becomes apparent.

There is not a single mall, nor a movie theater, a big business, nor a bank on the South Dakota reservation. But in downtown Pine Ridge, a Subway restaurant franchise is busy all day long.

"We focused on Subway mainly because of the opportunity it offered in healthy eating," said owner Bob Ecoffey, who opened his business in 2008.

An area the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, the reservation is considered a "food desert," defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a low-income community without ready access to healthy and affordable food. Ecoffey, who is also the Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent for the Pine Ridge Agency, tells ABC News that healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables are unavailable because of what he says are limited resources."

Get the Story:
Stuck in 'Food Desert,' Pine Ridge Locals Look to Subway to Meet Nutrition Needs (ABC News 10/14)

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