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Author's School

Brown School of Social Work

Date Submitted

Fall 12-9-2014



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Food deserts are defined as either urban or rural neighborhoods or towns lacking access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. The Rio Grande Valley region of Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border is comprised of approximately 400,000 people, 86% of them Hispanic. Nearly 40% of the residents of the Rio Grande Valley receive assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley is among the 10 poorest counties in the country. Due to a demand for low-cost housing in this area, more than 2,000 colonias have boomed. Colonias are considered rural Mexican-origin settlements often lacking basics such as paved roads, streetlights, and running water. Hidalgo county has one of the highest populations of colonias. Food insecurity is a major concern for the residents of South Texas. While there are plenty of convenience stores and mobile food vendors contributing to the snacking habits of the Hispanic population, only 30% of the items sold are nutritious fruits and vegetables. This project asks where are the retailers accepting SNAP benefits in Weslaco, Texas within Hidalgo County in South Texas, and based on that where are potential locations providing access to healthier foods? How can the SNAP policy be improved to better serve Hidalgo County in South Texas?


Social Work


South Texas

Watering the Food Deserts: Revisiting the SNAP Policy in South Texas
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