Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque leaders worry Walmart closing will cause 'food desert'

JM McBride

Local leaders in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are upset about the planned closing of a Walmart store in that city, and they worry the area will become a "food desert."

Sean Cardinalli, who is special projects manager for the New Mexico Black Leadership Council, told the Albuquerque Journal that the closing is “absurd," saying, “The International District is the most population-dense neighborhood, and the most diverse neighborhood in the city and, therefore, in the entire state."

He raised concerns to the newspaper that the area will become a "food desert."
Grocery items.Photo byMarques ThomasonUnsplash

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an interactive map of food deserts in the United States.

What is a food desert?

According to the Department of Agriculture, a food desert census tract "is defined as a low-income tract where a substantial number or substantial share of residents does not have easy access to a supermarket or large grocery store."

The Department's map shows that about "10 percent of the approximately 65,000 census tracts in the United States as food deserts. About 13.5 million people in these census tracts have low access to sources of healthful food," its website says.

City Councilor Pat Davis told the Albuquerque Journal that the closing "really takes away the last option for fresh food and grocery stores for a big stretch of East Central and essentially creates the food desert that we have been concerned about for years."

According to KOAT-TV, the Walmart that is closing is located at 301 San Mateo Blvd., in Albuquerque, and it will close by March 10, 2023. Walmart told the television station that it is an underperforming store that is closing in part due to its financial performance.

The Walmart in New Mexico is among five Walmarts that are closing soon. The other stores are in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Chicago, Illinois, area, The Hill reported.

KRQE News 13 reported that there have also been retail theft concerns at the New Mexico location.

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