Access to Sustainably Produced Food: An Investigation of Organic Food Availability in Manhattan, New York
AbstractIncreasing access to food and improving the sustainability of producing and marketing food are both goals of the "food movement." One problem embedded in these dual goals is that improving access relies on low-priced food, while increasing sustainability of the food system necessarily raises prices. Further complicating the discussion is the fact that while the definition of a sustainable food system is intuitive, it is also vague, which does not make an analysis of sustainable food simple. Thus we use organic food as a case study to provide insight into the availability of a sustainably produced (but not necessarily sustainably marketed) food. This paper is a first step toward exploring potential links among availability, access, and consumers. Using a new data set of in-store organic food availability in Manhattan, mapping suggest that stores that carry a wider range of organic products are located in neighborhoods with populations that are both highly educated and affluent. Neighborhoods with a higher proportion of black households have little access to organic food. Bivariate correlation coefficients find that the relationship between education and organic food access increases as the level of education rises, that median household income is positively associated with organic food availability, and that the relationship between the proportion of black residences is weakly and negatively correlated with organic food availability.
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