Saturday, February 20, 2016

Lawrence, Kansas Food Deserts

Awareness surrounding the notion of food deserts has steadily increased with time. More and more programs are being created to aid those living in food deserts. Food deserts are expansive areas, specifically in cities lacking full service grocery stores with nutritious food. If people live in a food desert they often have to travel longer distances to purchase food otherwise they’re limited to convenient stores and fast food for the majority of their meals.

“Quantifying the extent and cost of food deserts in Lawrence, Kansas, USA” explores food deserts and illustrates this specific example through the use of GIS. The researchers involved in this study attempt to better understand this given food desert, and map the grocery stores in reference to public transit and population distribution. They do so by sending out 1,000 surveys about their current situation- location, location in reference to the store, and mode of transportation. The research also considers the cost of traveling and the opportunity costs of those who have to travel out of the food desert to purchase their food. Essentially, there are several factors that influence food deserts and restrict access to nutritious food. As previously stated there are outreach programs aiming to rid communities of food deserts through farmers markets and spreading awareness to local governments.

Hallett, L. F., & McDermott, D. (2011). Quantifying the extent and cost of food deserts in Lawrence, Kansas, USA. Applied Geography, 31(4), 1210-1215. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2010.09.006

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