This article examines food deserts by using GIS systems and remote sensing to define such deserts and to measure the costs of distance imposed on consumers in the small city of Lawrence, Kansas. A food desert is present when there is a lack of access to healthful food. The lack of food items needed for an adequate diet imposes high costs on residents and can typically result in health problems.
This study is limited to full-service grocery stores, which are defined as “those with a footprint of more than 30,000 square feet.” The map reveals that there is a concentration of food outlets along several main avenues, and in some places there are no groceries within 2 miles. Surveys were mailed asking for volunteers to indicate their source of transportation to grocery stores, as well as an estimated distance to their favorite grocery store. The findings suggest that almost no Lawrence residents with cars live in under-served areas or food deserts, and that the only neighborhoods that exceed the threshold for travel costs to a food outlet are located in rural areas outside of city limits.
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