Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Datasets

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Ecology, Produce, Diet, Social Justice, Environmental Racism


“Food desert” refers to an area where citizens lack access to fresh, affordable, nutritious food. Food deserts are generally in low-income urban neighborhoods or rural towns and can be considered environmental or economic injustice. South Florida and Broward County have been documented as having a high food insecurity rate, indicative of households having difficulty putting food on the table. Given the high rate of food insecurity, it was hypothesized that a lack of access to food and the presence of socio-economic food deserts was at least partially responsible. Data was collected by visiting three supermarkets in each of the 13 Florida House of Representatives Districts in Broward County. In each district major chain supermarkets and smaller, independent markets were explored. For each supermarket the unpackaged, refrigerated produce was photographed, counted, and logged. Demographic statistics including measures of income, racial/ethnic makeup and educational attainment were collected from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey. Percent of a neighborhood identifying as white was positively correlated to produce diversity. Although diversity varied, analysis of similarity showed there were no consistent produce items that were more or less available in the different communities. Therefore, it is concluded that there may be fewer choices in neighborhoods with more minorities, but the differences show no consistent pattern from place to place and store to store.


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