238517 A spatial analysis of access to local, organic, and healthy food in Manhattan, NY

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:10 PM

Carolyn Dimitri, PhD , Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, New York, NY
Lydia Oberholtzer, research scientist at Penn State , Department of Rural Sociology and Applied Economics, Penn State University, University Park, PA
The relationship between food access, income, and public health has been a focus of scholars and policymakers for many years now. At the most basic level, researchers have provided strong evidence regarding the existence of food deserts, as well as a positive correlation between poverty and food deserts. Many initiatives by private foundations and local governments have been adopted to compensate for such food deserts. Doubling of SNAP benefits by private foundations, such as Wholesome Wave, as well as government action to expand the presence of farmers markets in low income or “high need” neighborhoods. More recently, local governments have adopted food action plans that promote an expansion of local foods in their jurisdictions.

This paper presents an economic and geographic analysis of the availability of local and healthy food in Manhattan NY. Our analysis relies on data collected in stores for more than 25 food items, obtained by a thorough investigation of food offerings in every store in Manhattan. Using this data, we have developed indices of local food availability, healthy food availability, and organic food availability. Store locations, availability of local food, availability of organic food, and availability of healthy food in these retail outlets are assessed in the context of an economic-geographic model. We ask whether the distribution of local and organic food deserts follows the same pattern as the standard food desert, or whether specific socio-economic factors may cause the distribution to shift.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate the availability of healthy food, local food, and organic food across the city of Manhattan NY. 2. Differentiate between the socio-economic factors that influence the presence of food deserts, local food deserts, and organic food deserts in Manhattan.

Keywords: Access, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted this research while employed as a faculty member at NYU; I have no conflict and this work is not related to a commercial entity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.