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1 OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO FRESH PR ODUCE: AN ANALYSIS OF THREE NEIGHBORHOODS IN SOUTHEAST GAINESVILLE By ANDREW PERSONS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008
2 2008 Andrew Persons
3 To my beautiful, patient, and supportive wife.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I could not have finished this work without the constant love a nd support of m y wife Laura. She inspired me to write even when I wa s tired, grumpy, or blocked. I would also like to thank my parents for their encouragement. Thei r pride in my accomplishment spurred me on to work harder and achieve more. Finally, Id like to thank Ruth Steiner for all of her invaluable advice and encouragement as I bounced idea afte r idea off her; and Kristin Larsen for her enthusiasm and belief in my abilities.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................8LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................................9ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... .............10CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 112 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................................14Food Insecurity .......................................................................................................................14Food Deserts ...........................................................................................................................16Conventional Food Production Processes ..............................................................................17Civic Agriculture ....................................................................................................................18Barriers to Small Farms ....................................................................................................... ...21Institutional Barriers ........................................................................................................ 21Political Barriers ..............................................................................................................23Economic Barriers ...........................................................................................................23Spatial Barriers ................................................................................................................24Barriers to Low-Income Households ...................................................................................... 25Institutional Barriers ........................................................................................................ 25Political Barriers ..............................................................................................................27Economic Barriers ...........................................................................................................27Spatial Barriers ................................................................................................................30Direct Marketing .....................................................................................................................30Community Supported Agriculture .................................................................................31Farmers Markets ............................................................................................................. 32Federal Food Assistance Programs .........................................................................................33Summary ....................................................................................................................... ..........353 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................................. 46Recruitment of Participants ................................................................................................... .46Location ..................................................................................................................................47Focus Group Organization ......................................................................................................48Development of Interview Protocol ........................................................................................ 48Interview Format .............................................................................................................. ......48
6 4 FOCUS GROUP RESULTS...................................................................................................51Food Insecurity Characteristics in Thr ee Southeast Gainesville Neighborhoods ..................51Food Deserts ...........................................................................................................................56Transportation Options ...........................................................................................................56Supermarket Siting .................................................................................................................58Major Themes .................................................................................................................. .......59Attitudes About Fresh Produce in Southeast Gainesville .......................................................59Impressions of Fresh Produce in Southeast Gainesville Stores .............................................. 61Promotion of Healthy Food ....................................................................................................65Underlying Factors Shaping Southeast Produce Choices ....................................................... 67Transportation ................................................................................................................ .........70Negative Perception ................................................................................................................71Solutions ..................................................................................................................... ............73Farmers Markets ............................................................................................................. 74Government Interventions ...............................................................................................75Healthy Eating Education ................................................................................................76Community Gardens ........................................................................................................77Community Supported Agriculture .................................................................................775 DISCUSSION .................................................................................................................... .....94Key Implications and Questions ............................................................................................. 94Key Implications .............................................................................................................. .......94Supermarket Characteristics ................................................................................................... 97Economic Barriers ..................................................................................................................99Political Barriers ...................................................................................................................101Institutional Barriers ........................................................................................................ .....102Spatial Barriers .....................................................................................................................103Community Supported Agriculture ......................................................................................107Farmers Markets .............................................................................................................. ....109Community Gardens .............................................................................................................110Nutritional Education ......................................................................................................... ...110Government Intervention ......................................................................................................111Key Questions: Evaluating A ccess to Fresh Produce ........................................................... 111Implications for Public Planning Agencies .......................................................................... 112Comprehensive Plans .................................................................................................... 113Land Development Regulations .................................................................................... 113Other Government Resources ............................................................................................... 115Neighborhood Planning Program .................................................................................. 115Community Redevelopment Agency ............................................................................1156 CONCLUSIONS .................................................................................................................. 117Limitations of the Research .................................................................................................. 118Recommendations for Future Research ................................................................................120
7 APPENDIX FOCUS GROUP SCRIPT .................................................................................... 122 LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................125BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................129
8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Households by food security status and selected household ch aracteristics, 2006 ............372-2 Households with income below 130% of the poverty line by food secure status and selected household characteristics .....................................................................................382-3 Characteristics of very small, small, and large-scale farms ............................................... 392-4 Estimated fuel consumption, CO2 emissi ons, and distance traveled for conventional vs. Iowa based local and regional food systems ................................................................ 402-5 Weekly household food spending per person and relative to the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan ...........................................................................................................................412-6 Weekly household food spending per person and relative to the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan by food security status ......................................................................................422-7 CSA share prices and retail values per pound for three Massachusetts farms ................... 434-1 Southeast Gainesville ur ban and rural households ............................................................864-2 Southeast Gainesv ille household race ................................................................................874-3 Southeast Gainesville ho usehold size by household type by presence of own children under 18 .............................................................................................................................884-4 Southeast Gainesville median household income in 1999 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) ...894-5 2008 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty thresholds ....................... 904-6 Southeast Gainesville public Assi stance income in 1999 for households ......................... 914-7 Southeast Gainesville ratio of income in 1999 to poverty level ........................................ 924-8 Southeast Gainesville mean s of transportation to work for workers 16 years and over .... 93
9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Agribusiness industry campaign contri butions 1990-2008 (Center for Responsive Politics, 2008) ....................................................................................................................442-2 Average expenses for small farms in the United States. .................................................... 454-1 Neighborhood groups and associations .............................................................................804-2 Lincoln Estates neighborhood map .................................................................................... 814-3 Springhill neighborhood map ............................................................................................ 824-4 North Lincoln Heights neighborhood map ........................................................................ 834-5 Full service supermarkets in Southeas t Gainesville and the surrounding areas. ...............844-6 Convenience and beverage stores in southeast Gainesville ............................................... 85
10 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Arts OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO FRESH PR ODUCE: AN ANALYSIS OF THREE NEIGHBORHOODS IN SOUTHEAST GAINESVILLE By Andrew Persons December 2008 Chair: Ruth Steiner Cochair: Kristin Larsen Major: Urban and Regional Planning Residents of low-income communities face a number of barriers limiting access to fresh produce. These barriers cut across a wide range of issues and are interlinked with the political, economic, spatial, and institutional inequities shaping the geographies of low-income communities across the country. Our first purpose wa s to determine whether these barriers were observable in three neighborhoods in Southeast Gainesville. Our second purpose was to explore the feasibility of applying direct marketing stra tegies to help alleviat e produce access issues in Southeast Gainesville. Through focus groups and socio demographic data this study found that a number of fresh produce barriers exist in the three Southeas t Gainesville neighbor hoods along with several barriers not observed in previous research. Additionally, this study de termined that several direct marketing strategies including farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture arrangements had potential applic ations in Southeast Gainesville and presented opportunities to improve access to fresh produce in underserved communities.
11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION On March 28, 2007, Florida Agriculture and Co nsum er Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson hosted a kick-off event to unveil a new health initiative designed to get Floridians to eat more fruits and vegetables. The event, held at the Capitol Plaza, was free and open to the public. Lt. Governor Kottkamp, Commissioner Bronson and Secretary of Health Viamonte Ros touted the nationally-sponsored Fruits and Veggies-M ore Matters campaign and told those in attendance that eating Florida produce is one of the easiest ways to improve ones health (FIFNC, 2007). The message is very simple most people benefit from eati ng a variety of fruits and vegetables, Bronson said. And were truly blessed in Florida as we grow more than 280 commercial crops that feed Floridians, consum ers throughout the country and citizens around the world (FIFNC, 2007). With the veritable cornucopia of fruits and ve getables grown in Flor ida, it is difficult to imagine that access to the states harvest is lim ited for some Floridians. Yet, the most recent CDC survey of fruit and vegetables study found that 73% of Floridians surveyed ate fewer than the USDA recommended 5 servings of fruits a nd vegetables a day (CDC, 2005). Furthermore, when grouped by income, the number of servings of fruits and vegetables per day dropped off significantly for individuals earning between $15,000 and $35,000 (CDC, 2005). These statistics belie a much more complex problem of fres h produce access for lower income communities across the State. Within the past decade, there has been incr easing awareness of the importance of eating a varied diet rich in fruits a nd vegetables. Numerous USDA led initiatives have attempted to improve access to fresh and often locally gr own produce especially for lower income
12 households. Despite the surge in programs and media coverage, lo cal neighborhoods still experience persistent difficulties acce ssing fresh fruits and vegetables. Alachua County, Florida is argu ably the agricultural hub of Florida. The establishment in 1884 of the Florida Agricultural College at Lake City, a land grant institution under the Morrill Act, marked the beginning of what became the College of Agriculture of the University of Florida in 1906 (IFAS, 2008). Housed within the College of Agricu lture, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is a federal-s tate-county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences and enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life by maki ng that information accessible (IFAS, 2008). In addition to research and education activities, agriculture is a significant economic engine in Alachua County. According to the 200 2 Census of Agriculture, Alachua County has 1,493 farms whose combined lands total 222,728 acres (USDA, 2002). The total market value of production totals $58,665,000. Yet despite, the promin ence of agriculture in Alachua County and the wealth that farming generates, many in the local community have only limited access to this fresh produce. The primary purpose of this paper is to uncove r the multitude of barriers limiting access to fresh produce for low-income households, and co mpare the results with findings from focus groups and statistical data drawn from three neighborhoods located in Sout heast Gainesville. The secondary purpose of this paper is to explore the feasibility of applyi ng direct marketing and other alternative strategi es to help alleviate produce access i ssues in Southeast Gainesville. The thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter 2 reviews a diverse array of academic papers and governmental studies focused on access to fresh produce in low-income neighborhoods. This chapter also includes a series of reports revealing the barriers small farms
13 experience in bringing their products to market. Chapter 3 explains why a focus group research methodology was selected for this study and how focus group participants were selected. Chapter 4 contains the results of the focus group discus sions and highlights the convergent themes found in the data. Chapter 5 explores how the statistical and focus group data, drawn from this study, compares with previous research in the field. Th is chapter also includes a section dedicated to exploring how public planning agencies, interested in improving access to fresh produce, can use this studys findings to design more effective inte rvention strategies. Finally, Chapter 6 contains a summary of the major findings, an analysis of research limitations, and provides several recommendations for future research.
14 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Access to fresh and nutritious food is a basic hum an right. Yet, even in one of the most developed countries in the world, individuals an d families routinely do not have enough food to sustain themselves. In the United States, a num ber of barriers prevent fresh, healthy products grown on small local farms from reaching those low-income households that need them most. This chapter provides a critical overview of these barriers, as well as, reviews a number of direct marketing strategies that can be employed to overcome or circumvent the barriers separating both sides of the farm-to-fork equation. Food Insecurity A recent stu dy of 24 cities, conducted by the United States Conference of Mayors studied the problem of hunger among low-income and hom eless residents. The study found that over 40 percent of the individuals requesting emer gency food assistance were employed (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005). Perhaps even more s hocking, in 87 percent of the cities surveyed, individuals and families relied on emergency food assistance as a steady source of food over long periods of time (U.S. Conf erence of Mayors, 2005). Among the primary causes for hunger, city officials listed unemployment, high transp ortation costs, high hous ing costs, and poverty (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005). Finally, hunger seems to be an increasing trend. Officials in the survey cities estimate that between 2004 and 2005 requests for emergency food assistance increased by an average of 12 per cent, with 76 percent of the cities registering an increase (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005). Requests for food assistance by families with children increased by an average of 7 percent (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005). Requests for emergency food assistance by elderly persons increased by an aver age of 13 percent during the last year, with 76 percent of the cities reporting an incr ease (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2005).
15 Food security is defined as, access by all peop le, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life (Anderson, 1990). In th is context then, hunger can be seen as a severe stage or level of food insecurity charac terized by recurring involuntary reductions in food intake and disruption of usual eating patte rns (Guthrie & Nord, 2002, p. 904) According to the latest USDA food security study conducted in 2006, 12.6 million households experienced some level of food insecurity in 2005 (Nord, Andrews, Ca rlson, 2006). Out of the 12.6 million households, 4.6 million experienced significant disruptions in their food intake and eating patterns (Nord et. al., 2006). All of the households experiencing food in security exhibited copi ng strategies ranging from, eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food and nutrition assistance programs, or obtaining emergency food from co mmunity food pantries or emer gency kitchens (Nord et. al., 2006). The data in Table 2-1 indicates that several selected househol d characteristics correlated with higher rates of food insecur ity. Households below the offici al poverty line, households with children headed by a single woman or man, a nd Black and Hispanic households all had food insecurity rates significantly above the national average (Nord et. al., 2006). Additionally, there were several geographic and region al factors that correlated with insecurity. Households located within the principal cities of metropolitan areas had considerably higher food insecurity rates than households located in subur ban areas. Regionally, the South had markedly higher rates than other regions in the country. On e in three low-income househol ds, defined as households under 130% of the poverty line, experienced food insecur ity (Table 2-2). This data indicates that households above the Census Bureau poverty thres holds experience sporadic food insecurity and may experience the same challenges low and very -low income households face in meeting their nutritional demands.
16 While food security measurements are us eful for showing the breakdown between household characteristics, they lack a key spat ial and descriptive component. Incorporating a spatial analysis of why low-income househol ds become food insecure yields a better understanding of how the built environm ent can exacerbate insecurity issues. Food Deserts The term food desert was coined by the Low Income Project Team of the Nutrition Task Force, a team of researchers commissioned by th e British Department of Health to study food availability in British cities. The project team found that, economies of scale allow food sold in supermarkets to be cheaper and to cover a wider range than in smaller high street stores. The increasing tendency to out of town supermarkets has led to the creation of food deserts where cheap and varied food is only accessi ble to those who have private transport or are able to pay the costs of public transport if th is is available. Access to a ch eaper and wider range of food is most restricted for some of the groups who need it most (Acheson, 1998, p. 65). As British geographer Neal Wrigley explains, the term fo od deserts, projected in to policy debate by the Low Income Project Team in 1995, was rooted in these interrelated strands of evidence and provided a metaphor for the complex nexus of interlinkages between increasing health inequalities, retail development-induced different ial access to food retail provision, compromised diets, undernutrition and social exclusion (Wrigley, 2005, p. 2032) From these descriptions, a picture begins to form of a food desert. Food de serts are areas where acce ss to, and the price of, healthy fresh foods have been compromised by a combination of factors. Access factors include the siting of supermarkets, transportation opti ons, poverty, and nutrition education. Price issues are interrelated with access issues in terms of the relative price for food in urban areas versus suburban areas. Price issues are also interwoven with consumer choice, especially relating to
17 low-income households economizing food choices. Before a discussion of food access can occur it is critical to highlight the food production pr ocess and its influence on food accessibility. Conventional Food Production Processes Focusing on food deserts exclusively, lim its our understanding of why inequities exist between different households and different geographic areas. In or der to reach a clearer picture of food inequities, food production must be understood as a process. Advantages to middle and high-income households and la rge scale factory farms are embedded in the current food production paradigm. These advantages can also be conversely understood as barriers to lowincome households and small local family-owned farms. Thomas Lyson, in his book Civic Agriculture: Rec onnecting, Farm, Food, and Community describes two divergent systems of food production in the United States. The first system is the large scale, vertically oriented, f actory-like farm. This system of agriculture and food production is the current paradigm in the US (Lyson, 2004). These large scale farms account for the bulk of food and fiber produced in the US today (Lyson, 2004). As Lyson explains, the mass production of food has articu lated with mass consumer markets to offer consumers, relatively inexpensive standardized products (Lyson, 2004, p. 30). The mass production of food has also necessitated a narrow ed range of agricultural products and a shift towards bulk commodities like, wheat, corn, soybeans, a few varieties of fruits and vegetables, and a handful of genetically similar breeds of livestock and poultr y (Lyson, 2004). Lyson identifies four long-term trends in US food pr oduction that have shaped the current contours of modern farming. First, the number of farms has steadily declined from 6.4 million farms in 1910 to just under 2 million farms today (Lyson, 2004). Second, production has been increasingly concentrated on a number of very large farms. Mo st of these farms are clustered together in agricultural pockets ac ross the country (Lyson, 2004). Third, farms across the country have
18 become increasingly specialized, often producing only one or two commodities. Lastly, with the exception of a few categories of commodities, the linkages between local production and local consumption have been largely broken in a ma jority of commodities (Lyson, 2004). These trends have corresponded with a move by large farms to wards increasing vertical integration. Vertical integration of land, labor, capital by large agricult ural firms has resulted in unprecedented levels of agricultural consolidation. Today, in order to ensure large quantities of standardized products, food processors enter into formal contracts w ith individual farms. About 85% of processed vegetable production is produced under contra ct farming agreements (Lyson, 2004). These contracts give significant power to processors, who can dictate the type, quantity, quality, and delivery date of agricultural products (Lyson, 2004) Economies of scale dict ate that processors are more inclined to work with large farms whenever possible. Civic Agriculture The other system of food production, Lyson co ins as civic agriculture. Running concurrent with the factory farm system, civic agriculture is characterized by largely smaller-scale, locally oriented, flexibly organized farms and food pr oducers that fill the geographic and economic spaces that have been passed over or ignored by larger-scale, industrial farms (Lyson, 2004). Civic agriculture is in step with the needs of the community. As Lyson describes, Civic agriculture embodies a commitment to deve loping and strengthening an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable system of agriculture and f ood production that relies on local resources and serves local market s and consumers (Lyson, 2004, p. 63). Civic agriculture is embodied by smaller-scale agriculture and food producers that are involved in direct marketing to consumers or have integrated with local food networks. Lyson identifies six characteristics of civic ag riculture. First, civic agriculture involves farming that is oriented toward local markets th at serve local consumers rather than national or
19 international mass markets. This focus on local mark ets is in contrast to the factory-farm model of bulk commodity production (Lys on, 2004). Second, agriculture is s een as an integral part of rural communities (Lyson, 2004). Ag ain, this differs from the fa ctory-farm model where largescale agriculture is typically cl ustered in geographic pockets of high intensity farming away from rural communities. Third, civic ag riculture farmers are concerne d more with high quality and value-added products and less with quantity a nd least-cost production practices (Lyson, 2004). Because, agricultural commodities on civic agri culture farms are grown primarily for local markets, quality and variety take precedence over producing the highest yield or choosing varieties of produce based on their shipping durabili ty and shelf-life. Instead, civic agriculture farmers can select varieties of produce based on taste or high nutrient and mineral content. Fourth, production at the civic farm level is ofte n more labor-intensive an d less capital-intensive and land-extensive (Lyson, 2004). This operational ch aracteristic results in smaller scale farms with less mechanization of labor and less total acreag e but with a greater need for labor to run the farm. Civic agriculture is a craft enterprise as opposed to an industria l enterprise. The craft enterprise nature of civic agricu lture, hearkens back to early 20th century farming practices where quality labor and efficient land management were integral to the farms survival. Fifth, civic farms rely on local, site-specific knowledge and less on a uniform set of best management practices (Lyson, 2004). By reason of civic agricultures local focus, farming enterprises must be adaptable to local conditions. Local conditions co uld include, weather, crop choice, consumer preferences, and the local labor market. Being adaptable means civic agriculture farms have a greater degree of structural flex ibility than their industrial count erparts. Lastly, civic farmers forge direct market links to consumers rather than indirect links through middlemen (Lyson, 2004).
20 Direct marketing involves farmers selling th eir produce directly to consumers using a variety of mediums including farmers markets, roadside stands, internet sales, Community Supported Agriculture or CSA, and U-pick operations. The direct market forges a mutually supportive link between the farm and the loca l community. By not involving wholesalers, brokers, and food processors, civic farms have a greater degree of control over what and how much they produce (Lyson, 2004). Participating in direct sales means that 100% of the revenues from production go to the farm and the small farmer (Lyson, 2004). Taken together, the six characteristics of civic agriculture have the potential to nuture local economic development, maintain diversity and quality of products, and provide forums where farms and consumers can come together to strengthen the bonds of community (Lyson, 2004). How can civic agriculture then be tied to the communities who need fresh healthy foods the most? What barriers exist between small-s cale farms and low-income households, and what strategies exist for overcoming or circumventing these barriers? For the purposes of this study, small-scale farms and low-income households face, four types of barriers: institutional, political, socioeconomic, and spatial barriers. Both low-income households and small-scale farms experience these barriers albeit in diffe rent ways and to different degrees. In addition, the goals of small-scale farms a nd low-income households are sympathetic. A recent study in the Journal of the American Diet etic Association found that low-income women who had been provided economic supplement for fr esh fruit and vegetable purchases had a 90% voucher redemption rate and purchased a wide variety of produce for their families (Herman, Harrison, and Jenks, 2006). The study clearly show s that desire for fresh healthy produce is relatively income-indifferent. Low-income hous eholds want access to relatively inexpensive healthy produce. The USDAs Economic Research Service defines small farms as those
21 operations with less than $250,000 in gross receipts (USDA ERS, 1998). Because of their size, small-scale farms interested in local linkages ar e looking for a direct connection to consumers. This connection provides a stream of revenue to keep small farms economically viable while at the same time enhancing the hea lth and nutrition in the surrou nding community. While the goals of low-income households and small-scale farms might be sympathetic connecting the two sides is not guaranteed. The following sections explor e how these institutional, economic, political, and spatial barriers impact small farms. Barriers to Small Farms Institutional Barriers Sm all-scale farms experience institutional barriers in the form of federal farm policies that provide competitive advantages to large-scale farm s. In order to understand the nature of federal farm policy and its bias towards large farms, a br ief history of recent events in US agriculture and the federal response to them will be helpful. During the late 1980s, domestic grain surpluses soared due to low acreage set-as ides and export markets dampened by high exchange rates the costs of federal farm subsidies. American agri culture experienced the worst economic crisis in farming since the Great Depression due to re cord crop production, falling export demand, and the Federal Reserves anti-inflationary measures of high interest rates and high exchange rates. Many farmers faced a credit crisis, having borrowed on rising land values in the 1970s to expand operations, resulting in high numbers of bankruptci es and foreclosures among farms of all sizes, bank closings, and agriculture-related business fa ilures. The economic stress took its toll on farm families, sometimes resulting in suicide and divor ce, and tore at the fabric of rural community life (USDA, 1998, p. 10). The Reagan administ ration, committed to reducing government spending in agriculture, proposed major cuts in farm price suppor t levels (USDA, 1998). At the same time, economic emergency loans were made to highly leveraged large farms. Many of
22 these substantial loans would go uncollected by the federal government (USDA, 1998). The 1985 farm bill began to put downward pressure on farm prices by freezing target prices, lowering loan rates and subsidizing e xports (USDA, 1998). In 1987, the R eagan administration took its proposals for cutting agricultur e spending to the General Ag reement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and eventually succeeded in winning reductions in agricultural subsidies worldwide (USDA, 1998). Following record spending on farm subsidies, the 1990 farm bill attempted to reduce government payments to farmers by reduci ng the amount of acreage el igible for payments (USDA, 1998). The 1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act (FAIR) decoupled planting decisions from payments and instea d provided transition payments (USDA, 1998). Farm payments are calculated on the basis of volume of producti on, thus giving a greater share of payments to large farms (USDA, 1998). Eve n though only about one-third of U.S. farmers have participated in Federal farm programs, thes e programs have historically been structurally biased toward benefiting the la rgest farms (USDA, 1998, p. 10). The payments enable the larger farms to further capitalize and expa nd their operations (USDA, 1998). The USDA National Commission on Sma ll Farms also found that: Attempts to place caps on the amount of payments per farm have not resulted in their intended effects. The present system of trans ition payments perpetuates the large-farm bias because the amount of payment is base d on historical payment levels. A new risk management tool, revenue insurance, also perpetuates a large-farm bias through its provisions of coverage for the few major program commodities with no limit on the amount of coverage provided. Additionally, re cent changes in Federal tax policy provide disproportionate benefits to large farms th rough tax incentives for capital purchases to expand operations. Large-scale farms that depe nd on hired farm workers for labor receive exemptions from Federal labor law afforded workers in every othe r industry, allowing them the advantage of low-wage labor costs (USDA, 1998, p.11) Finally, the Commission found that, conclusions and policies which focus on the large and super-large farms as an inevitable result of econo mic progress may be ignoring the small farm as the most vital component of all food production (USDA, 1998, p.11). Federal farm policies that
23 advantage large-scale farms repr esent a significant institutional barrier to the small community scaled farmer. Political Barriers Sm all-scale farms face significant political barriers. The agribusiness industry has donated $415,347,982 in local, state, and federal campaign contributions between 1990-2008. Thirty one percent of contributions went to Democrats while the remaining 69% went to Republican candidates (Figure 2-1). These pe rcentages probably reflect the decade of Republican control of the United States Congress. For the purposes of tabulation, the agribusiness sector, includes crop producers, livestock ranchers and meat processo rs, the poultry and egg industry, dairy farmers, timber companies, tobacco companies, food products manufacturers, food stores and veterinarians. Agricultural services and pr oducts, tobacco companies and food processing and sales were the biggest spenders within the sect or (Center for Responsive Politics, 2008). Soft money contributions to the national parties we re not publicly disclosed until the 1991-92 election cycle, and were banned by the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act following the 2002 elections (Center for Responsive Politics, 2008). Small-scale farms do not possess the financial re sources nor the politic al sophistication to compete with the Agribusiness lobby. Political ac tion committees and agricultural lobbyists work for the largest farms and food processors (Center for Responsible Politics, 2008). Not surprisingly, federal farm policies have disp roportionately benefited large farms and food processors. Economic Barriers Sm all farms also face a number of economic barriers. The USDAs Economic Research Service defines small farms as those operations with less than $250,000 in gross receipts (USDA ERS, 1998). Table 2-3 provides a breakdown of sma ll farm revenues. The data indicates that
24 small farms greatly outnumber farms with sales over $250,000. Additionally, government payments are significantly higher for farm s with sales over $250,000. Finally, small farms struggle to generate returns equal to the average U.S. household income. The USDA further refines the small farm definition by separating small farms $50,000$250,00 in gross receipts and very small farms, $50,000 and below. While these seem like large numbers, after production costs, the average net income fr om small farms is only $23,159 (USDA ERS, 1998). Very small farms have a net loss of $1,702 (USDA ERS, 1998). The ERS report found that, in order to ge nerate a cash income close to th at of the average U.S. household income, farms need to generate sales in the upper end of the small farm category (USDA ERS, 1998). The largest expenditure for small farm s were fixed cost items (Figure 2-2). Fixed cost items include real estate and pr operty taxes, interest expenses, insurance premiums, and rent or lease payments. Fuel costs, especially for very small farms, constituted the next highest expense. The cost of fuel directly impacts a small fa rms ability to transport produce to market. The study concluded that while the makeup of vulnerable opera tions (high debt and negative income) varies by economic size and econo mic conditions during the year, vulnerability is concentrated among the small farms (USDA ERS, 1998). Spatial Barriers A num ber of spatial barriers prevent small-s cale farmers from more efficiently reaching consumers. The fuel costs associated with transp orting agricultural products to market are harder to absorb for small farms with limited resour ces. A study of food miles in Iowa provides a sobering comparison of the distance traveled and fuel costs associated with industrial farming compared to local Iowa food systems (Table 2-4). Small farms cannot compete with larger farm s on a national scale due to the extremely high transportation costs. While, conventional food systems use more fuel and travel greater
25 distances, small local farms typically do not ha ve access to larger trucks and must make additional trips to bring their products to market. The conventional food system's semitrailers used significantly more fuel compared with the fuel used to transport produce to the local food system's institutional markets and CSA and farmers markets. Further, the conventional systems semitrailer emitted almost six times the CO2, but onl y traveled 1.9 times as far as the light trucks used in the local systems (Table 2-4). However, the light trucks were forced to make more trips to deliver the same amount of produce as a se mitrailer (Pirog, Van Pelt, Enshayan, Cook, 2001). The research shows that locally based production ne tworks spend significantly less on fuel costs. The location of terminal markets also presents a significant spatial barrier to small farms. A terminal market is, a central site, often in a metropolitan area, that serves as an assembly and trading place for agricultural commodities. Term inal markets are usually at or near major transportation hubs (U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, 2007, np.). Due to the spatial arrangement of terminal markets in metropolitan areas, small farms located farther from a terminal market must ship their products a greater distance at a hi gher cost. Meeting these additional costs is difficult for farms with limite d resources. Subsequent section will focus on how institutional, economic, political, and sp atial barriers impact low-income households. Barriers to Low-Income Households Institutional Barriers Low-incom e households have faced significant institutional barriers. Exclusionary federal housing policies together with housing financ ing discrimination by banks and other lending institutions have significantly influenced the shape, location, and economic vitality of lowincome neighborhoods. The Federal Urban Renewal program was also responsible for citywide destruction of viable low-income neighborhoods in the name of blight removal. Poor access to healthy foods is one result of systematic disi nvestment in poor neighborhoods. A brief discussion
26 of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) red lining and the Federal Urban Renewal program will prove helpful to better understand the institut ional barriers faced by low-income households. The FHA was established in 1934 by the National Housing Act, in response to staggering foreclosure and eviction rates during the Great Depression (H ays, 1995). The 1934 act sought to bolster the housing credit system through the es tablishment of FHA mortgage insurance (Hays, 1995). Mortgage insurance would fundamentally change the way people borrowed money for home purchases. By introduci ng the long-term, low-down-payment, fully amortized, levelpayment mortgage, in place of the short-term high-down-payment, balloon notes of earlier years, the FHA greatly broadened the segment of the US population who could afford a home (Hays, 1995, p. 85). However, the FHA program did not address those who could not afford to purchase a home. Indeed, as the program matu red through WWII, it increasingly served middleclass whites. To control for the risk of insu ring mortgages that end up exceeding the value of the property they finance, the FHA specified crit eria for assessing the value of the individual properties and the likelihood that the property would maintain its value over time. The criteria for making these decisions rested in large part on the racial characteri stics of the neighborhood and the surrounding area (Schwartz, 2006, p. 51). Th e term redlining refers to the line on a map that delineated where the FHA would not insure home mortgages. The FHA did not invent redlining, which was part of the normal operational policies of the majority of realtor associations and lending instituti ons during this period (Schwartz, 2006). The results of redlining can be seen throughout low-income urban commun ities, where a history of disinvestment has isolated poor communities from basic services and retail including supermarkets and other mainstream food outlets.
27 Political Barriers Low-incom e households have experienced barr iers to political involvement and have historically been underrepresented in planni ng decision-making processes. Referring to the history of low-income and minority exclusion from past planning decisions, Paul Davidoff (2003) exhorts, the just dema nd for political and social equity on the part of the AfricanAmerican and the impoverished requ ires the public to establish th e bases for a society affording equal opportunity for all citizens (p. 210). Excl usion of low-income households from decisionmaking processes follows with larger patterns of minority under-representation in the political arena. In most cities land use decisions, the local decisions that most affect the spatial environment of the city and its economic life, are a semiprivate proce ss involving a triangle of capitalist developers, city bureaucrats, and electe d city officials. The empirical record shows, however, that land use decision-making biased in these ways contri butes to increasing inequalities (Elkin as quoted in Young, 2003, p. 351). Preclusion from the political process has significantly impaired th e ability of low-income and minority households to promote the health and economic vitality of their community. Economic Barriers Low-incom e households encounter multiple socioeconomic barriers. Low-income households respond to these barriers by adopti ng a number of strategi es to economize food choice. The Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) serves as a national standard for a nutritious diet at a minimal cost and is used as the basis for maximum food stamp allotments. The TFP market baskets specify the types and quantities of foods that people could purchase to be consumed at home to obtain a nutritious diet at a minimal cost (Carlson, Lino, Juan, Hanson, Basiotis, 2006). Weekly spending relative to the TFP and food secu rity status, confirms earlier findings of food insecurity among low-income households (Table 2-5). On average, households headed by single
28 women with children spend less on food than married couples and single men with children (Nord et. al., 2006). The data also confirms that Black and Hispanic households spend significantly less than wh ite households (Nord et. al., 2006). H ouseholds with lower income to poverty ratios spend substantially less than those with higher ratios (Nord et. al., 2006). The data shows that households located wi thin the metropolitan area spend more on food than households located in suburban areas outside of the metropol itan area (Nord et. al., 2006). The difference in expenditure is likely due in part to higher food costs with in urban areas. Households experiencing some degree of food insecurity spend between $13-$14 fewer dollars per week on household members than households liste d as food secure (Table 2-6). With less money to spend on food, low-income households must adopt a number of strategies to economize food choices. Ephraim S. Leibtag and Phil R. Kaufman (2003) found that food purchase decisions by the poor often entail tradeoffs among ta ste, preference, and quality factors either real or percei ved to meet spending restraints (pg. 1). The survey measured how households with different income levels vary in their food expenditure patterns. By using actual transaction data from check-o ut scanners, the researchers were able to determine the price, product description, quantity, and brand name as well information about the purchase condition, (e.g. sale, coupon, promotion) (Leibtag and Kaufman, 2003). Low-income households economize food choi ces using four main strategies. First, they may purchase a gr eater proportion of discounted products. Second, they may purchase more private-label pr oducts (generic or store band ) versus brand products than higher income shoppers. Third, they ma y take advantage of volume discounts by purchasing larger package sizes. Fourth, th ey may purchase a less expensive food product within a product class. Although quality diffe rences such as freshness, convenience, and taste often contribute to price differences, di fferences in nutritional quality such as fat content are also evident (Lei btag and Kaufman, 2003, pg. 1). Further, for random-weight cheese, fruit, ve getables, and meat, low income-households spent a greater share of expe nditures on items on promotion than middle and high-income
29 households (Leibtag and Kaufma n, 2003). Low-income households also purchased more private label cereals and packaged cheese products than did middle and high-income households (Leibtag and Kaufman, 2003). Choice of package size also allowed low-income households to economize purchases by buying larger package sizes which typically have lower per-unit costs than smaller packages. Yet, low-income households had the lowest purchase rates of large sized packages of any of the income groups (Leibtag and Kaufman, 2003). The researchers found three possible explanations for this discrepancy. First, low-income shoppers face transportation constrai nts that limit or prevent house hold access to stores that sell large packages (Leibtag and Kaufman, 2003). Tr ansportation constraints could also include diminished capacity to carry larger packages especially for those households who do not own a car and must use mass transit. Second, budget constraints mean that households generally cannot afford to stock up on staple products in bulk (Leibtag and Kaufma n, 2003). Third, low-income households perceive that the cost of storing large packages is higher than the volume savings (Leibtag and Kaufman, 2003). Finally, low-income households may substitute lower priced items in purchasing decisions. An example of this would be choosing a lower grade or less expens ive cut of meat. The researchers found that low-income households purchased greater quan tities of meat but paid less per pound on average than middle or high-inco me households. Leibtag and Kaufman (2003) rationalize this to mean that lo w-income households are purchasing lower quality meats than the other income groups. The data also shows that low-income households purchased 3.3% fewer fruits and vegetables than other groups, and they paid 13% less. This disp arity demonstrates that low-income households are purchasing lower quality produce (Leibtag and Kaufman, 2003).
30 Thus, low-income households may sacrifice freshness and nutritional quality in stretching their food dollar. Spatial Barriers Low-incom e households must overcome a variet y of spatial barriers to fresh food. These barriers are closely linked with th e concentration of low-income households in inner-city areas. The spatial barriers experienced by low-income households include fewer chain supermarkets being sited in low-income neighborhoods, lower rates of personal automobile ownership, and poor mass transit connections to suburban supermarkets. In order to assess, Ronald Cotterill and Andrew Franklin (1995) surveyed 21 metropolitan cities focusing on a number of factors including th e average number and size of supermarkets per capita by per capita income and percentage of households wi th more than one car and by households receiving public assistance. On average, they found typically three times as many supermarkets per capita in middle and highincome neighborhoods than in low-income neighborhoods (Cotterill and Fra nklin, 1995). Further, 26% of low-income households do not own a car (Murakami and Young, 1997). Despite this statistic, low-income households still make a majority of their trips by car, relying on ride s from friends and family (Murakami and Young, 1997). Sporadic or no access to a personal vehicle makes low-income households more dependent on mass transit and walking. This de pendency simultaneously forces consumers to shop more frequently and purchase smaller quant ities of goods in order to conform to their mobility restraints (Clifton, 2004). In many cases, th is dependency also reduces the ability of low-income households to transport purchases home. Direct Marketing Direct Marketing has the potential to unite sm all-scale fa rms and low-income households and create a mutually benefici al arrangement for both parties. Direct marketing involves two-
31 way communication between producers and consum ers. Farms sell their agricultural products directly to consumers rather than selling their yields to brokers, food processors, or wholesalers for the national market. Because of this direct connection between consumers and farmers, direct marketing functions primarily on a local scale. Th e exception to this model is internet sales where farms sell their products dire ctly to internet customers w ho may or may not live close to the farm. The underlying concept [behind direct marketing] is th at there is a difference between marketing and selling. It's possible to add valu e to products by direct marketing when producers assume the marketing functions traditionally do ne by others. By doing this, producers become price makers in their market, not price take rs (Ellerman, McFeeters, Fox, 2001, para. 5). Direct marketing takes several forms. Farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, U-pick operations, roadside stands, and institutional sales to restaurants and schools comprise the majority of direct marketing operations. This thesis focuses exclusively on farmers markets a nd CSAs, in part because these in stitutions represent two of the oldest forms of direct farm ma rketing operations. Further, while little comprehensive sales data for any of the direct marketing forms exists, th e dedicated revenues earned from CSAs and the agglomeration of marketing power from farmers markets likely mean that these operations are the most lucrative for small farms. Additionall y, CSAs and farmers markets have a greater potential for integration with low-income neighborhoods. Due to bot h the greater flexibility in siting for farmers markets locations and CS As food share drop off points. Low-income households also have increased opportunities for to apply federal food assistance vouchers at both places. Community Supported Agriculture CSA operations have been steadily growing thro ughout the U.S. CSAs typically consist of a group of individuals o r families who commit re sources (money and/or labor) to a farmer. In
32 return for their investment, the group receives a share of what the farm produces that season (Lyson, 2004). Shareholders provide a steady stream of capital to the farm before the start of the growing season. By doing so, shareholders help fa rmers shoulder the risks associated with crop failure and reap the benefits of a good harvest. Th e typical CSA farm provides shareholders with a combination of farm products. These vary with the type of farm and the variety of farming operations present. On a weekly basis, shareholde rs receive a box of fruits, vegetables, dairy and eggs, herbs, flowers, etc. and pay on average between $10-$35 dollars per week with the total yearly share cost around $346 (Lyson, 2004). CSAs vary mostly in the level of consumer involvement with the farm. In farmer directed CSAs, shareholders are seen as subscribers who have little involvement in farm decisions or ope rations. Subscribers pay a yearly fee to the farm in exchange for weekly food bundles. Other forms of CSAs merge the reso urces of two or more farming operations to reduce risk and offer c onsumers a greater variety of product options. Community supported agriculture arrangements ha ve the potential to provide farm fresh produce to low-income households less expensively than retail stores (Table 2-7). Because of their flexibility, CSA farms can distribute shar es from conveniently located community-meeting spaces, easily accessible by walking or transit. Low-income households have a greater say in where they want to pick-up products than in a typical consumer-supermarket arrangement. These farms benefit from steady revenue stream s and garner good media press by linking their fortunes with underserved residents. Farmers Markets Farm ers markets are the most venerable di rect marketing arrangements. Once a vital marketplace between farmers and consumers, farm ers markets could be found in virtually every town. However, between the 1920s and 1970s the number of farmers markets was in steady decline (Lyson, 2004). Since the 1970s, farmers markets have been again increasing in numbers.
33 A study by the USDA in 2002 found over 4,385 farmers markets in operation across the country (USDA-AMS, 2007). The USDA has identified sma ll farmers (under 250,000 in gross receipts), consumers, and the community, especially urban neighborhoods underserved by retail food outlets, as the primary beneficiaries of a fa rmers market (USDA-AMS, 2007). Small farms benefit from a direct market for their goods w ith no intermediaries. Farms receive 100% of the revenue from product sales. Farmers markets al so provide small farms a means to agglomerate products offered (Swisher and Sterns, 2003). By having multiple farms in one location, farmers markets can offer consumers a greater mix of product choices than any single farm could provide. Farmers markets benefit low-income households in several ways. They can be located in or near low-income urban neighborhoods wher e access to fresh inexpensive produce is limited, saving households time and money in transportation costs. Farmers markets can also function as community gathering places where neighborhood re sidents can network and build organizational resources. Federal Food Assistance Programs In addition to the Federal Food Stamp program two other federal food assistance program s are linked with direct marketing operations. The Women, Infant, and Childrens Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) both focus on expanding access to fresh nutritional local foods for at-ris k households. The FMNP targets low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding pos t-partum women and infants and children up to 5 years of age who ar e found to be at nutritional risk (USDA-FNS, 2007). The SFMNP targets low-income seniors, gene rally defined as individuals who are at least 60 years old and who have household incomes of not more than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines (USDA-FNS, 2007).
34 In fiscal year 2005, the FMNP provided over 2.6 million WIC participants with farmers market coupons for fresh, locally grown produce (USDA-FNS, 2007). The FMNP provides cash grants to state agencies who then administer the program and distribute FMNP coupons to WIC participants. Farmers, farmers markets, and ro adside stands that have been approved by the administering state agency can accept the coupons. Federal funds support 100 percent of the food costs of the program and 70 percen t of the administrative costs. Participating states match the federal administrative costs by contributing at leas t 30 percent of the total administrative costs of the program (USDA-FNS, 2007). In fiscal year 2006, Congress appropriated 19.8 million dollars for the FMNP (USDA-FNS, 2007). The SFMNP provides federal grants to state agencies to provi de low-income seniors with coupons redeemable for eligible foods at farmers markets, ro adside stands, and community supported agriculture operations (USDA-FNS, 2007). The SFMNP has three stated purposes. First, provide resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from farmers' markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors (USDA-FNS, 2007, para. 1). Second, to increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commod ities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic farmers' markets, roadside sta nds, and community support agriculture programs (USDA-FNS, 2007, para. 1). Finally, to develo p or aid in the development of new and additional farmers' markets, roadside stands and community support agriculture programs (USDA-FNS, 2007, para. 1). This program for seni ors only runs concurre nt with the growing season. Participants living in regi ons with longer growing seasons have a greater time window in which to use their coupons. Congress has authorized $15 million dollars for the SFMNP through 2007 (USDA-FNS, 2007).
35 These programs help to connect small farmers and low-income households by integrating opportunities for economic development and assi stance with access to healthy food options. Small farms benefit with increased revenue fr om voucher sales. By b ecoming a participating farm, farmers can position themselves to take advantage of nutrition program voucher revenues, giving them an advantage over other operations. Low-income households benefit from vouchers by increasing their access to fresh healthy foods and effectively lowering the price of goods. According to the USDA, 58% of farmers ma rkets accept WIC coupons, food stamps, and local and state nutrition programs benefits (USDA-FNS, 2007). Summary Thus, despite these econ omic, spatial, inst itutional and political challenges facing lowincome households and small farms, direct marke ting strategies can connect these stakeholders and foster mutually beneficial relationships that will improve the social and economic vitality of both partners. These strategies come at a critical juncture in food production in the United States with small farms struggling to survive and lowincome households struggling to access healthy produce. In light of increasing concerns over globalization of food production and the potential vulnerabilities to intern ational food supply lines due to political instabil ity and terrorism, food security has garnered a great d eal of attention from Congress a nd the press in recent years. Hunger and food insecurity impacts the urban poor to a much greater degree than other income and spatial groups. Food insecurity stems from inequali ties in access to fresh foods and the high premiums incurred for fresh produce. These sp atial and economic inequalities can best be understood with the food desert metaphor. At the other end of the farm to fork connecti on, small farms have strugg led in an industrial agricultural system that advantages large verti cally integrated commodity farms. Small farms
36 must adopt new strategies by tying their fates with new partners and new markets in order to remain viable operations. Lysons (2004) idea of a civic agricultural system privileges small farms, proposing a system where farms are connected with the local community for mutual gain. However, before Lysons dream can be re alized, both small farms and low-income households must overcome a number of institutional, political, socioeconomic, and spatial barriers blocking their success. Thes e barriers take the form of specific public policies; larger social, political, and economic trends; market dr iven forces; and institutionalized racism and exclusionary practices. While so me barriers have weakened over time, others have strengthened, and new innovative solutions must be sought to connect farms and deserving households. Direct marketing has the potential to circumvent several of th e critical barriers separating these groups. Direct connections between farms a nd consumers results in a greater portion of the production revenues going to farms and fresher less expensive produce being enjoyed by lowincome households. Federal and state agencies have the potential to foster these connections with federal nutrition programs like the FMNP and the SFMNP. These programs facilitate partnerships between farms and communities. The literature reveals that the United States has reached a critical juncture in the farm-tofork equation. One path primarily benefits larg e industrial farming operations and the middle and upper income groups, while the other benefits smaller farms focused on strengthening links between farm and community. This path benefits all income groups, however, it is primarily concerned with increasing access to healthy food to historically underserved groups. The research methodology in the subsequent chapter drew on the results from the litera ture and attempts to formulate a methodology to study the institutional, economic, political, and spatial barriers to fresh produce access in a local context.
37 Table 2-1. Households by food security status an d selected household ch aracteristics, 2006 (Nord et. al., 2006, p. 10) Reprinted with permission from Nord, Mark; Andrews, Margaret; Carlson, Steven. (2007). Household Food Security in the United States, 2006 USDA Economic Research Service. Washington, D.C. (Source: Calculated by ER S using data from the December 2006 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement)
38 Table 2-2. Households with income below 130% of the poverty line by food secure status and selected household characterist ics (Nord et. al., 2006, p. 16) Reprinted with permission from Nord, Mark; Andrews, Margaret; Carlson, Steven. (2007). Household Food Security in the United States, 2006 USDA Economic Research Service. Washington, D.C. (Source: Calculated by ER S using data from the December 2006 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement)
39 Table 2-3. Characteristics of very small, small, and large-scale farms (USDA, 1998) Reprinted with permission from United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. (1998). Status Report: Small Farms in the US USDA Agricultural Outlook. May, 1998. Washington, D.C. (Source: 1995 Agricultural Resources Management Survey)
40 Table 2-4. Estimated fuel consumption, CO2 emi ssions, and distance trav eled for conventional vs. Iowa based local and regional food systems (Pirog, Van Pelt, Enshayan, Cook, 2001) Reprinted with permission from Pirog, Rich; Van Pelt, Timothy; Enshayan, Kamyar; Cook, Ellen. (2001). Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Retrieved on December 1st, 2007 from http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/staff/papers.htm
41 Table 2-5. Weekly household food spending per pers on and relative to the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan (Nord et. al., 2006, p.24) Reprinted with permission from Nord, Mark; Andrews, Margaret; Carlson, Steven. (2007). Household Food Security in the United States, 2006 USDA Economic Research Service. Washington, D.C. (Source: Calculated by ER S using data from the December 2006 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement)
42 Table 2-6. Weekly household food spending per pers on and relative to the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan by food security status (Nord et. al., 2006, p. 24) Reprinted with permission from Nord, Mark; Andrews, Margaret; Carlson, Steven. (2007). Household Food Security in the United States, 2006 USDA Economic Research Service. Washington, D.C. (Source: Calculated by ER S using data from the December 2006 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement)
43 Table 2-7. CSA share prices and retail values per pound for three Massachusetts farms (Cooley and Lass, 1998, p. 234) Reprinted with permission from Cooley, Jack; Lass, Daniel. (1998). Consumer Benefits from Community Supported Agriculture Membership. Review of Agricultural Economics Vol. 20, No. 1. (Spring Summer, 1998), pp. 227-237. Retrieved December 1st, 2007 from http://links.jstor.org/sici?sic i=10587195%28199821%2F22%2920%3A1%3227%3ACBFCSA% 3E2.0.CO% 3B2-U
44 Figure 2-1. Agribusiness industry campaign c ontributions 1990-2008 (Center for Responsive Politics, 2008) Reprinted with permissi on from Center for Responsive Politics. (2007). Agribusiness: Long term contribut ion trends. Washington, DC. Retrieved on December 1st, 2007 from http://www.opensecrets.org/ industries/indus.asp?Ind=A
45 Figure 2-2. Average expenses for small farms in the United States. A) Fixed costs include real estate and property taxes. Interest expens es, insurance premiums, and rent or lease payments (ERS, 1995) Reprinted with permi ssion from United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. (1998). Status Report: Small Farms in the US USDA Agricultural Outlook. May, 1998. Washington, D.C.
46 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY In order to o bserve the institutional, economic political, and spatial barriers to fresh produce on a local scale, a series of focus groups were conducted with individuals living in Southeast Gainesville neighborhoods. In a focus gr oup interview, the researcher explores the perceptions, experiences, and understandings of a group of people who have some experience in common with regard to a situation or event (Kumar, 2005, p. 124). The focus group interview method is a qualitative research tool where a mo derator leads a discussi on with the interview group. The intent is to provoke open-ended di alogue, supported by gr oup interaction, where respondents address a series of questions based on their associations and experiences (Airhihenbuwa, Kumanyika, Agurs, Lowe, Saunders, Morssink, 1996). By analyzing the responses, the researcher can identify common th emes in the response data. The common themes in responses can then be used to derive insights into the percep tions and attitudes of the focus group respondents within a group dy namic. Qualitative research approaches are used for both exploration and confirmation of na turalistic data and have been used effectively to inform the design or interpretation of quantitative research (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996, p. 2). Additionally, qualitative research has been particularly valuable in explor ing and understanding latent or unique cross-cultural issues re lated to health care or health behaviors, including dietary practices (Airhihenbuwa et al., 1996, p. 2). Recruitment of Participants Volunteers were recruited from three neighborh oods located in Southeast Gainesville. The neighborhoods, Lincoln Estates, North Lincoln Heights, and Sp ringhill are located within Southeast quadrant of the City of Gainesvilles city limits. In itial interest in the study was fomented through a series of discussions with neighborhood associa tion presidents. The
47 researcher was familiar with these neighborhood s through an internship with the Neighborhood Planning division at the City of Gainesville. Additionally, the Citys Neighborhood Planning Coordinator was involved in fo rging the initial co ntacts between the researcher and the neighborhood association presidents. Presentatio ns were given at each of the neighborhood association meetings outlining the focus and pro cess of the research. Through close collaboration with the association presidents, sign-up sheet s were distributed at community events. All respondents were over the age of 18. The st udys time constraints presented an ongoing challenge despite interest from the three association presidents. Further, the researcher could dedicate only limited resources for participation incentives. A ten-dollar gift certificate from Wards Supermarket was given to each partic ipant. The researcher approached Wards ownership about the possibility of donating the gift certificates. However, as a matter of policy, Wards could not accommodate the request. Additiona lly, aligning the schedules of the residents, the moderator, and the researcher to conduct the focus group interviews proved a significant challenge. Location Location can play a critical role in focus group interviews. Due to its proxim ity to the three Southeast Gainesville neighbor hoods involved in the study, the T.B. McPherson Community Center located on Southeast 15th Street was selected for the focus group location. The Lincoln Estates Neighborhood Association holds neighb orhood meetings at the T. B. McPherson Community Center. The researcher wanted the vo lunteers to be familiar and comfortable with the focus group location. The City of Gainesville made the center available for the focus group sessions.
48 Focus Group Organization A total of 3 focus groups were conducted between April 19th and April 20th. Each group consisted of between 5-12 participants, one mode rator, one researcher, and one assistant. The focus groups lasted approximately one hour. Particip ants were seated around a circular table. A tape recorder was placed at th e center of the group. The modera tor led the discussion using the prepared focus group script. Development of Interview Protocol A num ber of cohesive strategies were devi sed in developing the interview questions. An extensive literature review was conducted with an emphasis in exploring barriers faced by local producers and low-income communities in accessi ng fresh produce. In addition to the literature review, several discussions with experts from th e Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida as well as advice a nd guidance from the research supervisor proved invaluable in shaping the focus group questions. The expert counsel was then balanced with information gathered from several conversati ons with neighborhood or ganizers in Southeast Gainesville. An informal pre-test of the interv iew protocol was conducted with a group of the researchers associates several weeks before the real focus group interviews. A few minor adjustments were made to the interview proce ss based on feedback from the test group. The focus groups were recorded by a combination of handwritten notes produced by the researcher and the assistant as well as audio recordings of the interviews. The handwritten notes were given preference with the audiotapes providing back -up when key phrases needed confirmation. Interview Format The interviews began with the m oderator r eading an introductory statement outlining the objectives for the focus group. A disclosure st atement was read and the volunteers were reminded of their rights as outlined in the Institutional Review Board documentation and the
49 consent form each volunteer had signed. Permission was obtained to audiotape the discussions. The focus group questions were designed to elic it in depth discussions about access to fresh produce choices in Southeast Gainesville. A semi-structured interview format accommodate d three primary lines of questioning. The first line of questioning involved gauging the volunteers attitudes a bout the fresh produce choices found in Southeast Gainesville food stores. This line of inquiry begins with broad openended questions designed to stimulate general discussion of produce purchasing patterns and to gather information about where volunteers primarily shop for fresh produce. As the discussion progressed, the moderator narrowed the focus of th e questions to further probe attitudes about fresh produce choices based on a nu mber of factors including, price, freshness, availability, variety, packaging, taste, and quantity. As the par ticipants considered th ese factors, additional questions were posed concerning Southeast Gain esville food stores. Participants discussed whether fresh produce is actively promoted in S outheast food stores and explained their answers in depth. These questions were designed to shif t the focus of the interv iew from a discussion of what the fresh produce choices are in Southeast Gainesville to a deeper exploration of how choices have developed, what can account for their development, and why volunteers believe choices have developed differently in Southeast Gainesville than in other quadrants of the city. The second line of questioning asked participan ts to rank the quadrants of Gainesville by the quality of produce found in food stores. Assumi ng Southeast Gainesville is not ranked first, the moderator proceeded to an open discussion format for a mini-brainstorming session where volunteers were encouraged to expound on the reas ons they believe South east Gainesville has a lower quality of produce than other quadrants of Gainesville. If discussion stalled, the moderator posed a number of questions to stimulate new dial ogue. However, this porti on of the interview is
50 designed to be open with a minimal amount of input from the moderator. The interview questions prior to this section were designed to develop the dial ogue towards an analysis of the underlying barriers for fresh produce access identifie d in the literature review chapter. The final line of questioning soli cited input from the participants with re gard to addressing some of the fresh produce access in equities exposed in the prev ious portion of the discussion. The moderator began with a short statement designed to shift focus and center discussion on proposing ideas to improve fresh produce access a nd availability in Southeast Gainesville. The interview questions are open-ended to promote br ainstorming and highlight different strategies proposed by participants. Discussi on also focused on weighing the pros and cons of a number of direct marketing strategies including, farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms. In conversations with several Southeast Gainesville reside nts during the interview development phase, the researcher noted differenc es in attitudes between Southeast Gainesville residents concerning the most effective solutions to increasing fresh produce access in their neighborhoods. The interview questions were adju sted to include a few closed-ended questions to highlight differen ces in opinions. The focus group interview concluded with an opp ortunity for the part icipants to add any additional comments to the record or explore an y topics not included in the discussion. Finally, the moderator issued a brief statement thanking the volunteers for their participation and the assistant distributed the gift-certificates to the participants. The following chapter analyzes Census data on specific household characteristics linked with food insecurity. This data was used in se lecting Southeast Gainesville and the three case study neighborhoods as this thesis study areas. Further, the chap ter also explores the results from the focus group data.
51 CHAPTER 4 FOCUS GROUP RESULTS The results taken from the focus groups reveal a number of significant correlations with the literature as well as several ne w revelations not found in the b ackground research. Analysis and discussion of the results is orga nized into three sections. The first section compares key food insecurity characteristics with demographic data drawn from three Southeast Gainesville neighborhoods. Focus group participants were drawn exclusively from these three neighborhoods. The second section combines th is demographic data with key spatial characteristics associated with the food desert analogy to determine the su itability of Southeast Gainesville and North Lincoln Heights, Linc oln Estates, and Spri nghill neighborhoods for inclusion in this study. The third section reviews the major themes that emerged from the focus group results. Food Insecurity Characteristics in Th ree Southeast Gainesville Neigh borhoods Focus group participants were drawn from three neighborhoods located within the Southeast quadrant of Gainesville. The neighbor hoods, Lincoln Estates, No rth Lincoln Heights, and Springhill are the three largest neighborhood asso ciations by area, in Southeast Gainesville. Figure 4-1 shows the location of th e three neighborhoods in relation to the City of Gainesvilles city limits. The maps, shown in Figure 4-2, Figure 4-3, a nd Figure 4-4, display th e parcel, street, and neighborhood association boundaries for the Lincoln Estates, Springhill and North Lincoln Heights neighborhoods, respectively. According to the 2000 United States Census, the North Lincoln Heights neighborhood comprises a significant portion of Census Tract 7, Block Group 1. A majority of the Springhill
52 neighborhood is contained in Census Tract 7, Block Group 2. The Lincoln Estates neighborhood is contained within Census Tract 7, Block Group 3. A 2006 USDA sponsored study found a positive correlation between specific household characteristics and higher instances of food ins ecurity (Nord et. al., 2006 ). Food security is defined as access by all people at all times to enough food for a hea lthy active lifestyle (Anderson, 1990). In this context, food insecuri ty is characterized by recurring involuntary reductions in food intake and disruption of us ual eating patterns (G uthrie and Nord, 2002). Research has shown there are a number of conditions that increase the likelihood of a household to experience food insecurity. These conditions include households below the national poverty line, households with children under 18 headed by a single man or woman, and Black and Hispanic households. Additionally, several geogr aphic and regional characteristics correlate with higher rates of food insecurity. Households located in the pr incipal cities of metropolitan areas and households in the southern region of the United St ates have significantly higher rates of food insecurity than households located in suburban areas or in other regions of the country. The following tables display block group level census data for the three neighborhoods and surrounding areas. The tables, drawn from th e 1999 U.S. Census study, include household demographic, economic, spatial, and transporta tion data that corres ponds with the household characteristics identified by the researchers. All of the households in the Lincoln Esta tes, Springhill, and North Lincoln Heights neighborhoods are within urbanized areas (Table 4-1). The census defines an urbanized area as a densely settled territory that c onsists of core census block gr oups or blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile and surrounding census blocks that
53 have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile. Additi onally, the North Lincoln Heights and Springhill neighborhood s lie between the original city boundaries from 1869 and a subsequent annexation in 1905. The Lincoln Estates neighborhood lies within an annexation from 1961. Thus, the three neighbo rhoods are within the metropo litan area and within the principal city core, a characteris tic researchers associate with higher rates of food insecurity. Regarding race, the data indicates that each Southeast Gainesville neighborhood has significantly higher concentrations of African-American households than the rest of the city (Table 4-2). The households surveyed in Bl ock Group 1 were 96% African-American. Block Group 2 was 87% and Block Group 3 was 86% African-American. However, citywide only 23% of households are African-American. Res earch found a positive co rrelation between high concentrations of African-American households and higher rates of food insecurity. Previous research has found higher rates of food insecurity in homes with a sing le male or female householder where children are present. Both Block Group 1 and Block Group 3 had significantly greater percentages of 2-ormore-person households than 1-pe rson households (Table 4-3). Out of these 2-or-more-person households, 72% of Block Group 1 and 67% of Bl ock Group 3 were categorized under the Other Family census category. This category is reserved for family households with either a husband with no wife present or a wife with no husband present. In both groups 1 and 3, single female householders outnumbered single male househ olders. In Block Group 1, 27% of male householders with no wife present had children under 18 living in the house. In female householders with no husband present, 41% had children under 18 living in the house. In Block Group 3, 57% of male householders with no wife present had children under 18 living in the
54 home. In female householders with no husband pr esent, 68% had children under 18 living in the house. Block Group 2 had a majority of single pe rson households. Out of 2-or-more-person households, only 43% were categorized as Other Fa mily. In the other family category, 46% of female householders with no husband present had children under 18 living in the home. There were no households headed by single men with child ren under 18 living in the home in this block group. With the exception of Block Group 3, the amount of single parent households with children was consistent with the City of Gainesville. Block Group 3 however, had higher percentages of single parent families with children than the city average, indicating that Block Group 3 may have a higher risk of food insecurity than the other study areas. In each of the three block group study areas, the median household income is below the median income for the City of Gainesville (T able 4-4). In Block Group 2 and Block Group 3, the median income is significantly lower than city wide median income. Additionally, according to the 2008 United States Department of Health and Human Services pove rty guidelines, both Block Group 2 and Block Group 3 are below the povert y threshold for a family of four (Table 45). A study, funded by the USDA Economic Resear ch Service Division, discovered that households with children receiv ing public assistance income in the form of food stamps had higher rates of food insecurity than eligible nonparticipating households (Gundersen, Craig, and Kreider, 2006). A higher percentage of hous eholds in Block Group 1 and Block Group 3 received public assistance income than the rest of the city (Table 4-6). In Block Group 2, no households received public assistance. Despite re ceiving public assistance, these households had
55 higher rates of food insecurity than households not receiving assistance. The researchers attributed the positive associa tion with several factors includ ing, self-selection, the timing of food insecurity versus food stamp receipt, misreporting of food insecurity status, and misreporting of food stamp receipt (Gundersen, Craig, and Kreider, 2006). Therefore, the higher rates of public assistance income receipt in Block Group 1 and Block Group 2 may not be an accurate indicator of food insecurity. Households receiving assistance cannot be assumed to be food secure. The Census Bureau determines a households poverty status by divi ding the total family income by national poverty thresholds. Poverty th resholds are expressed in dollar amounts and vary according to the size of the family and the ages of its members. The same poverty thresholds are used across the lower 48 states. A household is considered in poverty if their ratio of income to poverty is below 1.00. Households with ratios below 1.00 have an income deficit. Block Group 1, Block Group 2 and Block Group 3 have higher percentages of households in poverty than the national average (Table 4-7). Additionally, each block group has a significantly higher percentage of households in the 1.00-1.24 range than the national average. However, when compared to the City of Ga inesville averages, the data is le ss clear. Households with ratios of income to poverty of .50 or below were higher in the city than in the block groups. Block Group 1 had higher percentages of households with ratios between .50 1.00 than the rest of the city. Block Group 3 had a higher percentage of h ouseholds with ratios between .75 .99 than the city. Block Group 2 had a lower per centage of households in poverty than the rest of the City which may reflect the presence of several highe r income areas included in the block group boundaries.
56 Three study areas have greater percentages of households in poverty than the national poverty rate. Researchers identified this househol d characteristic with higher rates of food insecurity. Therefore, 34% of households in Block Group 1, 10% of households in Block Group 2, and 26% of households in Bloc k Group 3 are more likely to e xperience varying degrees of food insecurity. Additionally, the City of Gainesville had greater percenta ges of households in poverty than the national average. This fact could potential ly be ascribed to regional differences. USDA research found a positive correlation between food insecurity and the southern region of the United States. Households located in the South were more likely to experience food insecurity than in other more afflue nt regions of the country. Food Deserts The term food desert is a metaphor for the complex nexus of interlinkages between increasing health inequities, retail developm ent-induced differential access to food retail provision, compromised diets, undernutrition and social excl usion. (Wrigley, 2005, p.2032). In food deserts access to fresh produce has been comp romised by a combination of factors. These factors include, the siting of supermarkets, tr ansportation options, poverty levels, and nutrition education. Drawing on the poverty data from the previous section, this portion will focus primarily on supermarket siting and transportation statistics. In addition, e ach of these factors is addressed in the focus group data and will be di scussed in depth in a subsequent section. Transportation Options Reliable transportation is a cr itical com ponent of food access. Unreliable or non-existent public or private transportation severely restrict s access to fresh produce. While the data in Table 4-8 contains travel information for work relate d trips, it is reasonable to assume a connection between means of transportation used in work trips and trips used for personal shopping.
57 Personal vehicle use for Block Group 1, Block Group 2, and Block Group 3 is roughly comparable with the rest of the city (Table 4-8). In Bl ock Group 1 and Block Group 2, the percentage of respondents who drove alone to work was also comparable with the rest of the city. However, this was not the case in Bloc k Group 1 where only 52% of respondents drove to work alone. Out of the households surveyed, 48% of respondents carpoole d to work. This may indicate that households in Bl ock Group 1 own fewer personal ve hicles than the other block groups or the rest of the c ity. Block Group 3 has a significa ntly higher rate of public transportation usage for work trips compared to the city average. Out of the various public transportation options, bus use constituted 88% of work trips and taxi use 12%. Other forms of transportation included bicycling and walking. The percentages for these forms of transportation were roughly equal or below the average for the entire City of Gainesville. It is difficult to draw any clear conclusions from this data. The conflicting data corresponds with what Federal Highway Ad ministration researchers Mura kami and Young uncovered. Their research found that 26% of low-income households do not own a car. Despite this statistic, lowincome households still make a majority of thei r trips by car, often rely ing on rides from friends and family (Murakami and Young, 1997). The hi gh percentage of carpooling in Block Group 1 seems to corroborate what the researchers f ound. However, carpooling rates for Block Group 2 and Block Group 3 are only moderately higher than the rest of the city. Sporadic or no access to a personal vehicle forces low-income households to be more dependent on public transportation and walking. Block Group 3 has a higher rate of public transp ortation use than the re st of the city. While bus usage rates in Block Group 3 are lower than the city average, this is likely due to the large amount of student ridership skewi ng the data. Clearly, bus transpor tation is an important travel
58 means in this block group, however, in the other block groups public tran sportation use is below the city average. Additional focus group data in subsequent sections will help further explain these statistics. Supermarket Siting Typically three tim es as many supermarke ts per capita are found in middle and highincome neighborhoods than are found in low-in come neighborhoods (Cotterill and Franklin, 1995). This fact, coupled with other difficu lties faced by low-income households, including lower rates of personal vehicle ownership and poor public transportation connections to suburban supermarkets, represents a significant inequ ity in access to fresh pr oduce between wealthier suburban households and less affluent hous eholds in the central city area. Mapping supermarkets in Southeast Gainesvi lle and the surrounding area reveals only one full service supermarket located in this part of town (Figure 4-5). Winn-Dixie and the AK Food Mart are located on South Main St reet outside of the Southeast Gainesville quadrant. The other supermarket mentioned in the focus group, the Publix at North Main Street is located outside of Southeast Gainesville. Several convenience and beverage stores are lo cated in Southeast Gainesville (Figure 4-6). Convenience stores often do not carry fresh produce and instead stock more shelf-stable, processed foods that are higher in calories and fat.1 With convenience stores outnumbering supermarkets 13 to 1, inequities clearly exist w ith regard to supermarket siting in Southeast Gainesville. A subsequent secti on will draw on focus group responses to further corroborate this analysis. 1 According to a Google business search of the Yellow pa ges, there are 13 establishm ents listed as convenience stores located in the Southeast Gainesville quadrant.
59 Major Themes This section explores the range of them es and statements presented by the focus group data. The responses are organize d within three major themes. Th ese themes correspond with the overall organization of the focus group script. The three major themes are: 1. Attitudes and beliefs concerning the quality of fresh produce choices offered by retail establishments located in Southeast Gainesville; 2. Attitudes and beliefs concerning the influence of spatial, political, institutional, and economic factors on the fresh produce choices o ffered in Southeast Gainesville; and 3. Suggestions for interventions designed to increase the availability of fresh produce in Southeast Gainesville Throughout this chapter, the three focus groups are identifie d as Focus Group A, Focus Group B, and Focus Group C. Attitudes About Fresh Produce in Southeast Gainesville To exam ine the theme of choice, participants were asked a series of questions gauging their general shopping preferences when selecting fr esh produce. The partic ipants were asked to describe the qualities they look for when they buy fresh produce, including, freshness, taste, variety, packaging, quantity, pr ice, and visual appeal. Overwhelmingly, focus group members cited visual appeal as a critical factor in selecting produce. As one respondent explained, How its di splayed is important, it should be attractive and dont have the bugs flying around it. It (pro duce) can look good but if theres something rotten next to it, it can get tiny bugs. So the disp lay should be attractive, but I also want to know that the surrounding is clean too. Several participants said that the arrangement of the produce
60 displays influenced their shopping decisions. For one part icipant, visual app eal meant that the produce had good color and a natural look. Roughly half of the members of each group noted the importance of produce freshness. While freshness has different c onnotations, it generally referred to produce that was free of blemishes, crisp, and had a shelf life of at least a few days. Several respondents recounted their experiences buying produce. On e woman summarized these experi ences in describing a recent trip to purchase potatoes, Im looking for fr eshness. You know a lot of times you might pick them up when your in a hurry and then you get ho me theres a brown spot on it or when you cut it, the middle is brown, and you want to use it and you get upset, then you got to go back or either go to another store to get it. A minority in each group stated that price pl ayed a significant factor in their produce choices. In each focus group, produc e prices in Southeast Gainesville markets were generally seen as being comparable with produce prices in other market s in Gainesville. Produce size, quantity, variety, packaging, and relative quality all factor into the pr ice of produce. Price discussions in each group quickly involved these determining factors. One woman explained, I shop around, I look for the best price and quality. Publix fruits are always the best quality, but you might have to pay a little more. I dont shop at Publix all the time cause you can get the same things at Wards for cheaper. Another resp ondent stressed her purch ases were influenced by multiple factors including being a single woman. Shopping for one person meant for her, quantity and packaging was a cri tical factor. She preferred to purchase smaller packages of produce. However, she explained that smaller pack ages were harder to come by and often excess produce from the larger packages go es bad before she can use it.
61 In each group, at least one participant stated that they look for produce that is grown locally. Produce origin was not a theme listed fo r discussion in the focus group script, and the participants statements were spontaneously given without prompting from the moderator. One respondent explained, I always l ook for my fruits and vegetables to be grown locally or in the United States. I prefer fruits and vegetables grown in the United States. I dont buy anything from out of the U.S. Several respondents in each group voiced their support of local farming and cited shopping at farmers markets and roadsi de stands. However, typically only one person per group explicitly stated that th e origin of the produce influen ced their purchasing choices. Impressions of Fresh Produce in Southeast Gainesville Stores After establishing and prioritizing the ge neral produce shopping preferences of the participan ts, the discussion proceeded with a series of questions designed to gauge the participants impressions of the fresh produce availa ble in retail stores in Southeast Gainesville. The questions drew from the previous responses regarding freshness, taste, variety, packaging, quantity, price, and visual appeal of Southeast Gainesville produce. The researcher prefaced this series of questions with a discussion of where the participants shopped for the majority of their fresh produ ce. Respondents clearly found it important to discuss where they shopped regularly prior to making any subsequent statements. Discussion centered on the produce offered by specific stores where the pa rticipants shopped regularly. Respondents primarily shopped at four grocery st ores, including Food Lion located on Southeast Hawthorne Road, Winn Dixie located on South Main Street, Wards Supermarket located on Northwest 23rd Avenue, and Publix located on North Main Street. Of all these, Food Lion is the only full service grocery store lo cated in Southeast Gainesville. A minority of participants in each group shopped at a number of secondary lo cations. These locations included Publix on Northwest 43rd Street, The Fresh Market located on Northwest 16th Avenue, and Westcoast
62 Seafood, Meats and Produce locate d on Northeast Waldo Road. Ma ny of the participants who shopped at the secondary locations cited the stores proximity to their place of employment as a major factor affecting their patronage. Each group approached this series of questions slightly differently, and it is important to highlight how each group organized their disc ussions. Focus Group A, the largest focus group, began their initial discussion by creating a scale between 1 and 10 in orde r to rank the various stores selling produce in thei r area. One respondent offered to give Food Lion a 1 ranking complaining that they dont ha ve a good variety and when you go in and look at the fruits a lot of them are rotten or starting to rot. An overwhelming majority of participants in Focus Group A agreed with the respondents statement and the poor ranking. One respondent agreed adding, the produce doesnt look appealin g; he then paused and conti nued by saying, it just needs a lot of work at Food Lion. Westcoast Seafood, Meats and Produce received a ranking of 1 from another respondent. Again, an overwhelming majo rity of the focus group agreed with the ranking. One participant in terjected, Id give them a zero. The participant continued by saying, I shouldnt say that cause I still go there about once a week. Discussion moved onto other topics and the ranking system was abandoned. Focus Group Bs discussion began by emphasizing how certain desirable produce items, namely fresh collard, mustard, and turnip greens were usually difficult to find in Southeast Gainesville stores. One responde nt explained, theres not enough selection in Southeast Gainesville. I love greens but a lot of times it dont be time for the greens, and I dont like buying the canned greens, which I can fix them g ood, but Id rather have the fresh greens. Another woman quickly agreed expanding on the previous statement, you have to go so far looking for greens in other stores in Southeast, you have to go away a ways, you have to go to
63 Wards. Another respondent, sharing a similar s hopping experience, explained I used to go to Hitchcocks Foodway in Alachua for greens, when I used to work out there on Fridays. But look how far I had to go, and if I didnt happen to ha ve a job out there, I would have never have gotten any greens. The availability of greens fo r purchase was an issue of critical concern and agreement for Focus Group B. Discussion progressed and began to focus on individual stores where the participants did most of their shopping. One woman stated, I do a lot of my shopping at Publix on Main Street. Publix is a good, nice, clean st ore. You know it when you walk in, its different, its in the atmosphere. Other participants around the ta ble echoed her statement. Indeed, in several discussions in each group, multiple respondents would agree that Publix is the cleanest and best maintained grocery venue in Gainesville. Departing from the responses given by Fo cus Group A, Focus Group B viewed the produce choices at Food Lion favorably. One re spondent stated, Food Lion is good for fruits and vegetables. Another responde nt agreed and added, its fine store for me, I dont have a problem. They throw pretty good sales. The pr evious statements reflected the general impressions of Food Lion from Focus Group B members. However, there was unanimous agreement when a third respondent explained, I go to Food Lion, but Food Lion is the only store in the Southeast. I call it a one-horse town. Its a place where you kinda just run in and out. The respondent continued by explaining why she shops primarily at Publix. Another thing too, you go to Publix, and you go to Food Lion, and you got more selection at Publix then you do at Food Lion. At Food Lion, all Ive gotta do is drive up and its really close, but the selection is bad.
64 During this portion of the focus group one re spondent from Focus Group B raised an unexpected issue. The group had been discussi ng problems finding certain types of produce including good tasting sweet potatoes. The respo ndent, an older woman, explained that, people dont do sweet potatoes like they used to, they used to take sweet potatoes, before they took them to the market, they used to take them and put th em out in the croker sack and let them dry and let the sugar come out of them. Another responde nt agreed, adding that she remembered her parents laying out sweet potatoes to dry before they were eaten. A majority of the group was aware of this practice and agreed that it was impossible to find sw eet potatoes processed this way from any store. Discussion in Focus Group C centered around tw o active participants with diverging opinions. Their disagreement helped to bring seve ral critical issues to the fore. The remaining focus group members were roughly split between th e viewpoints of the two vocal participants. This portion of the focus group began with one respondent offering her imp ressions of Southeast Gainesville produce. Well I guess, for me it depends on where I shop. My personal opinion is there is not a large selection in Southeast Gaines ville for shopping at all. You only have a couple of grocery stores. I shop 99% of the time at Winn Dixie over here on South Main Street. Because its close, I live right here in this community in Lincoln Estates so its close. I dont care for Food Lion because I dont think the store is cl ean and I dont shop at Publix for personal reasons, mainly because Publix wont put a store in East Gainesville. Another respondent disagreed statin g, I think its (Publix) fine, it s a good selection, might not be the store you want to go to. But the vegetables are there. Im saying the availability of vegetables is there but it might be yo ur personal choice to not shop there. Discussion moved on to more general impr essions of Southeast produce choices. One participant shared her experien ces shopping at Winn Dixie. I found at Winn Dixie, there are times when you can go in there and there is a larg e variety and its fresh, which tells me that its
65 usually just arrived, but theres also times that Ive gone in ther e, and you know, maybe the truck hasnt arrived, and your choices are limited what you can get. She continued by explaining how she has been in the process of changing her diet to eat healthier, includi ng consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables and as a result, she is impacted when she cannot find quality produce. Another participant, who genera lly felt that the produce choices were fine in the Southeast, admitted that, the only thing I have about buyi ng produce in Southeast is when they package them up, they have a tendency to put old, ripe stuff in the packages and you go home thinking youve got firm tomatoes, and you find theyve got some bad spots on them. And a lot of stores do that. Promotion of Healthy Food Focus group participants were asked whether healthy food wa s prom oted in stores in Southeast Gainesville. Each group interpreted the words healthy food to mean fresh fruits and vegetables and promotion to mean nutritiona l information displays, handouts, and sales. Members from each group unanimously believed that healthy food promoti on was lacking in the stores of Southeast Gainesville. Members from Focus Group A responded with a resounding and unanimous No! They dont disp lay nutritional information and the stores dont encourage good eating, explained a participant from Focu s Group A. One participant from Focus Group C examined the difference in the availability of nutritional information between fresh produce and packaged foods. If you pick up a package, you ca n read the label, you can see the carbs, you can see the sodium, you can see the sugars, you can see al l the preservatives or whatevers in there. But when you go to the fruit and vegetables, its just there. You know, theres nothing that tells you the nutritional information. I know some stores do but 99% of my shopping is done at Winn Dixie here and theres not a lot there.
66 After this question, respondent s were asked if, in their op inion, providing nutritional information and promoting healthier foods would have an impact in the amount of fruits and vegetables they or their friends and family purchase. While each group unanimously believed that healthier eating is not being properly enc ouraged in Southeast stores, opinions were mixed in each group as to what impact improving info rmational displays would have in residents purchasing habits. I think if pe ople knew the value of eating good fr uits and vegetables, if that was displayed more, then people would eat more, because like I read books or pamphlets or what not and find out whats good for you. Another res pondent explained, I agr ee that if, just like we shop for clothing, personal appeal means a lot, and if the price and the physical appearance was there and if the nutritional information was ther e, I too agree it would help in making better choices and it would even encourage people to tr y things they dont normally try. A respondent from another group argued that additional nu tritional information would positively impact residents with special diet needs. Without a doubt. Number one, especially if it was someone dieting, you have so many people now that are on special diets because of some kind of illness like diabetes or whatever, and it would be helpful to them so they could figure out how much of this you can have, how much of that you can have. However, not every participant felt that nutritional information and healthy eating promotions would make a difference in what they or their neighbors pur chased at the grocery store. No, I dont think it would make a big diffe rence because were living in a microwave age now, where people want something right quick like and get on the roa d. You dont have people cooking like they used to, like c ooking supper used to take two to three hours in letting the food cook. We live in a microwave age now. This attitude was echoed in the other groups as well. Age and a corresponding change in younger peoples relationship with food were at the heart of
67 the issue. One participant stated that nutritiona l information was important for some but not for others. Maybe for older people, but younger pe ople wont take a minute to read it. This comment was received with unanimous approva l and was followed by another respondent who explained that she would read th e nutritional information but her kids probably would not. If it looks good to them they just grab it. Participants had several suggestions for disp laying nutritional information and promoting healthier eating. If they would ha ve little pamphlets on different kinds of fruit or vegetables, maybe weekly, with the valu e you would get from eating them, I think people would be interested, I know I would. Publix puts out recipes using differe nt vegetables too. Another participant explained how a televi sion cooking show helped her to change her diet. What really got me started on this was the Food Network and there was a particular show that showed how to cook healthier and eat healthie r, and one of the things they showed you was how to take fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and use them to eat healthie r, so that got me started. Other participants shared similar experiences watching and be ing inspired by cooking programs focused on healthier eating. Underlying Factors Shaping Southeast Produce Choices After developing an overall picture of the fresh produce options in Southeast Gainesville and establishing a list of specific issues raised by the focus group participants, discussion shifted to uncovering the underlying economic, social, politic al, and spatial factors that have shaped the contours of fresh produce in Southeast Gainesville. Participants were asked in which quadrant of Gainesville (NE, NW, SE, SW) could the fres hest and highest quality produce be found. Unanimously, participants from every group stated that the Northwest quadrant had the best and freshest produce. Some particip ants cited specific stores, such as Wards Supermarket on NW 23rd Avenue and Publix on NW 43rd Street. Southeast Gainesville was ranked last by an
68 overwhelming majority of participants from each group. One participant summarized the group attitude explaining, I think for me if I had to make one trip an d say I wanted the best produce, and I didnt want to shop around and compare, and I just wanted to make this one trip cause I got to get it now, then I would go No rthwest, no doubt about it. I woul dnt even stop in Northeast or Southeast Gainesville cause I dont have time to shop. A participant in another group also echoed this statement. If I just have to have so mething like a fruit platte r for tonight, and I want the very best, Im not going to stop in NE or SE cause I dont want to take the chance that it might be there or it might not be there. Participants were then asked why the Southeas t was not at the top of the list and were encouraged to brainstorm ideas. Economic f actors and a negative perception of Southeast Gainesville were concurrent themes identified by each focus group as the most critical factors influencing produce choices in Southeast Gainesvill e. Citing competition from other stores in the Northwest, one participant explai ned, Its survival; its business; youve gotta have the volume, if you dont have the volume you can t produce the best. This sen timent was echoed in the other focus groups as well. A majority from each grou p felt that Southeast stores do not attract enough shoppers to invest in better facilities and improve the quality of their offerings. Income and price was also a major economic factor discussed in each group. A lot of it has to do with the median income or the aver age income for these areas. A lot of the more expensive fruit and vegetables or the better ones, because where produce is likely to be better, there is likely to be more of it, and where some persons may not have a problem paying, I dont know, more, 15 or 20 cents a pound more for a fruit or a vegetable, for a lo t of people thats a problem. Other participants agreed that the average household income was major element in food stores deciding to not locate in the Southeast. I think it ha s a lot to do with the market, the
69 income in East Gainesville is about half what it is in Northwest Gainesville and anybody looking to survive in a business, theyl l look at the income of the area. Regardless of what it is, if you dont have the money, you cant spend it. Another participant argued that while a wi de range of incomes exists in Southeast Gainesville, any efforts to improve produce choices should be aimed at the average income range of the area. However, another respondent argued that income is only one factor influencing food choices offered by Southeast stores. Stores go by demographics stuff, they cater to what people in that area are going to buy or want. You walk in Food Lion, theres a reason why you see the gum and candy and tobacco products first because, unfortunately thats what a lot of people over here buy. Participants also identified other economic challenges shaping Southeast produce options. One participant asserted that people know that Southeast busine sses pay more for insurance for their businesses than any place else in town. The insurance rates are much much higher for business on this side of town. Other participan ts agreed unanimously with this statement. One participant cited the preval ence of panhandling outside of se veral of the food stores in Southeast Gainesville. She argue d that panhandlers were a prim ary reason why businesses were reluctant to make investments in Southeast Ga inesville. Several participants agreed that panhandling was a problem but were unsure of it s impact on investment in the Southeast. Another participant in Focus Group C disagreed that panhandling was a major problem, sparking a discussion of the role of percep tion in Southeast development. Shopping loyalty was another issu e raised during this segment of the focus groups. Several participants in each group explained that store loyalty influenced where they shopped and that their preference for shopping for produce in South east Gainesville was motiv ated by a desire to
70 keep their money inside of their community. I shop in Southeast because Im trying to keep the business here. Another particip ant agreed, explaining that th ey shop in Southeast despite knowing that better produce can be found outsi de of their immediate community. Because Publix wont put a store in East Gainesville, I dont feel like, you know spending my money in Publix. So that pretty much limits my choices to Winn Dixie. And I try not to spend my money in West Gainesville, because I dont live there and I try to keep my money in East Gainesville. Another respondent recently moved her prescription from a store in Northwest Gainesville to the Walgreens on Waldo Road explaining, whatever lit tle bit Ive got to take and have to spend, it will be in East Gainesville. Cause I want my money to stay here. This theme was observed in each focus group with subtle variations. Thus, several participants from each group were shopping in Southeast Gainesville for reason s other than the quality of produce. Transportation Participan ts were asked how accessible markets were in Southeast Gainesville. Generally, participants stated that food re tail stores were in close proxim ity to their homes. However, participants unanimously agreed that shopping fo r produce and other grocer ies without the use of a personal vehicle was very difficult. I wonder a lot of times people dont buy a lot of what they need because they gotta go way across town on a bus. Even the jobs, they gotta go way across town, and theyve got these little minimum wages, and by the time they pay bus fare or gas then its better to stay on your side of town. Other participants ag reed, pointing out that carrying multiple bags of groceries on a bus is challengi ng for a single person. One participant shared a personal story of waiting an hour for the bus w ith groceries after her car had broken down. Another participant explained the difficulties with walking to the supermarket. You can get to it by bus, but you sure cant go walking unless you really want to go wa lk that day. We can walk it,
71 its not that its out of sight, but youve got to want to walk it. And howre you gonna bring your stuff back? Negative Perception Negative pe rception of Southeast Gainesville and its impact was the single most important issue raised in each group. A significant am ount of time was spent discussing the relative importance perception played in shaping the produ ce choices and the overal l economic vitality of Southeast Gainesville. Its the perception of East Gainesville, that its higher in crime then any other section of Gainesville which we all know is not true. Bu t its the perception, no persons gonna spend their hard earned money to put up a nice establishment over here when its gonna end up looking like the parking lot of that Food Li on. Lets just be for re al. Following this theme another participant explained w hy she refuses to shop at Publix. Ive lived in Gainesville all my life and East Gainesville has been neglected. One of the reasons why I do not shop at Publix is because years ago, there was an article about Publix in the newspaper, and Publix stated that Ea st Gainesville was not conducive to the image that they wanted to project for their store. And that is why I do not shop in Publix. The participant conti nues, explaining: East Gainesville has been neglected, and the pe rception is that East Gainesville is the quote unquote bad side of town and you get a lot of this information from people who dont live in East Gainesville who have never been on th is (east) side of Un iversity Avenue, who does not know about East Gainesville, who doe s not know and apprecia te the fact that you have hard working citizens over here that pay their taxes, you know just like anybody else. So my personal opinion is the reason why that there are not more food stores in East Gainesville is because its been neglected. Youve had officials and politicians and whoever, who has played lip service to this for years, but they have not done what has needed to be done to brin g industry including supermarkets to east Ga inesville. However, as another participant from Focus Gr oup A pointed out, negative perception can also come from within the communit y. If you would put one of the best food markets out here in Southeast, youd have to get a special progr am to reprogram people to start shopping here because of the perception that if its in SE Gaines ville, they think its bad. We know that better
72 produce can be found other places, and its gonna be hard to convince people to change their habits. One issue that encompassed a great deal of discussion concerning perception was the opening of the new Walmart Superstore on No rth Waldo Road. The new Walmart store was viewed favorably by a unanimous majority of fo cus group participants. Several participants in each group viewed Walmart as a catalyst for cha nge in Southeast Gainesville. This Food Lion will die when Walmart opens up. They will either have to come up to standards and come up with the same kind of produce that Walmarts doing or they are going to di e. Other participants believed Walmart would improve the shopping oppor tunities for Southeast residents to a point. For instance, if you want to buy a pair of s hoes, you gotta go to the mall and if you wanna decent pair of drawers, you gotta go to the mall. So Im just saying, you know you can go to Walmart but you aint buying the same brand th at youre buying in Belks or Macys. Youre really not buying the same quality. When you wa nt quality youve gotta go to the Northwest, thats it. So if I wanna go shopping, Ive gotta go across 13th Street and keep going. Still others were cautious that Walmart would be viewed as a panacea for problems in Southeast Gainesville. The new Walmart coming is gonna be good, but my personal feeling is that the way that it is touted is, you know, were bringing a Super Walmar t to East Gainesville. Well Super Walmart is not the be-all and save-all to East Gainesville. Its not going to take care of all the issues in East Gainesville. Within a wider context, participants believe d that the negative perceptions of Southeast Gainesville were due in part to a real inequality in resources between the east and the west of Gainesville. Local politicians and the City and County Commissions were at the center of the discussion. As one participant ar gued, My opinion is that, South east Gainesville has not been
73 promoted the way it should be, plus the fact th at the interstate came th rough West Gainesville. Everything went west and nothing came east. So of course with the interstate and the mall out west, businesses began to locate over there, but nobody came this way. Many participants felt that these disparities could be traced back to the City and County Commissions. Thats what Im saying, if they fill the Northwest up, they f eel like theyve just done everything, and they dont need to do anything else. You all over here in the Southeas t dont need nothing. If you want what we got, come over here and get it. That s how they feel. Get in your car, and come get it. Other participants believed that local governme nts had influence outside of the context of the City or County Commission. I don t think Southeast stores are he ld to the same standard as other stores in Gainesville. I don t think the inspectors are the sa me, theyre the ones that makes a difference. You walk in Food Lion, you got chewing gum blots all over the place, you got grease walking in. But you walk in any store out there in the Northwest, its been power-washed. Thats an inspector making them do that. Thats the government. Other pa rticipants argued that the problems with the lo cal governments were an indication of a larger ideological divide. You have a community of people in this town who does nt want a whole lot of industry in Gainesville anyway. They want to keep Gainesville the nice little college, wrap your arms around it town. But for the people who have to live here all the time, who have to work here, you know, who have to make a living, pay a mortgage and rais e their children, that doesnt work for us. Solutions For the final portion of the focus group, particip ants were asked to brainstorm ways to increase access to high-quality fresh fruits a nd vegetables in their immediate community. The responses included farmers markets, community supported agriculture agreements, government programs, healthy eating education, and community gardens. Overa ll there was a high degree of
74 consensus concerning farmers markets amongst a ll three groups. Additionally, each focus group suggested at least one idea not thought of by the other groups. Farmers Markets Farm ers markets were easily the most popular solutions suggested by each group. An overwhelming majority of partic ipants believed that a farmers market located in East Gainesville would have a significant impact on the availability of fresh produce in Southeast Gainesville. One participant encapsulated the unanim ous support for an Eastside farmers market by exclaiming that, there are so many people that are not sitting right here in this room, that would use the farmers market. Another par ticipant from a different group touched on the benefit a farmers market would have to local farmers. You know what would be like a miracle? If you had everyone bringing in what they grow, li ke what they do at the farmers market, people bring different things, different farmers bring in fresh vegetables Intriguingly, the participant was also referring to local resi dents growing and selling produc e in the farmers market she envisioned. The location and the hours of operation prove d to be the biggest point of discussion concerning an Eastside farmers market. One pa rticipant expressed her frustrations with the existing farmers markets in the Gainesville ar ea. Except for the Downtown Farmers Market, there is no farmers market in East Gainesville. Th ats it, and that farmers market is during the week when most people work. So youre either going to go to the Waldo Flea Market Farmers Market or to the market by the highway patrol station, but that market opens at like 7 and its done by 9. If youre not there when it opens, th ats it. Other common issues were raised concerning the existing farmers market options. The nearest farmers market is downtown and there is no place to park. Adding to these issues, several participants observed that farmers
75 markets are usually only open once per week, ther efore limiting when individuals could purchase produce. Participants were asked to br ainstorm suitable locations for an Eastside farmers market. Several specific locations and broader areas were suggested as possible locations. Summarizing the group reaction, one part icipant explained, I think maybe if some farmers markets were brought over here, you know strategically, like have one in Northeast Gainesville, and one over here in the Southeast, and one over in the Sugarhill area. Then people would have more opportunity to take advantage of that. I would love to go to the farmers market but its downtown and I work Monday thru Friday 9:00-5: 30. So I have no access to that at all. Government Interventions A few participants from each group suggested different ways local governments could get involved to increase access to fresh produce in th eir community. One participant shared her knowledge of the local Senior Farmers Market Nutritional Program (SFMNP) vouchers and suggested ways to expand their impact. What th ey do with the elderly, they give them coupons to be able to go and shop at the farmers mark ets, the ones who dont have money. I think thats a good idea, but its only for a certain period of ti me. I think maybe, if they were to give them out every three months or every quarter, that would encourage them to eat more vegetables. SFMNP vouchers are only available during the grow ing season. Typically, 6-8 months per year. Other participants believed that local government s could do more to facilitate more direct farm to consumer relationships. One participan t explained that it was common for farmers with excess produce to drive around S outheast Gainesville neighbor hoods selling produce from their trucks. This practice, she stat ed, was generally accepted in her neighborhood. She continued by sharing an experience she had with a local farmer and a code enforcement officer from the City of Gainesville.
76 I had an experience last summer, there was a ge ntleman, and I spoke to him, he used to be right here on Waldo Road on the corner by the Kangaroo Station. He used to be there with his truck. Well I stopped one day, and it just so happens, I dont know if it was someone from the Citys Code Enforcement or whoever it was, but anyway, they cited him and they gave him a citation. The lady up here at Westco ast said he was taking away her business. So maybe the City could make it easier for some of the farmers to come in and offer their vegetables seasonally. Several other participants had heard similar st ories of farmers being cited for selling excess produce. The same participant suggested how th e City could get involv ed and cited another experience she had while volunteering in her community. I remember when I was volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club, you could get a permit from the City, and with that permit, as long as you were on City property, you know you could se ll stuff. So maybe that could be an option, where the City makes it easier for farmers to get street permits to sell their produce. Healthy Eating Education Mem bers from Focus Group A agreed that hea lthy eating was a criti cally important issue in Southeast Gainesville. A majority of the part icipants believed that healthy eating education was an integral component in increasing access to fresh produce. I think that there are a lot of agencies, that we need to take advantage of more so, and depending on where you go theres always a pamphlet or hand-out. I went to one event today, there were two handouts on healthy vegetables, and one on the ten best things for your heart. We need more education. Lets use the other agencies and health programs that they have in this area. Churches would be a great place to start. Several other participants agreed addi ng their own ideas. Even in The Guardian, that paper comes to Southeast Gainesville. I want The Guardian to do more. Put a weekly article on healthy nutrition. Another pa rticipant responded by stating that The Guardian had a semiregular feature on health issues written by Vivian Filer, a retired nurse who resided in the Springhill neighborhood located in Southeast Gaines ville, but that the column primarily focused
77 on illness prevention. Several participants suggested having a regular article dedicated to healthy eating topics. Community Gardens Participants also offered community gardens as another idea. Cu rrently, the McRorie Community Garden is the only community garden lo ca ted in Southeast Gainesville. This garden is sponsored by the City of Gainesville and is managed by local residents. I know there have been discussions in the neighborhood meetings here about community garden s. I think that might be something people would be inte rested in. I know at one time, if Im not mistaken, there used to be one on the other side of the T.B. Mc Pherson Center. And I know there are a couple of places in the area over by Gainesville Regional U tilities, that little neighborhood there. Theyve had a community garden over there for quite so me time. Another participant argued that Southeast Gainesville had a long history of residents growing produce in their own gardens. Several participants knew a neighbor who had a gard en in their yard wher e they used to grow vegetables. Community Supported Agriculture Mem bers from each focus group were given a brief explanation of how a CSA agreement operates and were then asked whether or not they believed they or their neighbors would consider participating in this type of arrang ement. Responses were ge nerally positive however, after some discussion, members from Focu s Group A unanimously rejected the CSA arrangement. The primary issue raised by the part icipants from group A wa s choice. Participants felt that the CSA arrangement did not offer enough choice in what fruits and vegetables they received each week. Now see, Ive seen somethi ng like that, but for me and my lifestyle that doesnt fit. Some days it might be peas and greens, and I dont wanna cook peas and greens. Echoing this statement another pa rticipant explained, I like a good variety. Let me pick what I
78 want. A few participants expre ssed concerns that they would lo se money if the farm had a poor harvest. Responses from Focus Groups B and C were unanimously positive. Choice was not an issue for members from either group. Thats what God wants you to do, eat whats in season. Yeah, thats what he wants you to do. And you know what? Theres no overhead because theres no supermarket. Yes, I would buy. The moderator reiterated that a CSA arrangement entailed limitations on the members choice of produce. Summarizing the group opinion, one participant stated, It would make no difference with me, cause I like to cook it all. Squashes and cucumbers dont all grow at the same time. One respondent conditioned her support of a CSA arrangement on the size of the participating farm. She ques tioned whether the CSA arrangement typically involved large farms. The moderator responded by explaining that the farm needed to be big enough to support the members partic ipating in the CSA. The part icipant expressed her concern with a partnership with a large farm. Doesnt that leave out the li ttle guys? I would like to partne r with the smaller farms, because the big guys they can take their stu ff to Wards. Wards pay them so much and Wards probably has their own land where they gr ow their own vegetables, with people to harvest it and bring it in. But the little ma n, hes gotta go from door to door, going in the neighborhoods and trying to sell his stuff, so its really cuttin g the little man out. I want to make sure the little man can sell his vegetables too. Several other members agreed and expressed th eir preference for partnerships with smaller farms. The results from the Census data confirm that Southeast Gainesville and the North Lincoln Heights, Lincoln Estates, and Springhill neighborhoods display household and spatial characteristics associated with increased risk of food insecurity and difficulties accessing high quality supermarkets. Results from the focus groups confirmed that access to fresh produce is a critical issue in Southeast Gainesville and th e barriers to high quali ty produce generally
79 corresponded with the political, economic, inst itutional, and spatia l barriers found in the literature. The following chapter will build on these results with a discussion of the major findings from the quantitative and qualitative data.
80 Figure 4-1. Neighborhood groups a nd associations (City of Gainesville, 2008) Adapted from City of Gainesville. (2008). GIS Map Li brary. Gainesville, Fl. Retrieved on August 12th, 2008 from http://www.cityofgainesville.org/GOVE RNME NT/CityDepartmentsNZ/PlanningDep artment/MapLibrary/tabid/259/Default.aspx
81 Figure 4-2. Lincoln Estates neighborhood map (C ity of Gainesville, 2008) Reprinted with permission from City of Gainesvi lle. (2008). Participating Neighborhoods. Gainesville, Fl. Retrieved on August 12th, 2008 from http://www.cityofgainesville.org/GO VERNME NT/CityDepartmentsNZ/Neighborhoo dPlanning/ParticipatingNeighbor hoods/tabid/254/Default.aspx
82 Figure 4-3. Springhill ne ighborhood map (City of Gainesville, 2008) Reprinted with permission from C ity of Gainesville. (2008) Participating Neighborhoods. Gainesville, Fl. Retrieved on August 12th, 2008 from http://www.cityofgainesville.org/GOVERNMENT/CityDe partm entsNZ/NeighborhoodPlanning/ParticipatingNeighborhoo ds/tabid/254/Default.aspx
83 Figure 4-4. North Lincoln Hei ghts neighborhood map (City of Gainesville, 2008) Reprinted with permission from City of Gainesv ille. (2008). Participating Neighborhoods. Gainesville, Fl. Retrieved on August 12th, 2008 from http://www.cityofgainesville.org/GO VERNME NT/CityDepartmentsNZ/Neighborhoo dPlanning/ParticipatingNeighbor hoods/tabid/254/Default.aspx
84 Figure 4-5. Full service supermarkets in Southe ast Gainesville and the surrounding areas. A)The Publix is denoted on the map by pushpin A. B) The Food Lion is denoted by pushpin B. C) Winn-Dixie Supermarket is denot ed by pushpin G pushpin. D) AK Food Mart is denoted by pushpin H. (Google Earth, 2008)
85 Figure 4-6. Convenience and be verage stores in southeast Gainesville (Google Earth, 2008)
86 Table 4-1. Southeast Gainesville urban and rural households (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) Block Group 1, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida North Lincoln Heights Block Group 2, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Springhill Block Group 3, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Lincoln Estates Gainesville city, Florida Total: 738 5432,58495,605 Urban: 738 5432,58494,451 Inside urbanized areas 738 5432,58494,451 Inside urban clusters 0 0 0 0 Rural: 0 0 0 1,154 Farm 0 0 0 0 Nonfarm 0 0 0 1,154
87 Table 4-2. Southeast Gainesville house hold race (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) Block Group 1, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida North Lincoln Heights Block Group 2, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Springhill Block Group 3, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Lincoln Estates Gainesville city, Florida Total: 738 5432,58495,605 White alone 4% 10% 12% 68% Black or African American alone 96% 87% 86% 23% American Indian and Alaska Native alone 0% 0% 0% 1% Asian alone 0% 0% 0% 5% Some other race alone 0% 3% 0% 1% Two or more races 0% 0% 2% 2%
88 Table 4-3. Southeast Gainesvill e household size by household type by presence of own children under 18 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) Block Group 1, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida North Lincoln Heights Block Group 2, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Springhill Block Group 3, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Lincoln Estates Gainesville city, Florida Total: 240 289 862 37,361 1-person household: 16% (38) 57% (165)19% (165)33% (12,217) Male householder 66% (25) 31% (51)30% (50)45% (5,450) Female householder 34% (13) 69% (114)70% (115)55% (6,767) 2-or-more-person household: 84% (202) 43% (124)81% (697)67% (25,144) Family households: 96% (194) 73% (90)96% (672)74% (18,526) Married-couple family: 28% (55) 57% (51)33% (221)67% (12,427) With own children under 18 years 18% (10) 59% (30)40% (89)42% (5,184) No own children under 18 years 82% (45) 41% (21)60% (132)58% (7,243) Other family: 72% (139) 43% (39)67% (451)33% (6,099) Male householder, no wife present: 37% (52) 33% (13)24% (108)19% (1,182) With own children under 18 years 27% (14) 0% (0)57% (62)42% (493) No own children under 18 years 73% (38) 100% (13)43% (46)58% (689) Female householder, no husband present: 63% (87) 67% (26)76% (343)81% (4,917) With own children under 18 years 41% (36) 46% (12)68% (232)59% (2,910) No own children under 18 years 59% (51) 54% (14)32% (111)41% (2,007) Nonfamily households: 4% (8) 27% (34) 4% (25)26% (6,618) Male householder 100% (8) 100% (34)80% (20)54% (3,596) Female householder 0% (0) 0% (0) 20% (5)46% (3,022)
89 Table 4-4. Southeast Gainesville median house hold income in 1999 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) Block Group 1, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida North Lincoln Heights Block Group 2, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Springhill Block Group 3, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Lincoln Estates Gainesville city, Florida Median household income in 1999 25,833 20,91920,69428,164
90 Table 4-5. 2008 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pove rty thresholds (HHS, 2008) Persons in family or household 48 contiguous states and D.C(in $). 1 10,400 2 14,000 3 17,600 4 21,200 5 24,800 6 28,400 7 32,000 8 35,600 For each additional person, add 3,600
91 Table 4-6. Southeast Gainesvill e public Assistance income in 1999 for households (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) Block Group 1, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida North Lincoln Heights Block Group 2, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Springhill Block Group 3, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Lincoln Estates Gainesville city, Florida Total: 240 289 86237,361 With public assistance income 11% 0 15% 3% No public assistance income 89% 100% 85% 97%
92 Table 4-7. Southeast Gainesvill e ratio of income in 1999 to pove rty level (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) United States Block Group 1, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida North Lincoln Heights Block Group 2, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Springhill Block Group 3, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Lincoln Estates Gainesville city, Florida Total: 273,882,232 7385432,555 84,511 Under .50 6% 12%7%12% 16% .50 to .74 3% 9%3%5% 6% .75 to .99 4% 13%0%9% 5% 1.00 to 1.24 4% 10%16%14% 6% 1.25 to 1.49 4% 7%13%11% 6% 1.50 to 1.74 4% 8%2%3% 4% 1.75 to 1.84 2% 1%0%1% 1% 1.85 to 1.99 3% 1%0%8% 2% 2.00 and over 70% 39%59%37% 54%
93 Table 4-8. Southeast Gainesvill e means of transportation to wo rk for workers 16 years and over (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) Block Group 1, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida North Lincoln Heights Block Group 2, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Springhill Block Group 3, Census Tract 7, Alachua County, Florida Lincoln Estates Gainesville city, Florida Total: 257 199 88043,060 Car, truck, or van: 79% 93% 85% 82% Drove alone 52% 81% 79% 85% Carpooled 48% 19% 21% 15% Public transportation: 0% 0% 11% 3% Bus or trolley bus 0% 0% 88% 97% Railroad 0% 0% 0% 1% Ferryboat 0% 0% 0% 1% Taxicab 0% 0% 12% 1% Motorcycle 0% 0% 0% 0% Bicycle 4% 7% 1% 5% Walked 4% 0% 2% 6% Other means 0% 0% 0% 1% Worked at home 13% 0% 1% 3%
94 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Key Implications and Questions This thes is uncovers the multitude of barri ers limiting access to fresh produce for lowincome households and compares the results with findings from focus groups and statistical data drawn from three neighborhoods located in Sout heast Gainesville. A related and secondary purpose here explores the feasibility of applying direct marketing and other alternative strategies to help alleviate produce access issues in Southeast Gainesville. A final verdict cannot yet be offered on whether a food desert exists in Southeast Gainesville. However, several key implications have emerged over the course of th is research that confir m the importance of food access in Southeast Gainesville, expose the multi ple barriers to limiting this access, and support the use of direct marketing strate gies to overcome these barriers. Additionally, a list of questions is offered to guide policymakers evaluating acces s barriers to fresh produce for a given area. Finally, a number of interventi on strategies are offered for planning agencies interested in improving food access in the local community. Key Implications Implica tion 1: Access to Fresh Produce is a Significant Issue for So utheast Gainesville Before the start of this research, it was unknown whether access to fresh produce was an important issue to Southeast residents. Statisti cal data and focus group re sponses clearly indicate that many residents consider fresh produce access a critical issue in Southeast Gainesville. Anecdotally, many focus group partic ipants lingered after their groups had concluded to continue discussing fresh produce issues faci ng Southeast Gainesville. Several participants approached the researcher to express their desire that more re search and attention be focused on this issue.
95 Implication 2: Shopping Preferences, Purchasing Behavior, and Supermarket Characteristics Produce shopping patterns and preferences can be understood both in terms of what types of produce individuals prefer to buy as well as the quantity, quality, retail market characteristics, and price point at which the pr oduce becomes desirable. While th e patterns and preferences may vary according to race, income, and region, a recent study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that desire for fresh produce is indifferent to these factors (Herman, Harrison, and Jenks, 2006). In their study the re searchers monitored a group of low-income women who had been provided an economic suppl ement for fresh fruits and vegetables. The women had a 90% voucher redempti on rate and purchased a wide variety of produce (Herman, Harrison, and Jenks, 2006). Focus group data indicates that the visual appeal and the fres hness of produce was the highest priority for respondents. Visual appeal meant that the produce was free of blemishes and the display and surroundings were well kept and clean. Freshness referred to produce that was healthy looking, free of insects, a nd had a shelf life of at least se veral days. Several participants from each focus group echoed a common theme and shared stories of purchasing produce at certain area markets only to have the produce go bad in a day. The price of produce was not a significan t factor influencing shopping preferences according to focus group data. A minority of respondents in each group cited price as an important issue. This fact may corroborate prev ious findings in the l iterature. Leibtag and Kaufman (2003) discovered that low-income households economize food choices using a number of strategies. These strategies includ e, purchasing a greater amount of discounted products, purchasing more private label or ge neric products, buying larger volume packaging, and purchasing a less expensive product in a product class (Leibtag and Kaufman, 2003).
96 Finally, the researchers argue that while price differences are influenced by freshness, convenience, and taste, differen ces in price are also influen ced by nutritional quality and fat content (Leibtag and Kaufman, 2003). Focus group respondents generally believed that produce prices in S outheast markets were roughly comparable with other stores in Gainesvi lle. However, an overwhelming majority felt that Southeast stores had a lower quality of produce when compared to the same stores. Several respondents in each group explained that in or der to maximize their food budget, they would shop around at different st ores to find the most advantageous combination of price, quality, and quantity. Several participants observed that So utheast stores had more discounted sales and managers specials than other area establishmen ts. However, no indication exists that the participants regularly purchased discounted pr oduce. Additionally, no indication exists that participants purchased private la bel produce or bulk items. Several of the discrepancies between Leibtag and Kaufmans findings and the focus group data may be attributed to inherent differences between produce and the products referred to in the pr evious study. Generally, produce is not sold in bulk packages unless it has been marked down and consolidated. Additionally, produce is not generally sold under priv ate label or generic brands. Thus, not all of the economizing strategies found in the resear ch apply to produce purchasing decisions. Produce processing was another issu e raised in the focus group data that was absent in the literature. Several participants discussed how traditional sweet potato preparation had disappeared over the years. Participants reca lled how stores would routinely allow sweet potatoes to dry in the sun, thus sweetening a nd concentrating their flavor. This change in processing they argued diminished the desirability of this produce and influenced their decisions to purchase the product. While these concerns may seem small when compared with other
97 factors, it was difficult to gauge its effect, especially in rural co mmunities where traditional processing methods were still remembered. Supermarket Characteristics The focus groups indicated that superm arket characteristics also a ffected participants produce purchasing patterns. A survey of supermarket characteristics in lower-income neighborhoods found that grocery stores with a significant portion of lower-income shoppers tend to be older, smaller, and have fewer checkou t lines and parking spaces than suburban stores (King, Leibtag, Behl, 2004). Furthe r, in terms of their competi tive position relative to other supermarkets, stores serving lower-income commun ities are least likely to be the market leader in price, quality, service, and variety (King, Leibtag, Behl, 2004). Results drawn from the focus groups corrobo rate earlier findings concerning supermarket characteristics. Food Lion primarily received crit icism from participants concerning a range of produce and store related issues. Poor freshness and produce variety was cited as a significant problem by a majority of participants. Particip ants also ranked Food Lion produce low in terms of visual appeal. Southeast stor es, including Food Lion, were critic ized for not regularly stocking desirable produce items like greens and peas. Severa l participants expressed their frustration in trying to find these products in Southeast Gaines ville. Clearly, participan ts did not believe that Southeast stores were market l eaders in quality or variety. Participants generally agreed th at produce prices in Southeas t stores were comparable to other stores in Gainesville. However, overw helmingly participants agreed that Wards Supermarket was the leader in price among the s upermarket options in Gainesville. Additionally, a majority of participants believed that Ward s Supermarket had the best selection of produce and was roughly equal with P ublix in terms of quality.
98 Service and convenience of s hopping was another problem area identified by participants. Several respondents noted that Winn-Dixie and F ood Lion had fewer cashiers on duty than other stores where they shopped. Another participant expressed her frustration with Winn-Dixies automated checkout service, recalling how she could not find a free cashier to help her with her problem. Additionally, one participant faulted the placement and number of produce scales in Food Lion. She stated that Food Lion had fewer produce scales than other markets and that they were located apart from the produce displays. One characteristic, not found in the literature, rela ted to store appear ance and cleanliness. The cleanliness of Food Lion and other Southeast st ores was a key issue raised by participants. Several participants remarked on the unattractiv eness of the Food Lion parking lot, which they claimed was regularly strewn with litter and other debris. Participan ts from every group explained that their primary reason for not shopp ing at Food Lion was because they felt the store was not clean. Cleanliness of the produce displays, the parking lots, and the floor were all mentioned during the focus groups. Problems with cleanliness proved to be a significant and common characteristic for Southeast stores. Another unexpected issue that wa s absent from the literature was participants preference for produce grown locally. One participant went as far as saying she did not purchase produce grown outside the United States. Several part icipants from each group were aware of the growing local food movement and stated they shopped at farmers markets to support local farmers. Clearly, focus group participants consider a ccess to fresh produce a significant issue. Overwhelmingly, participants believed that in terms of quality, variety, freshness, and visual appeal, fresh produce found in Southeast Gain esville was inadequate. They emphasized
99 problems with the produce found at Food Lion, the Southeasts only full service supermarket, characterizing Southeast Gainesville and its sing ular supermarket as a one-horse town. Interestingly, price did not primarily infl uence produce purchasing decisions. Instead, a host of complex issues related not only to the quality, variety, and freshness of the produce, but also issues related to preferences for locally grown food, local business loyalty, and traditional produce processing methods greatly influenced buying behavior. Implication 3: Barriers to Accessing Fresh Produce in Southeast Gainesville A review of the literature re vealed several barriers faced by underserved communities that negatively impacted access to fresh produce. These ba rriers cut across a wide range of issues and are interlinked with the political, economic, spat ial, and institutional inequities shaping the geographies of low-income communities across the country. While the focus group participants expressed many of the concerns documented in si milar studies, some of their responses were unique to this study. Economic Barriers Econom ic barriers encompassed a wi de range of issues identified in the literature and the focus groups. Research has shown that Black an d Hispanic households, households headed by single women with children, and households w ith lower income to poverty ratios spent significantly less on food than married househol ds, white households, and households with higher income to poverty ratios. The focus group results corroborate these statistics. Several participants argued that lower incomes in thei r community meant that people had less money to spend on fruits and vegetables. They argued that many residents cannot afford to pay 15 to 20 cents more per pound for produce, thus forcing these households to pa tronize lower quality stores or purchase less desirable produce.
100 Another economic issue raised in the focus groups related to store size, customer volume, and market conditions in Southeast Gainesville. Several participants believed that smaller supermarkets like Food Lion and Winn-Dixie face d competition from larger and better-supplied stores. Research has shown that supermarkets in lower-income areas tend to be smaller and subject to competition from suburban markets (Ki ng, Leibtag, and Behl, 2004). As a corollary to this sentiment, some participants believed th at Southeast stores did not generate sufficient customer volume to attract larger suburban s upermarket chains. As one participant explained, youve gotta have the volume, if you dont have the volume, you cant produce the best. These lower numbers at Southeast stores limited investment in better facilities a nd the stores ability to improve their produce quality. For some participants, economic barriers, demogr aphics, and social issues were difficult to separate. Several participants believed that some economic barriers in Southeast markets stemmed from demographic and socio-economic factors. One particip ant summarized this sentiment by placing some of the responsibility on individual choices. Stores go by demographics stuff, they cater to what people in that area are going to buy or what. You walk into Food Lion, theres a reason why you see th e gum and candy and tobacco products first because, unfortunately, thats what a lot of people over here buy. Insurance premiums for supermarkets and other stores was another issue raised in the focus groups but absent from the literature. One particip ant, a local retired busin essman, stated that in his experience, Southeast businesses face much hi gher insurance premiums than other areas in town. While not mentioned in the literature, it is in keeping with other challenges faced by supermarkets serving lower-income areas.
101 Panhandling and other unwanted activity was another economic barr ier not found in the literature. Several participants cited panhandli ng and loitering, especi ally outside local food markets, to be a significant deterrent to shoppi ng at Southeast stores. Such unwanted activity they argued, was a visible reason why higher quality supermarkets were reluctant to locate in Southeast Gainesville. Finally, shopper loyalty was a significant econom ic factor absent from the literature. Participants from every group st ated that their preference for keeping money inside of their immediate community drove them to shop in South east stores they felt were inferior to other stores in Gainesville. The pr eference for shopping in the Southeast is difficult to categorize. While in a sense, an economic barrier limiting participant choice to lesser quality stores and produce, it also reflects a strategy to empo wer the community by strengthening consumers buying power. Clearly, many participants were also grappling w ith this choice. Political Barriers African-American acces s to political power a nd decision-making processes has historically been limited. In most cities land use decisions, th e local decisions that most affect the spatial environment of the city and its economic life, are a semiprivate proce ss involving a triangle of capitalist developers, city bureaucrats, and electe d city officials. The empirical record shows however, that land use decision-making biased in these ways contri butes to increasing inequalities (Elkin as quoted in Young, 2003, p. 351). Exclusion from land use decisions follows with larger patterns of minority under-representation in the political arena. Unequal access to political power in Southeast Gainesville was also a critical topic for focus group participants. An overwhelming ma jority of participan ts believed that underrepresentation in land use decisions and the political arena was negatively impacting public and private investment in Southeast Gainesvi lle. Many participants cited the protracted
102 negotiations between the City of Gainesville, the Wal-Mart Corporati on, and several Eastside neighborhood groups to place a Wal-Mart Supercen ter on Waldo Road, as an example of the difficulty Southeast residents experience br eaking into the decision making process. Many participants believe that the difficulti es bringing the Wal-Mart Supercenter to the Eastside reflects other political barriers a nd unequal power faced by East Gainesville. One participant believed that Southeast supermarkets were not maintained at the same health and cleanliness standards as other stor es. I dont think the inspectors are the same, theyre the ones that makes a difference. You walk into Food Lion, you got chewing gum blots all over the place, you got grease walking in. But you walk in any st ore out there in Northwest, its been powerwashed. Thats an inspector making them do that. Thats the government. Institutional Barriers Institutional barriers iden tified in the literatur e include patterns of disinvestment in lowerincome communities through a variety of means. Di sinvestment in the form of redlining by the Federal Housing Administration a nd lending institutions significan tly contributed to the decline in housing and economic development particularly in urbanized areas. Other institutional barriers identified included the Fede ral Urban Renewal program. Focus group data indicates that institutional barriers operate primarily at the local level and are characterized by unequal ec onomic development patterns and public disinvestment in East Gainesville. Many participants argued that thes e patterns of disinvestment are endemic of a larger ideological divide between East and West Gainesville and that this divide shapes the economic geography of both sides. You have a co mmunity of people in this town who doesnt want a whole lot of industry in Gainesville anyway. They want to keep Gainesville the nice little college, wrap your arms around it town. But for th e people who have to live here all the time, who have to work here, you know, who have to make a living, pay a mortgage and raise their
103 children, that doesnt work for us. Another part icipant highlighted the economic divide between East and West arguing that th e political and economic community has overlooked the needs of Southeast residents. What Im sa ying is, if they fill the Northwes t up, they feel like theyve just done everything and they dont need to do anythi ng else. You all over here in the Northwest dont need nothing. If you want what we got, come over here and get it. Thats how they feel. Get in your car and come get it. Several particip ants linked the problems in the Southeast with the decision to place Interstate 75 and The Oaks Ma ll in the West. They argued that the interstate and the mall acted like a magnet drawing businesse s, investment, and people out west. Clearly, participants feel that this pattern of westwa rd investment has impacted commercial development and investment in East Gaines ville, directly resulting in dimi nished access to high quality supermarkets and other retail food establishments in their community. Spatial Barriers Multip le spatial barriers aff ecting fresh produce access were identified in the literature. Middleand high-income neighborh oods typically have three times as many supermarkets than low-income communities (Cotteri ll and Franklin, 1995). In addition to fewer supermarkets locating in poorer neighborhoods, personal vehicl e ownership rates are si gnificantly lower in low-income communities (Cotte rill and Franklin, 1995). Fewer supermarkets and fewer automobiles mean that low-income households ar e forced to rely on rides from friends and family, take mass transit, or walk. Transporti ng groceries without a personal vehicle becomes very difficult, especially for elderly shoppers. The focus group data confirmed that the limited distribution of supermarkets in Gainesville was directly linked with difficu lties transporting groceries without a car. Participants were clearly aware that Food Lion is the only full service superm arket located in Southeast Gainesville. One participant referred to Southeas t Gainesville and the Food Lion as a one-horse
104 town reflecting the majority of participants opinions that Food Lion alone could not fully serve Southeast Gainesville. Other participants cite d the difficulties shopping for groceries and using alternative forms of transpor tation. Several participants ar gued that the bus comes too infrequently to be convenient for their shopping needs. One participant shared her experience riding the bus with groceries after her car had broken down. I done been like that, my car broke down and I had so many bags I was about to cry but I finally made it home Another participant discussed the possibility of walk ing between her home and the s upermarket. She argued that the distance was within walking distance, however, she a dded that she would have to really be in the mood to walk. She was skeptical that someone on foot could transport multiple bags of groceries home. Implication 4: Healthy Eating and Nutritional Information Focus group participants also discussed insu fficient or non-existent nutritional information as another critical issue. Yet, re searchers did not identify this characteristic of supermarkets serving lower income households. Healthy food promotion, including nutritional information displays, was an especially popular discussion point in the local focus groups despite participants only being asked one question a bout this issue. Respondents we re asked to what degree are healthy food options promoted in Southeast Gainesville. Particip ants interpreted healthy food to refer to fresh fruits and vegetables and promotion as any array of sales, displays, pamphlets, and demonstrations aimed at promoting healthier eating. Overwhelmingly, participants felt that Sout heast stores did not adequately promote healthier eating. Several participants recalled experiences fi nding nutritional information and pamphlets at other supermarkets around town. In pa rticular, participants cr iticized the lack of nutritional information for fruits and vegetables in stores sited in the Southeast and surrounding
105 areas. When asked whether additional nutriti on information would impact their shopping behaviors, participants responses were genera lly mixed. A majority of participants from each group argued that better nut ritional information and promotions would help them make better choices and may encourage some to try new type s of produce. Other participants were more skeptical towards the impact of healthier eating promotions. They cited the rise in convenience foods and changing attitudes to wards food preparation, especially in younger people, as examples of barriers to healthy eating. Little research exists docu menting how healthier eating is promoted in low-income supermarkets, however, a British study conducte d by researchers at the Wolfson School of Health Sciences discovered that shoppers in lower-income areas were aware of healthy eating messages, however, they were more concerne d with quantity and price (Caraher, Dixon, Lang, Carr-Hill, 1998). These findings did not correspond with results taken from this studys focus groups. Indeed, several participants stated that they were trying to change their diets to eat healthier. As a result, they were very con cerned with nutritional information. Additionally, participants were aware of h ealthy eating campaigns organize d by the local Alachua Health Department and supermarkets in other parts of town. Healthy eating promotion should be included in any plan to increase access to fresh produce in Southeast Gainesville. Disseminating clear nutritional information at the supermarket level is only one component. The City of Gaines ville and Alachua County must coordinate with the Alachua County Florida Department of Heal th and other non-profit health agencies to increase awareness of healthier eating benefits de rived from a balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
106 Implication 5: The Power of Perception Negative perception was a critical barrier to fresh produce. However, this barrier was absent from the literatu re. A majority of participants in every group believe that the negative perception of Southeast Gainesville, especially in the business and political communities, presents a significant barrier to attracting high quality superm arkets and other retail food establishment to this area. Many participants argued that high quality markets have not located in the Southeast because of the perception that Sout heast Gainesville has higher crime rates. One participant explained that she refused to shop at Publix, after she r ead an article in the Gainesville Sun, in which a representative from Publix stated the supermarket chain would not build a Publix in East Gainesville because it would not be conducive to the companys image they want to project for their store. Additionally, several participants argued that negative perception also came from within the community. One participant believed that ev en if Southeast Gainesville received a high quality supermarket, a special program would ha ve to be developed to reprogram people to start shopping in the Southeast. He stated, that if its in Southeast Gainesville, they think its bad. We know that better produce can be found othe r places, and its gonna be hard to convince people to change their habits. No research exists documenting the effects of how poor perception of an area influences development patterns. While an overwhelming majo rity of participants in every group argued that negative perception played a critical role in preventing high quality supermarkets from locating in their community, several participants noted that these perceptions had validity. Many of the reasons supermarkets do not site in the So utheast stemmed from real problems with crime and poverty.
107 The influence negative perception plays on de termining the location, quality, and intensity of commercial development cannot be dismissed easily. However, negative perception is also very difficult to document or measure. While negative perception alone may not constitute a significant barrier to fresh produce access, it may exacerbate real barriers by creating psychological impediments for residents, politic ians, planners, and businesses involved in Southeast issues. In this contex t, intervention strategies to in crease access to fresh produce must overcome the inertia caused by widely held nega tive beliefs about Southeast Gainesville. Implication 6: Direct Marketin g and Alternative Strategies In the literature and among the focus groups, se veral direct marketing strategies were proposed to increase access to fr esh produce. In addition to the di rect marketing strategies, focus group participants brainstormed a number of othe r interventions tailored to their immediate community. This section compares the findings from the literature with the focus group responses related to Community Supported Ag riculture (CSA) and farmers markets and explores alternative solutions generated by fo cus group participants but absent from the literature. Community Supported Agriculture CSA litera ture indicates that a CSA arrangeme nt benefits communities with diminished access to fresh produce through a variety of means. Produce prices are typically lower in CSA arrangements than in traditional supermar kets (Cooley and Lass, 1998). CSA farms can distribute shares of produce from convenientl y located community-meeting spaces, more easily accessible by walking and transit than supe rmarkets (Lyson, 2004). Finally, low-income households can take advantage of several fe deral food assistance voucher programs aimed at linking groups vulnerable to food insecuri ty with farmers markets and CSAs.
108 The focus group responses generally emphasized the potential benefits a CSA arrangement would bring to their community. The findings loca lly reinforced those in the literature that valued the flexibility of the CSA drop off locations and the perceived freshness of CSA produce compared to supermarkets. Several participants felt that the seasonal growing cycle of CSA produce was more natural than purchasing out of season produce in a supermarket. Several challenges and considera tions to the CSA arrangement were raised, especially in Focus Group A. Participants in this group, afte r some discussion, overwhe lmingly rejected the CSA arrangement. For these participants, produce choice was the critical issue. Many participants did not respond well to the idea of not having full control over their produce choices from week to week. Conversely, participants from Focus Group B and Focus Group C felt that the limited produce choice in a CSA arrangem ent did not present a significant barrier. Another concern, absent from the literature, that generated discussion involved the size of the farm involved in a CSA arrangement with a neighborhood. One participant expressed her concern that smaller farms would be left out of such an arrangement. Her support of the CSA setup hinged on the involvement of smaller fa rmers. Other members from her group supported partnering with smaller farms. Based on the focus group findings, implementa tion of a CSA arrangement in Southeast Gainesville would require a combination of educational material, to inform potential shareholders of the risks and benefits of this arrangement, and involvement of neighborhood association presidents and the City of Gainesville. Association pr esidents would act as liaisons between neighborhood residents and participating fa rms. The City of Gainesvilles contribution would entail facilitating meetings between th e neighborhoods and potential farms as well as allowing City facilities to operate as CSA share drop off points.
109 Farmers Markets Farm ers markets provide several benefits to communities with poor access to fresh produce. Farmers markets benefit communities with fewer supermarkets by providing a flexible location where fresh produce can be accesse d (Lyson, 2004). By siting markets close to underserved neighborhoods, residents save time and transportation costs. Farmers markets also create a community gathering space where re sidents can network and build organizational resources (Lyson, 2004). Finally, the Women, Infant and Childrens Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) are federal food assistance voucher programs aimed at increasin g access to fresh produce for low-income seniors and pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum lo w-income women by connecting participants with farmers market resources. Focus group results reveal overwhelming s upport for a farmers market located in Southeast Gainesville. Participants believed that a regular farmers market would increase access to fresh produce in their comm unity while benefitting small farmers. Locational flexibility was the most critical discussion point in each focus group. Participants noted th at a farmers market could be located much closer to their neighbor hoods thereby making it easier for local residents to access fresh produce by walking or bus travel. In addition to locational flexibility, farmers markets have flexible hours and days of operation. Several participants complained that the existing farmers markets have limited operating hours and are not conducive to individual s who get off from work later or have longer commutes. Locating a farmers market in Southeast Gainesville will only improve proximity issues if operating hours are also ta ilored to better-fit Sout heast residents work schedules.
110 Community Gardens Community gardens were not included in the li terature review. Consultation with Dr. M.E. Swisher, director of the Center f or Organic Agriculture at the University of Florida, determined that community gardens did not generate the vo lume of fresh produce required to alleviate produce access issues in Southeast Gainesville. Research indicates that community gardens function primarily as community spaces and provide a hands-on workshop designed to increase agricultural literacy in the surrounding community. However, due to their relatively small growing area, community gardens do not genera te enough produce to satisfy the demands of a larger community (Lyson, 2004). Regardless, several focus group participants discussed developing community gardens in Southeast Gainesville. Many participants were aw are of other successful gardens in town and stated that community gardens had been a recent discussion item at several different neighborhood association meetings. One participant argued that the Southeast community had a long history of growing their ow n vegetables, and a community ga rden would help bring older more experienced gardeners together with young er residents. This statement confirms the agricultural literacy function of the community garden. Nutritional Education Another area not fully explored in th e literature was the imp act of healthy eating education on produce access. Several participants were aw are of healthy eating promotional materials offered by the Alachua County Health Department Clearly, participants felt that nutritional education played an integral role in increasi ng access to fresh produce. Several participants discussed the possibility of a pproaching the Guardian, a local newspaper, to run a weekly column on healthy eating practices Other participants stressed the positive role churches and other community institutions can pl ay in educating parishioners.
111 Government Intervention The literature reveals that a m ajority of gove rnment efforts to incr ease access to fresh produce in low-income communities are initiated at the federal level and are administered by a regional or county office (FNS USDA, 2007). Severa l focus group participants were aware of the SFMNP vouchers available to elde rly residents. One woman expl ained that the vouchers were not valid year round and suggested extending the period when they can be redeemed. Because local government involvement in food planning is a relatively new concept, little research exists documenting the effects of local interventi ons aimed at improving produce access. Several participants suggested a number of ways local government departments could get more involved with this issue. Several pa rticipants suggested making the permitting process easier for local farmers trying to sell excess produce along roadways in Southeast Gainesville. One participant recalled witnessing a local farmer being issued a citation by a City of Gainesville code enforcement officer for selling greens in an em pty parking lot. The City of Gainesville and Alachua County can increase access to fresh prod uce in the Southeast communities by opening their Eastside facilities for farmers markets a nd CSAs and by leveraging their regulatory powers to facilitate direct sa les between neighborhood residents and local farmers. Key Questions: Evaluating Access to Fresh Produce The following is a checklist of questions and co nsiderations in determining whether a community is experiencing difficulty accessing fresh produce. The checklist is intended for use by public planning agencies intere sted in food planning issues. What are the key household characteristics? Research has shown that certain household ch aracteristics correlate with increased food insecurity. Additionally, househol ds possessing these characteris tics have smaller food budgets and spend less on average on food than more affluent households (Nor d et. al., 2006). These
112 characteristics include both demographic and spa tial considerations that may point to larger problems of access to fresh produce. What are the food retail market and supermarket characteristics? Suburban areas typically have three times as many supermarkets than lower-income communities, especially those located within urbanized areas (Cotterill and Franklin, 1995). Supermarkets serving low-income neighborhoods are typically smaller, have fewer checkout lines and parking spaces, and face strong competiti on from suburban stores. Assessments of the food retail market and supermarket characteris tics reveal access problems stemming from a lack of full service food retailers and difficu lty attracting high-quality supermarkets. What barriers exist preventing residents fr om fulfilling their fresh produce needs? Barriers to fresh produce arise from vari ous sources. When assessing a communitys access to fresh produce, the political, economic, spa tial, institutional, and psychological barriers must be explored through focus groups, surveys, and interviews. Solici ting public input from residents in the community is critical, othe rwise, unforeseen barriers may go unaddressed and sabotage any efforts to increase produce access. What are the defining characteristics of the co mmunity and how can interventions be tailored to fit residents needs? Discussions with community residents should focus on defining key community characteristics that may influence intervention st rategies. Finally, robust public input will ensure that a larger cross section of the community is represented in the decision-making process thus enhancing the likelihood that the in tervention strategies will succeed. Implications for Public Planning Agencies The findings from this research can aid the City of Gainesville Planning Department and the Alachua County Growth Management Office in drafting future land development regulations,
113 comprehensive plan revisions, and special area plans to address barrie rs to fresh produce in Southeast Gainesville. Additionally, a number of existing programs and government agencies are well-equipped to tackle these issues. Comprehensive Plans The local comprehensive plans offer a blueprin t f or future development in the City of Gainesville and Alachua County. These plans ex press the priorities and character of the community through its goals, policies, and objec tives, while simultaneously addressing the impacts of development. This study clearly demons trates that access to fresh produce is a critical concern to Southeast residents. Addressing problems of food access in the comprehensive plans would send a message to the East Gainesville co mmunities that City and County leaders consider this issue a key concern. Inclus ion in the comprehensive plans would also encourage City and County departments to develop programs targetin g increased access to fresh produce in order to meet these goals and objectives. Land Development Regulations Land developm ent regulations (LDR) implement the goals, policies, and objectives of the comprehensive plan. The LDRs provide an opportunity to codify efforts to increase access to fresh produce by addressing how the bu ilt environment impacts food access. Development patterns in Southeast Gainesville have negatively impacted residents access to fresh produce. Southeast residents have an abundance of convenience a nd beverage stores but only one full service supermarket. Zoning regulati ons must allow supermarkets to locate closer to residential areas to overcome transportation lim itations for residents forced to walk or ride the bus to the market. Regulations can also facilitate the permitting process for developers interested in building supermarkets in underserved urban areas. Often development projects within the urbanized center are subject to additional regulations from ov erlay districts and special area
114 plans. The Northwest portion of Southeast Gainesville lies in the Traditional City Special Area Plan. This plan should include specific sections on supermarkets. These sections could reduce permitting costs, ease less critical design re gulations, and parking space requirements on supermarkets wishing to locate within targeted areas while emphasizing regulations targeting better pedestrian and mass-transi t access to the site. Additionally, the plan could encourage integrating food retail component s like supermarkets and green grocers into mixed-use developments. Improving produce access in distre ssed areas with little market demand requires different strategies. In some cases, incentives may not be enough to encourage supermarket developments especially in less affluent co mmunities. Advocates from the P ublic Health Law Program are developing a new type of zoning or dinance that may have applica tions for Southeast Gainesville. Deemed approved ordinances, where businesses that have already been permitted must comply with new performance codes, are gaining tr action in several U.S. cities (McCann, 2006). Building on this new approach, public health advocates Marice Ashe and Lisa Feldstein have developed a deemed approved zoning ordinance that requires convenience st ores located in areas without a supermarket to meet nutrition-based performance standa rds by dedicating 10 percent of their displays to fruits an d vegetables (McCann, 2006). Sprawl and suburban development impact s access to fresh produce in low-income communities. Westward expansion in Gainesvill e and Alachua County has negatively impacted Southeast Gainesville by drawing supermarket chains and other f ood retail outlets away from the center of the city. Suburban sprawl has also nega tively impacted farm-lands located in western Alachua County. Encouraging urban re-d evelopment through zoning, Community Redevelopment Agency Districts, and Enterpri se Zones can increase access to fresh produce.
115 However, additional measures must be taken to preserve working farm-lands as well. Alachua County recently adopted a new Transfer of De velopment Rights (TDR) ordinance, aimed at encouraging land-owners and farmers in wester n Alachua County to pres erve their lands for agriculture and open space. The City of Gainesville has yet to enact a similar ordinance. The City of Gainesville has little agricu ltural land, however, there are several desirable locations in Southeast Gainesville where, with the right mi x of tax incentives, a receiving zone for TDR credits can be established thus preserving existing agricultu ral lands in Alachua County. Other Government Resources Neighborhood Planning Program The Neighborhood Planning Program (NPP) is a collaborative program between the City of Gainesville and its neighborhoods. Each year, the City Commission selects two neighborhoods to receive additional planni ng services and a $15,000 grant for neighborhood improvements. The NPP staff meets with the se lected neighborhoods to assess their strengths, weaknesses, and challenges facing the nei ghborhood. Through these meetings, staff and the neighborhood develop several improvement project s. Increasingly, several neighborhoods have used the NPP monies to develop community gardens on city-owned land. The NPP is currently working with several neighborhoods in Southeas t Gainesville. For this reason, the NPP is uniquely positioned to address the food access issu es in Southeast Gainesville. However, the scope and resources of the N PP must be expanded in order to meet this new challenge. Community Redevelopment Agency The Comm unity Redevelopment Agency (CRA ) plays an active part in Southeast Gainesville. The Eastside CRA District is the largest redevelopment area in Gainesville. Additionally, the City Commissi on recently sponsored a study to expand the Eastside CRA District to include a large porti on of the Southeast Hawthorne Road corridor. The strength of the
116 CRA district lies in its ability to generate ta x revenue for infrastructure and beautification improvements within the districts boundaries. Th e CRA can take an active role in promoting access to fresh produce in Southeast Gaines ville by focusing on attracting high-quality supermarkets to the Eastside CRA District. Additionally, the CRA could develop additional community gardens and provide incentives for sm all food and convenience st ores to expand their offerings to include more fruits and vegetables. The CRA can more flexibility expend its tax revenues than other government institutions. This autonomy positions the CRA to take the lead in increasing access to fresh produce in Southeast Gainesville.
117 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS Based on the finding of this thesis four categories of barriers ex ist tha t limit access to fresh produce in vulnerable communities. These barriers shape the political, economic, institutional, and spatial geographies of low-income neighborh oods. This thesis sought to explore how these barriers operate in a local cont ext. Three neighborhoods in South east Gainesville were selected for further study based on an initial survey of selected household character istics associated with food insecurity. A series of fo cus groups involving residents fr om the selected neighborhoods revealed that Southeast Gainesville neighborhoo ds face many of the barriers found in the literature in addition to several barrie rs not found in previous research. Based on the findings, several di rect marketing strategies ha ve the potential to improve access to fresh produce in Southeast Gainesville Farmers markets, CSA arrangements, and community gardens offer a number of benefits to communities with limite d access to full service supermarkets. These direct marketing arrangements are tailored to fit the needs of communities vulnerable to food insecurity by providing flexible locations for local residents to access fresh produce. Public planning agencies possess a number of tools to address f ood access in the local community. Planners can implement strategies to improve food access through a combination of regulatory tools including local comprehensive plans, land deve lopment regulations, overlay districts, and innovati ve zoning and other governmental entities such as the Community Redevelopment Agency and neighborhood planning programs. Full access to nutritious food is a basic human right. However, without a comb ination of community action and government intervention this right will continue to go unrealized for many lower-income communities.
118 Limitations of the Research Several research lim itations emerged during the course of this study, many of which stemmed from restrictions in time and money. Additional procedural limitations arose whose impact on the results are unclear. Finally, severa l limitations existed regarding the selection of the focus group participants and the focus group methodology itself. Additional focus groups, surveys, and interviews would have been possible with additional time. New developments in East Gainesville, specifically the opening of the Waldo Road Walmart Superstore, occurred after the focus gr oups were completed. The new store may have affected responses given by focus group participants. Additional time would have provided an opportunity to conduct focus groups with local farm ers to uncover the barriers they face bringing their products to market, particular ly in this part of town. Additional funding would enhance incentive packages us ed to recruit a larger sample of Southeast residents to partic ipate in the focus groups. Funding constraints limited where the focus groups could be held to publicly owned facilities. Additionally, many of the focus group enhancements including, one-way mirrors, vi deo recording, professional moderators, and dedicated meeting rooms were outside this studys budget. It is unclear if addi tional incentives would have greatly affected recruitment rates or if a more pr ofessionally run focus group would have generated different results. Still, the time and energy devoted to recruiting the participants and the moderator could have been avoide d if more resources were available. A number of limitations arose with regard to several aspects of the focus group. All of the focus group participants were African American. However, the moderator, researcher, and facilitator were Caucasian. It is unclear if the race of the moderator significantly impacted the responses given by the focus group participants. Other limitations included the use of audio recording. During the res earch-planning phase, se veral experts cautione d against using audio
119 recording in the focus groups for fear it would influence the trut hfulness of the responses. Again, it is unclear whether the presence of the reco rding device influenced respondents answers. Professional focus group firms typically use hidde n recording devices in order to minimize the discomfort some participants may feel about being recorded. Finall y, focus group attendance varied from group-to-group. Attendance in Focu s Group B and Focus Group C was significantly lower than Focus Group A. Fewer individuals in the final two groups affected the group dynamic. However, the smaller groups allowed seve ral issues to be disc ussed in greater detail and gave participants a chance to give full answers. As was mentioned in a previous secti on, funding constraints may have impacted participant recruitment. Recrui ting participants at neighborho od association meetings likely biased the results from this study. Clearl y, individuals particip ating in a neighborhood association exhibit some degree of self-selection. Individuals participating in a neighborhood association are likely to be homeowners interested in the pr omotion and well being of their community. Involvement in a neighborhood associ ation may have influenced the focus group responses. Finally, qualitative data drawn from a focus group methodology should be paired with current socio-demographic data to determine its validity. In this cont ext, the quality and usefulness of the focus group data was impaired by outdated and nonexist ent socio-demographic data. A significant portion of this data was dr awn from the 2000 United States Census. While the 2010 Census data may not show si gnificant changes from the previous Census, the age of the 2000 Census data is potentially a research limitation if significant socio-demographic changes have occurred between the two Censuses. Additi onally, many of the barriers to fresh produce have no statistical equivalent and many of the indicators of food securi ty and population health are reported at the County level making it impossible to apply health statistic s to specific areas.
120 Recommendations for Future Research Our study results can be enhanced and expande d in three critical ways. First, our study focused almost exclusively on low-incom e neighborhoods and the S outheast Gainesville community. However, as the literature reveale d, many of the same barriers impacting access to fresh produce in low-income communities also impact small farmers. Future research should focus on revealing the barriers faced by small fa rmers. Combining these two perspectives will reveal a more comprehensive understanding of why low-income neighborhoods suffer from reduced access to fresh produce. Second, our study focused entirely on South east Gainesville. However, portions of Northeast Gainesville may also experience barrie rs to fresh produce. Additional research should include areas in Northeast Gainesville whose household characteristics correspond with those households shown in the literatur e to have higher rates of f ood insecurity. Demographically, Northeast and Southeast Gainesville are very sim ilar. Additionally, Northeast Gainesville lacks a full service supermarket. Therefore, it is likely that Northeast Gainesville experiences many of the same problems accessing fresh produce that the Southeast faces. Finally, holding separate focus groups with re sidents from other quadrants in Gainesville can enhance our study by gathering additional data to contrast with responses given by Southeast residents. Several focus group participants believ ed an ideological divide existed between East Gainesville and West Gainesville. Furthermor e, focus group data indicates that negative perceptions of Southeast Gainesville present a major barrier to development. Expanding this research to include residents from West Gaines ville could confirm or refute the focus group findings and may reveal how ps ychology plays a role in determ ining development patterns. Limited access to fresh produce is a critical public health issue that disproportionately affects low-income households. In light of increa sing food costs due to energy shortages, future
121 planning research should focus on strategies to develop the capacity of local communities to produce enough food for its residents.
122 APPENDIX A FOCUS GROUP SCRIPT Hello, m y name is Bob Cohen. Thank you all for coming today, your presence here is a testament to your commitment to your community a nd the issues it faces. Today we are all here to talk about food. More specifi cally, the fresh produce found in the supermarkets, convenience stores, and other retail business th at sell food in SE Gainesville. We are here to get your opinion, as a group, about how you feel about the choices offered by SE stores. Think about why and how the fresh produce choices are what they are in your community. A nd finally, what can be done to bring fresher healthier fruits and vegetables into this community. Please answer honestly, your responses will remain anonymous and none of your names will be used in the study report. The discussion group will be audio taped so we can make sure everyones opinions get recorded accurately. The audio tapes will be destroyed after the study is co mplete. Please take a moment to fill out the short questionnaire and then we can begin. Fresh produce and supermarkets in SE Gainesville: What are the main things you look for when buying fresh produce? Freshness Taste Variety Packaging Quantity Price Visual appeal What are your general impressions of the fres h produce found in SE supermarkets and smaller stores? If Bad: What specifically needs improvement? Freshness Taste Variety Packaging Quantity Price Visual appeal Are healthier food options pr omoted in the food stores? If Bad: Prominent displays marketing fresh produce Are fresh produce and healthy choices regular sale items? Is USDA nutritional information displayed? Any other examples? Do you think if some of the things weve ta lked about so far improved, you or your neighbors would buy and eat more fresh produce? If Yes: Why?
123 The Whys of SE options If you were looking to purchase the best, fres hest, healthiest produce in town, what part (NW, SW, SE, NE) of Gainesville would you shop in? If not SE: Lets talk about this a little more, what are some of the reasons SE Gainesville isnt at the top of this list? Fewer Supermarkets Accessibility of ma rkets (walk, bus, etc.) Lower prices elsewhere If Bad: Why do you think SE Gainesvill e has so few supermarkets? Why do you think prices for fresh produce are highe r at SE markets compared to other areas of town? Can food stores in the SE be reached by walking or by bus? If yes: Is it safe and convenient? What about the government? Do you feel like access to fresh fruits and vegetables is an important issue for the City and County Commissions? If no: Why do you think this is? What about perception? Do you think other food stores have a negative perception of SE Gainesville? If yes: Do you think this impacts where they locate th eir stores? Solutions: OK, weve talked a little about th e current food situation in the SE and weve talked a little about how it got there. Now Id like us to talk about what could be done to improve the situation. Im going to open it up and let you brainstorm a little and ask what should be done to increase the availability of fresh produce and healthie r choices to SE Gaines villes neighborhoods? General guiding questions if discussion stalls: Do you want new supermarkets? Do you want the existing stores to improve their sele ction and quality? What about some other options like a farmers market in SE Gainesville? There is a relatively new type of set-up thats starti ng to pop up around the country. We even have a few in Gain esville. Theyre called Community Supported Agriculture farms or CSAs. Th e basic set-up goes like this: On one side youve got your local farm. On the other youve got people like you who want fresher produce. Generally you pay a set amount either each week or at the first of the year. In exchange, the fa rm delivers a bundle of produce pulled fresh from the ground. In this set-up both sides share the benefits and the risks. So your bundle might change in size from week to week, sometimes more sometimes less depending on how big the harvest is that week. Farms could deliver their bundles directly to a neighborhood center like a church or other meeting place.
124 Thats the general idea. Based on your experiences do you think you or your neighbors would be interested in something like this? If yes or no: Can you foresee any problems? Are their any issues youd like to talk a bout that weve haven t touched on today? Thank you for your participation. Youve been a great group. Once the study is complete, Andrew will return to your neighborhood meeting and give you a report of his findings. If you think of anything else youd like to add to this discussion, please contact Andrew. Also, please remember to pick up your gift ce rtificate before you leave.
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127 Murakami, Elaine; Young, Jennifer. (1997). Daily Travel by Persons with Low Income. NPTS Symposium Betheda, MD Octobe r 29-31, 1997. Retrieved December 1st, 2007 from http://nhts.ornl.gov/1995/Doc/LowInc.pdf Nord, Mark; Andrews, Margaret; Carlson, Steven. (2007). Household Food Security in the United States, 2006 USDA Economic Research Se rvice. Washington, D.C. Pirog, Rich; Van Pelt, Timothy; Enshaya n, Kamyar; Cook, Ellen. (2001). Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa perspective on how far f ood travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Ams, IA. Retrieved on December 1st, 2007 from http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/staff/papers.htm Schwartz, Alex. (2006). Housing Policy in the U nited States: An Introduction New York; Routledge. Swisher, Mickie; Sterns, James. (2003). An Overview of Small Fa rm Direct Marketing. Document FCS7211. Family Youth and Comm unity Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultu ral Sciences. University of Florida. United States Conference of Mayors. (2005). Hunger and Homelessness Survey Retrieved December 1st 2007 from http://www.usmayors.org/hungersurvey/2005/HH2005FINAL.pdf United States Department of Agriculture Agricu ltural Marketing Servi ce. (2007). Wholesale and Farmers Markets. Washington, D.C. Retrieved on December 1st, 2007 from http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?tem p late=TemplateA&na vID=WholesaleandFarmersMarkets&leftNa v=WholesaleandFarme rsMarkets&page=Whol esaleAndFarmersMarkets&acct=AMSPW United States Department of Agricultur e Economic Research Service. (1998). Status Report: Small Farms in the US USDA Agricultural Outlook. May, 1998. Washington, D.C. United States Department of Agriculture Florid a Agricultural Statisti cs Service. (2002). 2002 Census of Agriculture County Profile: Alachua, Florida United States Department of Agricultur e Food and Nutrition Service. (2007). WIC Program Washington, D.C. Retrieved on December 1st, 2007 from http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/FMNP/default.htm United States Departm ent of Agriculture National Commission on Small Farms. (1998). A Time to Act: A Report of the USDA National Commission on Small Farms USDA. Miscellaneous Publication 1545 (MP-1545). Washington, D.C. United States House Committee on Agriculture. (2007). Agricultural Glossary. Washington, D.C. Retrieved on December 1st, 2007 from http://agriculture.house.gov/info/glossary/tu.htm
128 Wrigley, Neil (2002) ''Food Deserts' in British Citi es: Policy Context and Research Priorities', Urban Studies, 39:11, 2029 2040. Highfield, Southampton. Retrieved December 1st, 2007 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0042098022000011344 Young, Iris M. (2003). City Life an d Difference (Campbell and Fainstein, ed.). Malden, Massachusetts. Blackwell Publishing.
129 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH My interest in food access is clo sely tied w ith my relationship with food and my twin passions for cooking and vegetarianism. My edu cational background in British History is worlds away from my current academic career. Howeve r, my study of history impressed upon me the interconnectedness of culture, economics, and politics and helped me view food access with the critical eye of the historian.